Spanish Children Allowed out for 1st Time in 6 Weeks as Countries Plan to Ease Lockdowns

BARCELONA, Spain—Shrieks of joy rang out in the streets of Spain as children were allowed to go outside and play on Apri 26 for the first time in six weeks, while people in Italy and France were eager to hear their leaders plans for easing some of the worlds strictest lockdowns.

“This is wonderful! I cant believe it has been six weeks,” Susana Sabaté, a mother of 3-year-old twin boys, said in Barcelona. “My boys are very active. Today when they saw the front door and we gave them their scooters, they were thrilled.”

Wary of igniting new infection flare-ups, nations have been taking divergent paths on how and when to reopen their economies after weeks at a standstill.

The official death toll from the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, commonly known as novel coronavirus, topped 200,000 worldwide, with 2.9 million confirmed infections, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University. Those figures understate the enormity of the crisis, because of limited testing, differences in counting the dead, and some governments efforts to underplay their outbreaks, notably China and Iran.

Two weeks after being released from a London hospital, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson—the only major world leader so far to fall ill with COVID-19—will return to work on Monday.

Spain, Italy and France, which have Europes highest death tolls from the virus, all imposed tough lockdown rules in March. All have reported significant progress in bringing down infection rates and are ready—warily—to start giving citizens more freedom.

“Maximum caution will be our guideline for the rollback,” Spanish Prime Minister Sánchez said as he announced that Spaniards will be allowed to leave their homes for short walks and exercise starting May 2. “We must be very prudent, because there is no manual, no road map, to follow.”

Virus Outbreak Spain
Virus Outbreak Spain
Families walk along a boulevard in Barcelona, Spain, on April 26, 2020 (Emilio Morenatti/ AP Photo)

Until now, adults in Spain were allowed out only for essential shopping or to go to work. Children under 14 were in complete seclusion for 44 days, but as of Sunday they were allowed to take walks with one parent for up to an hour. They must stay within 0.6 miles (1 kilometer) of their homes, take only one toy out and cannot play with other youngsters.

The sound of children shouting and the rattle of bikes on the pavement soon returned.

In Barcelona, Sabatés sons wore child-size face masks as they went out. “Now we will see how long they stay on!” she said.

The prime minister will present a detailed plan Tuesday for the “de-escalation” of Spains lockdown.

In France, Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said he will unveil a “national deconfinement strategy” on the same day. That follows weeks of work by experts seeking a balance between restarting the eurozones second-largest economy and preventing a second wave of infections that could overwhelm Frances intensive care units.

French President Emmanuel Macron had already announced that Frances lockdown would start to be lifted on May 11. Philippes speech will flesh out the details covering health, school, work, shops, transport and gatherings. The lockdown has been raising tensions in Frances poorest areas.

French President Emmanuel Macron, attends a video conference call
French President Emmanuel Macron, attends a video conference call
French President Emmanuel Macron, attends a video conference call with French virologist and President of the Research and Expertise Analysis Committee (Comite Analyse Recherche et Expertise, CARE) Francoise Barre-Sinoussi on ongoing efforts to accelerate the development and access to vaccine and treatment against the CCP virus at the Elysee Palace in Paris, on April 16, 2020. (Yoan Valat/Pool Photo via AP)

Italian Premier Giuseppe Conte is expected to announce more details on easing the lockdown in the coming days for the first European country to see a large-scale CCP virus outbreak. Conte said priorities include restarting construction projects and export industries. He confirmed that school classes wont resume until September.

Britain, which has joined Italy, Spain and France in recording over 20,000 virus-related deaths each, imposed a less harsh shutdown in March. Johnson returns to work amid calls for more clarity on when his government will ease the lockdown, now set to run until at least May 7. The British government is also facing criticism over limited testing and a lack of protective gear for medical workers.

Other European nations are further along in easing lockdowns. Germany allowed nonessential shops and other facilitieRead More – Source