Spaniards mob the streets as they’re allowed out for the first time since March 15 and hair salons open in Austria as Europe starts to creep out of lockdown
- From today, adult Spaniards can go for a stroll daily in a shift pattern designed to shield those at risk released
- Cyclists and joggers hit the road from 6am this morning while others were spotted rollerblading and surfing
- The easing of lockdown comes as other EU countries, like Austria, ‘abandoned’ restrictions on movement
- The outings are part of a phase-out plan that from Monday will also allow some businesses to reopen and more relief measures for some Spanish islands
- Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19
Published: 08:26 EDT, 1 May 2020 | Updated: 06:10 EDT, 2 May 2020
Cyclists and runners took to the streets and seafronts of Spain today as the country continued to ease its coronavirus lockdown while other European nations gently ease out of quarantine.
As the first Spanish fitness junkies darted from their homes from 6am after 49 days of confinement, to make the most of their four-hour window this morning. They will also be allowed out between 8pm and 10pm tonight. other
Yesterday, Austria ‘abandoned’ restrictions on movement altogether, after the Public Health Minister Rudolf Anschober announced a roadmap out of lockdown for May earlier this week.
Austria loosened its quarantine early, with small shops allowed to open in mid-April, which is being extended to beauty salons this month.
People are seen running and cycling through Puerta de Alcala on the first day Spain eased its Covid-19 lockdown measures to allow exercise on May 2, 2020 in Madrid , Spain. Spain continues to ease the Covid-19 lockdown measures this weekend, with high temperatures forecast across the country. Permitted activities now include walking with the family, outdoor exercise such as running and going out with children
Several people do exercise or go for a walk along Paseo Maritimo promenade early morning in Barcelona, Spain, this morning. Spain begins a de-escalation phase amid the coronavirus outbreak, allowing adults to leave their homes’ daily, but with restrictions
A pair of early-rising cyclists venture out this morning in Malaga, southern Spain, after the country eased their lockdown restrictions, allowing adults out in a shift pattern
Though Austrians are now free to wander through their cities and towns, at a safe distance, they still won’t be able to eat in a restaurant until 15 May.
The European nation has consistently reported under 100 cases of the coronavirus per day, with just 542 deaths since the start of the outbreak, according to the World Health Organization.
Meanwhile, by breakfast time this morning, thousands of cyclists had taken to a five-mile footpath in Barcelona known as the La Carretera de les Aigues – Road of the Waters in English – making it difficult to maintain social distancing guidelines.
A hairdresser cuts the hair of a customer, both wearing protective masks in Salzburg, Austria on May 2, 2020. – Austrian citizens are allowed to leave the house for non-essential trips as it eases coronavirus lockdown measures, but said limits on gatherings and social distancing rules would remain in place
People do exercise in the early morning in Madrid, Spain, today. Spain has begun a de-escalation phase amid the coronavirus outbreak, allowing adults to leave their homes on a daily basis, but only for specified hours
In parts of Madrid sports enthusiasts, most without face masks, also got close to each other as they used the same pavements to exercise.
Today marked the start of the time-slot system announced by health minister Salvador Illa on Thursday.
Adults wanting to do individual sport like running and cycling have been told they must go out between 6am and 10am or 8pm to 11pm.
Those aged over 70 who want to go for a stroll must wait for their two-hour window between 10am and midday or 7pm to 8pm.
People rush into a clothing store opening for the first time since the government imposed restrictions to slow the spread of coronavirus on May 02, 2020 in Vienna, Austria. Since May 1 the Austrian government lifted all restrictions regarding personal movement and all shops and business except restaurants, cafes and bars are allowed to open again
Customers maintain a safe distance from each other as they wait in line to enter an IKEA outlet in Vienna, Austria on May 2, 2020, after authorities eased down some of the measures that have been in place during the novel coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic crisis
And children under 14 with a parent, who have been allowed out for an hour between 9am and 9pm since last Sunday, will continue to be able to do so but only from midday to 7pm,
Adults under 70 wanting to stroll have also been told to stick to the same timetables as sports enthusiasts, but they must stay within a kilometre of their homes and walk for an hour maximum.
