Spain

Coronavirus in Spain full update (1 May)

CORONAVIRUS in SPAIN – todays figures

The latest official figures* released by Spains Health Ministry in Madrid at 11.20h on Friday 1 May confirm that 24,824 people have now died from the pandemic in Spain, up by 281 on yesterday.

Thursday had seen an increase of 268 Coronavirus-related deaths over Wednesday – the lowest daily increase since 20 March. Wednesday had been an increase of 325 over Tuesday. Tuesday had been 301.

The current peak of recorded deaths related to Coronavirus in a 24-hour period in Spain was on 2 April, when 950 deaths were registered.

The Health Ministry recently changed its criteria for the way the data of those infected with Coronavirus is presented. Figures released on Friday 1 May show a total figure of those who have only tested positive through a PCR (polymerase chain reaction) test. That figure is 215,216 – an increase of 1,175 over yesterday.

The current peak of recorded infections for a 24-hour period in Spain was on 31 March, when 9,222 new cases were registered (including from PCR and other testing).

114,678 people have now made a full recovery, an increase of 2,628.

With regards the official figures released by the central Health Ministry for each region of Spain, there have been discrepancies in the data released independently by some of those regions, particularly for Madrid and Catalonia. Please refer to *Health Ministry data and regional discrepancies below.

Of the official figures released by the ministry today – and based only on the total 215,216 confirmed cases through PCR testing – there are now 61,829 cases in the Madrid region and where 8,222 have died (from the total 24,824 across the country). There are now 49,307 cases in Catalonia and where 5,061 have died.

There are now 12,824 known cases in the Basque Country (1,312 deaths), 12,161 in Andalusia (1,238), 15,910 in Castilla La Mancha (2,498) and 10,347 in the Valencia region (1,245).

Figures for those infected with Coronavirus in other regions are now as follows: Aragón 5,116 (749 deaths), Asturias 2,298 (273 deaths), Balearic Islands 1,894 (193), Canary Islands 2,206 (136), Cantabria 2,184 (192), Castilla y León 16,993 (1,770), Ceuta 101 (4), Extremadura 2,811 (451), Galicia 8,848 (555), Melilla 115 (2), Murcia 1,488 (132), Navarra 4,848 (458) and La Rioja 3,936 (333).

A full breakdown in Spanish of the data per region, together with age group statistics can be found by clicking here. Please also see Health Ministry data and discrepancies below.

CORONAVIRUS in SPAIN – relaxation of lockdown updates

Adults given time slots to walk and exercise

Spains Health Minister Salvador Illa announced on Thursday evening that adults in Spain are allowed to go out for walks and exercise from this Saturday 2 May.

This initial relaxation of restrictions for adults forms part of the governments Phase Zero in the de-escalation of lockdown measures, which officially starts from Monday 4 May. Full details of all four phases of the governments Plan for the Transition towards a new normality are below (and being updated regularly in these daily reports).

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez had said last week that adults would soon be able to leave home for individual physical exercise and walks, if the evolution of the pandemic keeps moving in a positive manner.

From this Saturday 2 May, adults are allowed out to take walks and exercise – but there are set time slots for when people can leave their homes in towns with over 5,000 residents.

Officially, walks for adults should be taken between 6am-10am or between 8pm-11pm. Two adults are allowed to take walks together, once a day during those times. Adults should not walk further than one kilometre away from where they live.

All kinds of sports (jogging, cycling, skating) are also allowed during those same time periods as long as they are practised individually. The distance restrictions of one kilometre from home do not apply to individual exercise activities, as long as they remain within the municipality. Sports facilities and gyms remain closed. Most beaches remain closed in Spain, and water sports are still not permitted.

Adults should maintain social distancing and not make contact with third parties or congregate in groups, and the walks and exercise must be within their own municipality of residence. Adults must not drive to another town to then commence a walk.

Those needing assistance or to be accompanied during walks, as well as those aged over 70, should take their walks between 10am and 12 noon or between 7pm-8pm.

