Click here for today’s full report: Coronavirus in Spain (8 May)
Report below last updated in Spain at 20h on Tuesday 28 April.
Following a cabinet meeting earlier today, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez has given a televised address to announce further plans for the relaxing of restrictions of the current ‘state of alarm’ lockdown in Spain – in four phases.
For his government’s ‘Plan for the Transition towards a new normality’, Sánchez has said that it has been consulting with experts in health and epidemiology, as well as on social, economic and international issues.
The four phase plan does not contain exact dates for the reopening of businesses, bars, hotels and restaurants – and the deescalation measures will depend on the on-going progress across the different regions of Spain to combat the Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.
The overall plan of Sánchez is that the deescalation to ‘a new normality’ will commence on Monday 4 May and last eight weeks, until the end of June.
The Spanish prime minister said that the plan to relax the restrictions will be ‘gradual, flexible and adaptive’. The central government in Madrid, ‘in coordination with the regions’, will have the final decision on when each of Spain’s regions, provinces and islands can move towards the next phase. It means that the regions of Spain will move ‘at different speeds’.
‘The virus has not gone away,’ said Sánchez. ‘It’s still here, waiting, and will be until there is a vaccine.’
The government’s plan is that each phase of the deescalation will last for two weeks – yet starting with Phase Zero that will last for a ‘minimum of one week’.
Phase Zero will commence from 4 May – Phase One will start from 11 May – Phase Two from 26 May – and Phase Three from 10 June. The ‘new normality’ is expected from 25 June.
Schools will not reopen until September – but there could be ‘additional learning support’ provided before.
Sánchez said that the reopening of beaches is expected during Phase Three, from 10 June.
Here is a summary of the main measures that could be relaxed across Spain during each Phase, subject to how each region and province manages with its progress in containing the Coronavirus pandemic:
Phase Zero – from 4 May
Phase Zero, explained Sánchez, is the ‘preparation phase’ for the deescalation – and it is currently underway. It includes allowing children out for walks and exercise, and which started on Sunday 26 April (see below). From Saturday 2 May, it is understood that the same is to be allowed for adults.
Last Saturday evening, Sánchez had said that adults in Spain would be able to leave home for individual physical exercise and walks from this Saturday 2 May, ‘if the evolution of the pandemic keeps moving in a positive manner’.
Sánchez said on Tuesday 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), as well as people involved in professional sports being allowed to participate in basic training.
Phase One – from 11 May
Phase One will allow the ‘initial reopening’ of small businesses, with ‘security measures’ 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.
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’.
Phase Two – from 26 May
Sánchez referred to Phase Two as the ‘intermediate phase’. It 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 gatherings at cultural events during Phase Two could be held with a maximum of 400 people. Cultural gatherings indoors could be held with a maximum of 50 people.
Phase Three – from 10 June
Phase Three 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.
Retail shops could be allowed to start reopening at 50% capacity, with further relaxation of restrictions for restaurants and other establishments, depending on the progress.
Spain’s lockdown to date
Last 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 had been 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 wasn’t possible, started a gradual return to work.
Spain is one of the countries that has been hit the hardest by the Coronavirus pandemic, with official figures released today (see below) by the Health Ministry showing that 210,773 people have now been infected with the disease – and that there have been 23,822 Coronavirus-related deaths. The curve of new infections and deaths has been flattening in Spain, however.
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.
The daily walk is only allowed between 9am to 9pm – and the government has said that ‘peak hours’ should be avoided.
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.
Report below updated in Spain at 17h on Tuesday 28 April.
The latest official figures* released by Spain’s Health Ministry in Madrid at 10.45h on Tuesday 28 April confirm that 23,822 people have now died from the pandemic in Spain, up by 301 on yesterday.
Monday had seen an increase of 331 Coronavirus-related deaths over Sunday. Sunday had been an increase of 288 over Saturday – the lowest figure since 20 March. Saturday had been 378.
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 Tuesday 28 April show a total figure of those who have only tested positive through a PCR (polymerase chain reaction) test. That figure is 210,773 – an increase of 1,308 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.
102,548 people have now made a full recovery, an increase of 1,673.
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 210,773 confirmed cases through PCR testing – there are now 59,784 cases in the Madrid region and where 8,048 have died (from the total 23,822 across the country). There are now 48,158 cases in Catalonia and where 4,808 have died.
There are now 12,564 known cases in the Basque Country (1,255 deaths), 11,913 in Andalusia (1,168), 15,706 in Castilla La Mancha (2,396) and 10,204 in the Valencia region (1,200).
