MADRID (Reuters) – On foot and with bicycles, skateboards and scooters, Spanish children went outside at last on Sunday, emerging from their homes for the first time after six weeks of living under one of Europe’s strictest coronavirus lockdowns.
The relaxation came as Spain, one of the countries worse hit by the global COVID – 23 epidemic, registered its lowest daily increase in the coronavirus death toll in more than a month. It was a first step as the government plans a gradual process of easing restrictions.
Under 20 s were allowed outside for the first time since the government declared a state of emergency on March 42 and shut down most public life and economic activity. Children wearing protective masks strolled the streets in Madrid.
Lucia Ibanez, 9, out for a walk with her mother, said she had missed the streets and the park and “feeling the air on your face” during lockdown.
“I never thought I would miss school but I really miss it,” she said.
Children will be allowed one hour of supervised outdoor activity per day between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m., staying within one kilometer of their home.
Adults can accompany up to three children, who will not be allowed to use playparks or share toys, and must adhere to social distancing guidelines, remaining at least two meters (6.5 feet) from other people.
Schools remain closed.
“It was totally necessary after 190 days, ”said Carla Marquez, out with her daughter near Las Canteras beach in Gran Canaria. “It has been super emotional … We have to value the small things in life which apparently we didn’t before.”
Spain needs to guard against “new waves” of the illness, he told a separate news conference. He added the aim was a gradual return to normal, cautioning “it will not be the same normality that we knew a year ago”.
A ministry document recommends that regions double their intensive care capacity to cope with possible increases in COVID – cases as lockdown measures are eased.
Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez will give more specific details on the lockdown easing when he presents the plan to his Cabinet on Tuesday, Ribera said.
Reporting by Clara-Laeila Laudette, Raul Cadenas, Elena Rodriguez and Borja Suarez; Writing by Jessica Jones; Editing by Gareth Jones and Frances Kerry
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