Since last Sunday, children up to the age of 14 in Spain have been allowed to go out for daily walks and exercise, after 43 days of confinement. They are officially only allowed to be out for up to one hour a day, accompanied by an adult, but no further than one kilometre from home. They were originally permitted to take the daily walks for an hour at any time between 9am and 9pm, but this has now been changed from between 12 noon and 7pm.

In towns with under 5,000 residents, people are now allowed to take walks and exercise between 6am and 11pm. There are around 7,000 towns and villages in Spain with less than 5,000 inhabitants, representing approximately 12% of the population.

Today, Friday 1 May, is a holiday in most regions of Spain and many citizens traditionally take advantage of the long May Bank Holiday weekend to take excursions, visit friends and relatives in other regions, or spend time at a second residence in Spain. This is still currently strictly prohibited and is not expected to be gradually relaxed until during Phase One (see below).

Please be aware that national and regional police across Spain have been issuing warnings that people are not allowed to travel to second residences or take excursions to the coast, mountains or other locations. Fines will be imposed.

Four Phase plan – introduction

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez announced his governments Plan for the Transition towards a new normality in a televised address on Tuesday evening. It is planned to take place in four phases.

Sánchez said that his government had been consulting with a team of experts in health and epidemiology, as well as on social, economic and international issues, in order to phase the gradual reduction of lockdown restrictions so that Spain can return to a new normality by the end of June.

The Spanish prime minister said that the plan to relax the restrictions will be gradual, flexible and adaptive. The overall plan is that the de-escalation to a new normality will officially commence on Monday 4 May and last eight weeks, until the end of June.

In the best-case scenario, this de-escalation phase will take a minimum of six weeks and the maximum duration we want to see is eight weeks for the whole of Spain, said Sánchez. By the end of June, we as a country will have entered into the new normality if the epidemic remains under control.

The four phase plan does not contain exact dates for the reopening of businesses, bars, hotels and restaurants – and the de-escalation measures will depend on the on-going progress across the different regions of Spain to combat the Coronavirus pandemic. It will also depend on each region being able to maintain sufficient capacity in intensive care unit (ICU) facilities, in case there is a sudden increase of infections again.

The governments plan is that each phase of the de-escalation will last for two weeks – yet starting with Phase Zero that will last for a minimum of one week.

Phase Zero will officially commence from Monday 4 May – although as stated above, allowing adults to take walks and exercise from this Saturday 2 May forms part of the initial Phase Zero.

Phase One will start from 10 May.

Phase Two and Phase Three will commence approximately at two week intervals thereafter, depending on the progress for each region.

The new normality is expected from 25 June.

Schools will not reopen until September – but there could be additional learning support provided beforehand.

The central government in Madrid, in coordination with the regions, will have the final decision on when each of Spains regions, provinces and islands can move towards each next phase. It means that the regions of Spain will move at different speeds. For example, Formentera in the Balearic Islands, as well as La Gomera, El Hierro and La Graciosa in the Canary Islands have already gone straight to Phase One

Below is a summary of the main measures that could be relaxed across Spain during each phase, subject to how each region, province and island manages with its progress in containing any further spread of the Coronavirus pandemic. We will be updating the information regularly within these daily reports, as soon as any changes or updates are officially announced.

Please note that the relaxation of restrictions could differ for each region and province – and we strongly recommend our readers to also check with local authorities for further information on what is permitted.

Each city and town across Spain will also be opening their parks and beaches (if applicable) at different dates.

For example, Barcelona City Council is reopening 70 of the citys parks on Friday 1 May. The parks will be to walk through, rather than sit and relax in. Playgrounds and play areas will remain closed. The citys beaches also remain closed to the public.

Traffic will also be cut on 44 streets in Barcelona every day from 9am to 9pm, allowing for 18.5km of clear roads for pedestrians to enjoy. The aim is to ensure that neighbourhoods have a network of safe routes for walking and for individual sports whilst also respecting social distancing.

Measures such as above – and the dates that they are applied – will differ across Spain, from city to city and region to region. To reiterate, please also check with your local authorities in Spain for further information.

