Click here for today’s full report: Coronavirus in Spain (8 May)
Report below updated in Spain at 12h on Wednesday 29 April.
Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez announced his government’s ‘Plan for the Transition towards a new normality’ in a televised address on Tuesday evening, and which is planned to take place in four phases (see full details below).
Meanwhile, the latest official figures* released by Spain’s Health Ministry in Madrid at 11.30h on Wednesday 29 April confirm that 24,275 people have now died from the pandemic in Spain, up by 325 on yesterday.
Tuesday had seen an increase of 301 Coronavirus-related deaths over Monday. Monday had been an increase of 331 over Sunday. Sunday had been 288 – the lowest figure since 20 March.
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 Wednesday 29 April show a total figure of those who have only tested positive through a PCR (polymerase chain reaction) test. That figure is 212,917 – an increase of 2,144 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.
108,947 people have now made a full recovery, an increase of 6,399.
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 212,917 confirmed cases through PCR testing – there are now 60,765 cases in the Madrid region and where 8,105 have died (from the total 24,275 across the country). There are now 48,654 cases in Catalonia and where 4,905 have died.
There are now 12,619 known cases in the Basque Country (1,274 deaths), 12,004 in Andalusia (1,188), 15,785 in Castilla La Mancha (2,436) and 10,236 in the Valencia region (1,218).
Figures for those infected with Coronavirus in other regions* are now as follows: Aragón 5,042 (736 deaths), Asturias 2,266 (266 deaths), Balearic Islands 1,879 (185), Canary Islands 2,202 (134), Cantabria 2,146 (191), Castilla y León 16,690 (1,736), Ceuta 101 (4), Extremadura 2,764 (440), Galicia 9,466 (547), Melilla 114 (2), Murcia 1,480 (130), Navarra 4,794 (448) and La Rioja 3,910 (330).
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 (28 April)
CORONAVIRUS in SPAIN
Four Phases to a ‘New Normality’
Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez announced his government’s ‘Plan for the Transition towards a new normality’ in a televised address on Tuesday evening, and which is planned to take place in four phases.
Sánchez said that his PSOE–Podemos coalition government has 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 cabinet met for several hours on Tuesday to approve the plan, before Sánchez appeared on television to announce the measures.
The Spanish prime minister said that the plan to relax the restrictions will be ‘gradual, flexible and adaptive’.
The overall plan of Sánchez is that the de-escalation to ‘a new normality’ will 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,’ he said.
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 (Covid-19) pandemic.
‘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 de-escalation 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 and Phase One will start from 10 May. After that, 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 before.
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 each next phase. It means that the regions of Spain will move ‘at different speeds’.
For example, the island of Formentera in the Balearic Islands, as well as La Gomera, El Hierro and La Graciosa in the Canary Islands, will go straight to Phase One from 4 May.
Here 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 further spread of the Coronavirus pandemic:
Phase Zero – from 4 May
Phase Zero, explained Sánchez, 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 (see below).
Last Saturday evening, Sánchez had said that adults in Spain would also 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’. Precise details of how (and if) this will be officially implemented, however, are still yet to be announced.
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). 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.
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’.
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 – approximately 2 weeks later
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.
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 – approximately 2 weeks later
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.
*Health Ministry data and regional discrepancies
The Spanish Health Ministry recently changed its criteria for presenting its Coronavirus (Covid-19) statistics each day, because some of Spain’s regions had been 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.
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.
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 (28 April)
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
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