After six weeks locked in their homes, the Spanish children were able to start going for short walks or playing on the street this Sunday, in a slight relaxation of the iron confinement of the country to stop the spread of the coronavirus.
Third country with the most deaths from COVID-19 behind only the United States and Italy, Spain has kept its 47 million inhabitants in confinement since March 14, a measure that will last at least until May 9 inclusive.
Unlike other European countries, in Spain children did not even benefit from the exceptions that apply to their parents and other adults, such as going to buy food and medicine or walking the dog.
That changes from this Sunday, when the children will be able to go out for an hour a day between 09:00 and 21:00, in a “first relief” of the confinement, said the president of the government, Pedro Sánchez, on Saturday.
This is possible thanks to the fact that Spain, with more than 223,000 reported cases and 23,190 deaths, has managed to control the epidemic, leaving behind the peak of infections in early April, when up to 950 deaths were registered in 24 hours from the virus, compared to the 288 reported this Sunday.
The measure will allow an adult to accompany up to three children in a kilometer setting so that they can “run, jump, exercise,” explained Vice President of Social Rights, Pablo Iglesias.
Children will have to respect social distancing measures, so they will not be able to get together with friends or adults who do not live with them, authorities warned.
“It is important that we take this step strictly following all (…) protection and hygiene measures,” Sánchez warned. “It is not convenient to underestimate the enemy that has such a contagion capacity.”
Those over 14 years old can do the activities allowed to adults.
The government made the decision amid growing demands from family associations and pediatricians to allow the little ones to take a breath, but its announcement earlier in the week created such confusion that it led the government to apologize to the children themselves.
“It is true that in the last days, in the last hours, in the government we have not been as clear as we should be when explaining how you can get out,” Pablo Iglesias said Thursday.
It all started on Tuesday, after the council of ministers, when the government spokeswoman, María Jesús Montero, reported that children under 14 could leave on Monday, April 27, but only to accompany one of their parents to the supermarket or the pharmacy.
This announcement generated a wave of criticism for insufficient on the part of associations and political parties, including the radical leftist Podemos, led by Iglesias.
In protest, a cacerolazo was summoned by social networks that led parents and children to sound pots from the balconies of their houses that same afternoon, an initiative that was heard in various areas of Madrid.
That same night, the Minister of Health appeared to rectify and report that the permit, which would be brought forward by Sunday, would also include walks, in line with what is happening in other European countries.
In any case, the government has warned that the confinement continues, asking the population not to lower their guard to prevent contagion flare-ups.
The confinement could begin to be dismantled from mid-May, Pedro Sánchez predicted, who said that if infections continue to decrease, they will be allowed to go for a walk or exercise as of May 2, as in other European countries. .