Phase Zero – from Monday 4 May

Phase Zero is the preparation phase for the de-escalation – and is actually currently underway. It includes allowing children out for walks and exercise, and which started on Sunday 26 April. It now also includes adults being allowed out for walks and exercise from Saturday 2 May, as detailed above.

Sánchez also said on Tuesday evening during his televised address that further restrictions will be relaxed during Phase Zero from 4 May across all regions. This could include the reopening of certain businesses by appointment only (such as restaurants offering takeaway services).

Some regions are also allowing hair salons and beauty parlours to reopen by appointment only. Several establishments are already refitting their facilities to allow more social distancing space.

From 4 May people involved in professional sports will also be allowed to participate in basic training.

The island of Formentera in the Balearic Islands, as well as La Gomera, El Hierro and La Graciosa in the Canary Islands, will have already gone straight to Phase One.

Phase One – from 10 May

Phase One will allow the initial reopening of small businesses, with security measures and social distancing in place.

Restaurant terraces could be allowed to open at 30% capacity.

Hotels could also be allowed to reopen at 30% capacity, except for communal areas that will remain closed.

There will be preferential time slots given to elderly people across Spain for the use of such establishments.

Some libraries will be allowed to reopen, with areas of reduced space and capacity. Selected museums could also reopen – again with reduced capacity and visits organised by appointment only.

During Phase One, it is planned that places of worship will also be allowed to reopen at 30% capacity.

Professional sports leagues could also allow teams to commence medium training.

Cultural acts could be permitted in certain regions, in closed venues with a maximum capacity of 30 people during this Phase One. Cultural acts could also be permitted in outside venues for up to 200 people – yet only if seated and with social distancing measures in place.

Rural tourism (possibly forest walks and trekking) could also be permitted during this period, depending on the region, yet only with organised and limited groups.

The reactivation of film and TV productions could also take place during this phase, subject to security and health measures being applied.

From 10 May during Phase One – and always depending on the progress against the pandemic in each area across Spain – journeys to second residences could also be allowed providing that they are in the same province. If they are in a different province, trips will not be allowed until towards the end of June.

During Phase One, citizens will also be allowed to meet with friends or family in their homes in the same province, but precise details of how many people can meet and under what conditions will be announced at a later date.

Phase Two – 2 weeks later

Pedro Sánchez referred to Phase Two as the intermediate phase. It would take place approximately from 26 May.

This phase would allow restaurants (those without terraces), theatres and cinemas to reopen but with limitations. Restaurants (inside), for example, will be allowed to reopen but only with a third of capacity, and with table service only. Cinemas and theatres will also be allowed to reopen only with a third of capacity.

Outdoor cultural events during Phase Two could be held with a maximum of 400 people – yet only if seated and with social distancing measures in place. Cultural gatherings indoors could be held with a maximum of 50 people.

Historic visitor attractions (not theme parks) and monuments could be allowed to reopen during this phase, yet only with a third capacity – and it is understood only with pre-arranged group or guided visits.

Rural tourism could also be further relaxed during this phase.

Whilst schools across Spain will officially not open again until September, Sánchez also said that from Phase Two of the easing of lockdown measures, some institutions might be able to open to host some face-to-face activities with students. Again, this will depend upon the progress of each region.

The activities could include reinforcement lessons, students sitting university entrance exams, as well as ensuring that children under the age of six can go to school if parents have to go to work and have no one to leave their children with.

Where students do attend schools during Phase Two, the groups will be limited to a maximum of 15 students.

Phase Three – 2 weeks later

Phase Three is expected to commence from around 10 June.

This phase will see further measures relaxed before the new normality, as well as allowing more flexible and free movement across Spain and between regions. The use of face masks will remain recommended for all citizens.

All previous establishments above that had been allowed to open with a third capacity during the previous phases could now be able to increase to 50% capacity, depending on the overall progress in combating the pandemic.

Retail shops could also be allowed to start reopening at 50% capacity.

Outdoor cultural events could now be held with a maximum of 800 people – yet still only seated and with social distancing measures in place. Concert halls and other venues could be allowed to reopen, at a third capacity.