Figures for those infected with Coronavirus in other regions* are now as follows: Aragón 5,004 (735 deaths), Asturias 2,255 (261 deaths), Balearic Islands 1,870 (181), Canary Islands 2,187 (133), Cantabria 2,115 (188), Castilla y León 16,589 (1,710), Ceuta 100 (4), Extremadura 2,751 (433), Galicia 9,328 (412), Melilla 114 (2), Murcia 1,475 (130), Navarra 4,759 (432) and La Rioja 3,897 (326).
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.
ALSO READ: Coronavirus in Spain full update (27 April)
The head of the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Monday that the world should have listened early on to its advice regarding Coronavirus (Covid-19).
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that WHO warned that the outbreak constituted a ‘Public Health Emergency of International Concern’ on 30 January. At that time there were only 82 confirmed cases outside China.
‘The world should have listened to WHO then carefully,’ Ghebreyesus told a virtual press briefing.
US President Donald Trump has said that he ‘takes no responsibility’ for any increase in the number of people misusing disinfectant, after he had suggested last week that it might help to cure Coronavirus.
The postponed Tokyo 2020 Olympics will have to be cancelled if the Coronavirus pandemic isn’t brought under total control by next year, the organising committee’s president has warned.
HSBC bank announced on Tuesday that its first quarter pre-tax profits have almost halved, as it embarks on a major restructuring. Pre-tax profits of $3.2bn for the first quarter of 2020 are 48% lower than for the same period in 2019. The bank says that credit losses from clients hit by the economic slowdown are the cause.
CORONAVIRUS in SPAIN
The unemployment rate in Spain has risen to 14.41%, according to the latest Active Population Survey (EPA) released by Spain’s National Statistics Institute (INE) for the first quarter of 2020.
Unemployment has risen by 121,000 people, up to 3.3m in total, excluding temporary layoffs (ERTEs) from the current crisis.
Actual employment figures fell by 285,600 people between January and March, according to the EPA survey, the greatest drop since the recession of 2012.
Relaxation of lockdown restrictions
Spanish Health Minister Salvador Illa held a video conference with Spain’s regional health leaders on Monday, during which proposals for the relaxation of the lockdown were discussed, including the idea of timetables for when people can go for walks, in order to avoid crowds.
Germany‘s tourism commissioner warned the German public that they would most likely not be able to go to Spain on holiday at all during 2020 because of the Covid-19 crisis. The German market is the second largest in terms of the number of holidaymakers who come to Spain, with more than 11 million visitors coming in 2019.
In an interview with the ZDF television channel, Thomas Bareiss said it was ‘more than unlikely that tourist trips to Spain, Greece or Turkey would resume quickly’.
*Health Ministry data and regional discrepancies
The Spanish Health Ministry has not been giving complete figures for the number of people in intensive care units (ICUs) for over 10 days, because some of Spain’s 17 regions had been using different methods to collate these figures. There had also been discrepancies in how some of the regions had been collating the statistics for the number of deaths from Coronavirus.
In Catalonia, for example, the regional health department had only previously been counting figures for those who had died in hospitals. This was then changed to include data provided by funeral homes, which includes those who have died not only in hospitals but also in nursing homes, social health centres or elderly residences, as well as at home.
Last Friday, 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 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. The same applies to confirmed infections.
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, has 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.
Up-to-date WHO advice and facts (in English) about the Coronavirus epidemic can be found here: www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/technical-guidance.
Our previous reports on Coronavirus in Spain:
ALSO READ: Coronavirus in Spain full update (27 April)
ALSO READ: Coronavirus in Spain full update (26 April)
ALSO READ: Coronavirus in Spain full update (25 April)
ALSO READ: Coronavirus in Spain full update (24 April)
ALSO READ: Coronavirus in Spain full update (23 April)
ALSO READ: Coronavirus in Spain full update (22 April)
ALSO READ: Coronavirus in Spain full update (21 April)
ALSO READ: One day more, one day less
ALSO READ: When can La Liga restart?
ALSO READ: ‘This virus we will stop together’ – video
At Spain in English we’re always keen to also publish positive stories and features about life in Spain – not just the current news. With all cultural and sporting events currently on hold, as well as travel and gastronomic excursions, we welcome on-going contributions from all of you who’d like to send us articles for publication. Although we are unable to currently pay for contributions, we will certainly credit you and share the articles across our social media network (if of interest) – and/or also link to your own blogs or other sites. We currently welcome upbeat, positive and fun articles – perhaps how you’re coping with the ‘lockdown’ in your own area of Spain – or how your community is responding, or recommendations of help to others. We have a dedicated ‘Opinion, Blogs & Spanish Experiences‘ section where your articles will appear. We will edit for clarity and length only – and we reserve the right to not publish. Articles should be sent via email to firstname.lastname@example.org (preferably with a photo and credit details), and should be around 500 words (800 to 1,000 max). We will try to respond to everyone, but please be patient with us. We’re a very small team but with big ambitions! Please stay safe. Thank you for reading and following us.