Those doing sport can move within their municipality for as long as they want within their allocated time-slot.
Beaches in Tarifa were opened to water sports enthusiasts including windsurfers and kite-surfers, although swimming will remain off limits until at June 8 when some areas hope to move towards the last phase of a national de-escalation plan.
In towns and cities, the odd rollerblader mixed with the many runners and cyclists.
Joggers in the Costa del Sol resort of Marbella were encouraged to use a series of routes recommended by a local athlete and promoted by the town hall on social media.
In Barcelona 70 parks have been re-opened and more than 40 streets closed to traffic to facilitate social distancing.
Spanish PM Pedro Sanchez plea for people to act ‘responsibly’ in an early morning tweet.
But, the high number of deaths from Covid-19 number still looms over the mediterranean country, with the tally surpassing the 25,000-mark today.
Spanish health chiefs said 276 people with coronavirus had died in the 24 hours prior, taking the number of Covid-19 deaths since the start of the crisis to 25,100.
Flight passengers queue at a check in desk of the low-cost airline Wizz Air yesterday at the Schwechat airport near Vienna, Austria. – Wizz Air is restarting flights from Vienna to 20 destinations over the coming weeks, with the first services running from yesterday
A man runs through a Madrid park this morning as the country eases its lockdown restrictions, allowing adults out in a shift pattern
Adults are allowed to do exercise and go out for a walk from 6am to 10am and 8am to 11pm. Elderly people can go out for a walk from 10am to 12pm and 7pm to 8pm and children who are under-14, from 12pm to 7pm. Spain has had one of the strictest lockdowns in Europe since the 15 March
People can be seen cycling along a road in Madrid as Spain eases its lockdown restrictions, allowing adults to venture out daily in a shift pattern
He said: ‘Today we take a new step with the measures easing confinement but we must do it with common sense and responsibility,
‘The virus is still out there.’
Brit expat John Stephens, out for a morning walk in Marbella, said: ‘I had intended heading to the seafront but when I got there it was pretty packed.
‘People were trying to keep as far apart from each other as possible but the problem was the sheer numbers. It was madness to be honest.
‘I’m hoping it was just a case of people being desperate to get out and do sport after so long cooped up inside, and the novelty will wear off for many later in the week.’
Tour de France winner Pedro Delgado, criticising Health Minister Salvador Illa in a sarcastic tweet about the early-morning and late-night slots, said: ‘Great stuff Minister Illa.
‘With those timetables and the municipal boundary limits, it’s impossible to do cycling.
‘It’s an invitation to everyone to go out at once and get close continually at times of the day when visibility is not great.
‘Perhaps it’s been designed to give more work to our already saturated hospitals?’
The lifting of the ban on outdoor sport is the second key easing of Spain’s coronavirus lockdown, after the under 14s were allowed out with one of their parents or guardians from last Sunday.
Spanish PM Pedro Sanchez announced a four-phase Covid-19 de-escalation plan on Tuesday, which will kick off on some Canary Islands and Formentera in the Balearic Islands on Monday.
Two men surf in the waters around Maresme, Barcelona, Spain, this morning, as the country eases its lockdown restrictions
Hotels on the islands have been allowed to re-open, although hoteliers there and in other parts of Spain who expecting to be able to re-open on May 11 say they intend staying shut because there are no tourists.
Travel between provinces and islands in Spain has been banned until at least June 22.
The question of when air and land borders will be reopened, and foreign tourists allowed back into Spain, remains unanswered.
Spain’s Tourism Minister Reyes Maroto confirmed on Thursday the Spanish government was preparing a plan to relaunch national tourism ahead of the peak summer season.
On the question of foreign tourism she said her intention was that they ‘returned soon and with maximum safety guarantees, if the health and travel situation made it possible.’
As Spain eases up its quarantine, UK Health Minister Matt Hancock today announced that the British death toll had risen by 739 to 27,510 deaths – just below that of Italy which was one of the first and worst-hit European states.