Rural tourism and coastal walks could be further relaxed.

Beaches could finally reopen during this phase (as well as hotel communal areas, such as swimming pools) depending on the region and province. It is expected that security, health and on-going social distancing measures will still be put in place.

Lockdown in Spain to date

On Wednesday 22 April, Congress voted to extend the official state of alarm lockdown in Spain until Saturday 9 May. The extension also came with the relaxation of some restrictions, specifically allowing children aged up to 14 the opportunity to take daily walks for an hour from Sunday 26 April.

Spain originally commenced its lockdown for two weeks from 14 March, with measures that confined everyone to their homes apart from leaving to purchase food or medication, or to go to their place of work only if they could not perform their duties from home. After one week, these initial measures were then extended until 12 April, then for a second time until 26 April – and then until 9 May.

During the overall lockdown period, from Monday 30 March until after Easter, further measures were introduced ordering all non-essential workers in Spain to also remain at home. Following the Easter break, industrial and construction workers, as well as non-essential employees in sectors where working from home wasnt possible, started a gradual return to work.

With the relaxing of restrictions for children from Sunday 26 April – after 43 days confined at home – they were allowed out for an hour accompanied by a parent, guardian or elder sibling, to walk, run, cycle, scooter or play.

They were originally permitted to take the daily walk at any time between 9am and 9pm, but this has now been changed from between 12 noon and 7pm.

Children under 14 are not allowed to be outside alone and the daily walks with adults should not be further than one kilometre away from the home.

Children can exercise and run, however, as well as play with balls or use skateboards, scooters, rollerblades and bicycles, but only if they respect the 2 metre social distancing rule with others, as well as remain close to their parents or guardians.

It is not compulsory for children to wear face masks, but it is recommended.

Unemployment
Queues outside an employment office in Spain. (Pool Moncloa)

Impact on Spanish economy – latest

Spains GDP fell by 5.2% in the first quarter of 2020 compared to three months before.

According to figures released by Spains Statistics Agency (INE) on Thursday, the quarterly drop was of 4.1% on last year.

This is the biggest GDP decrease since 1970, the first year that INE records for this data wee available.

The drop in the first three months of 2020 is significantly more dramatic than any single quarter of the years after the 2008 financial crisis. The biggest fall during that period was the first quarter of 2009, when Spains GDP was 2.6% less than three months before.

In the first and second terms of 2009, the year-to-year GDP fall was of 4.2% and 4.3% respectively, slightly higher than the current 4.1%.

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*Health Ministry data and regional discrepancies

The Spanish Health Ministry recently changed its criteria for presenting its Coronavirus (Covid-19) statistics each day, also due to some of Spains regions using different methods to collate their own figures.

In Catalonia, for example, the regional health department had only previously been counting figures for those who had died from Coronavirus in hospitals. This was then changed to include figures for those who had also died in nursing homes, social health centres or elderly residences, as well as at home.

Following discrepancies in the way that data has been collated, the Spanish government published an order in its Boletín Oficial del Estado (BOE) to clarify the criteria that must be used.

All regions must now report deaths and intensive care unit (ICU) admissions in the same way. A victim can only be counted in the death tally if they have tested positive for Covid-19 via a PCR (polymerase chain reaction testing) or rapid test.

Spanish Health Minister Salvador Illa
Spanish Health Minister Salvador Illa

The Health Ministry has also requested that each region send in the total number of infections divided into symptomatic and asymptomatic cases. In addition, they also require the number of PCR tests carried out from each region, the total number of people that have required hospital treatment, including intensive care, as well as the number of patients who have been discharged.

Salvador Illa, the Spanish Health Minister, said that, Spain is following a very strict definition of cases in line with international authorities, including the World Health Organization (WHO) and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC). Anyone who tests positive for Covid-19 and then dies is considered a Coronavirus fatality.

Below are the numbers to call for each region of Spain for information and assistance in the event of possible cases of Coronavirus – as issued by the Spanish health authorities.

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