Deaths in Italy climbed by 269 on Friday, down from 285 the day before, the country’s Civil Protection Agency said, while the daily tally of new infections stood at 1,965 against 1,872 on Thursday.
The total death toll since the outbreak came to light on 21 February now stands at 28,236, the agency said, the second highest in the world after that of the United States. Even Italy, which has been hit so hard by the virus, will begin to ease restrictions on Monday, Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said last week.
Italians will soon be able to visit their relatives, but only in small numbers, while parks, factories and building sites will also reopen.
Italy has been hesitant to ease lockdown measures after recording the highest number of deaths after the US. Pictured: A man is carried on a stretcher to an ambulance yesterday in Trieste
A family talk atop their apartment building terrace in central Rome, in the San Lorenzo district on the International Workers’ Day on yesterday during the country’s lockdown aimed at curbing the spread of the COVID-19 infection, caused by the novel coronavirus
Musicians Arianna Consoli and GiufÃ Galati perform for the show Sotto lo Stesso Cielo tour (Under the same sky tour) in Torpignattara suburbs, on May 01, 2020 in Rome, Italy. Italy will remain on lockdown to stem the transmission of the Coronavirus (Covid-19), slowly easing restrictions
But, children will not be asked to attend classes until September, the PM said.
An emergency hospital operating at Ifema in Madrid, Europe’s largest field hospital which at one point was treating nearly 1,300 Covid-19 patients, closed on Friday.
It began to operate on March 22 to help the Spanish’s capital saturated hospitals.
Developments show that Spain is pulling out of the crisis that has now claimed the lives of 24,824 people. The death toll rose by 281 overnight, according to the health ministry, a small rise from the previous day but still one of the lowest daily tolls in weeks.
But the economic cost was adding up. Economy Minister Nadia Calvino on Friday announced a forecast of a record fall in Spain’s gross domestic product (GDP) of 9.2 per cent in 2020 – greater than during the country’s Great Recession of 2008-2013.
Spain has been one the countries worst hit by the pandemic that spread across the globe from China since December.
However, the pandemic’s decline in Spain has drastically reduced the number of people admitted to hospitals – 732 new patients, according to the latest data – and authorities on Friday closed down the temporary facility set up at Madrid’s Ifema exhibition centre.
‘I thank the whole centre, from the cleaning staff to the top, they have been loving, kind to us, a human warmth,’ said 73-year-old Patrocinio Gonzalez Dorado, as she left the compound wearing a protective mask decorated with paper lips.
‘We haven’t had family here and they have served as family and support,’ said Gonzalez, who had been there since April 7.
The hospital, with 1,350 beds, was Spain’s largest during the outbreak and a symbol of the nation’s struggle. It treated about 4,000 patients, and will remain equipped and ready to reopen in the event of a new outbreak.
Another patient leaving the centre in a wheelchair was applauded by health personnel while a singer sang the ‘Nessun Dorma’ aria from the opera ‘Turandot’.
However, dozens of health workers staged a protest when Madrid regional president Isabel Díaz Ayuso came to officially close the facility, demanding more tests and better protective equipment. Data shows that 41,239 health workers have tested positive for COVID-19 so far.
Pictured: Two cyclists ride next to the Guadalquivir river in Sevilla, Spain today
Unable to protest in the streets in the traditional Labour Day rallies were Spanish trade unions, prevented from gathering for the first time since the right to demonstrate was legalised in Spain in 1978.
Adapting to the restrictions, the unions called for virtual rallies on social media, demanding labour rights as potentially the worst economic crisis in Spanish history and a huge surge of unemployment loomed.
Economy Minister Calvino forecast a record fall in GDP of 9.2 per cent in 2020 but said a projected recovery in 2021 with a 6.8 per cent increase was expected. Unemployment for 2020 was forecast to rise to 19 per cent, easing to 17.2 per cent in 2021.
Beaches and hotels lie empty in a tourism sector that is one of the biggest contributors to the economy. Another driver, construction and real estate, is at a standstill after only just recovering from the 2008 financial crisis.
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