Coronavirus: Spain makes masks mandatory in public transport


Media playback is not supported on your device
Media captionThe lock has been relaxed in Spain, but there are still time restrictions on when people can go out

The masks will be mandatory in public transport in Spain from Monday as the country prepares to gradually ease its severe lock.

Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said the government would distribute 6 million masks, mainly at the transportation site, and give an additional 7 million to local authorities.

Adults in Spain were able to exercise outdoors on Saturday for the first time in seven weeks.

The lockout was made easier for children under the age of 14 a week ago.

The official death toll in Spain is 24,824, but the death rate has dropped.

Italy has the highest mortality rate in Europe, followed by the United Kingdom and Spain.

Italy announced 474 more deaths on Saturday, more than in recent days, but according to La Repubblica, that figure includes 282 deaths outside hospitals in April, which were not included in previous figures.

Sanchez said Spain is now reaping the rewards of the sacrifices made during the foreclosure, one of the strictest in Europe.

He also said his government would approve a € 16 billion ($ 17.6 billion; £ 14 billion) fund to help regional authorities cope with the economic damage caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

In Madrid, residents expressed their relief that they can finally exercise outdoors. “Happy, we feel free! Susana Piego told Reuters.

Jesus Gutierrez said “it is fundamental for physical and mental health, it is fundamental for enabling people to play sports”.

Since March 14, people are only allowed to leave the house to buy food or medicine, to go to work if homework is not possible, or to take the dog for a short walk.

There are now exercise slots for different age groups, and the duration of outdoor exercise remains limited. Most adults can walk or exercise between 6 a.m. and 10 a.m. and between 8 p.m. and 11 p.m.

A normal Saturday? Not yet

Guy Hedgecoe, BBC News, Madrid

The Spanish have taken advantage of the latest easing of the national lockdown, as they have taken to the streets en masse since early this morning.

In many areas, the large number of people who took to the streets made it almost like a normal Saturday morning, but social distancing was observed and few cars were on the roads.

Some, however, remain reluctant to venture out.

“I want to go out because it’s a beautiful day,” said Carmen Pérez, 65, in Madrid. “But I’m a little afraid of being infected. “

Anna Lindsay, BBC News, Barcelona

Although we all understand why we have been to the cuarentena [‘quarantine’], I can say from first-hand experience that seven weeks inside our homes, except for essential travel, have been a test.

For most city dwellers, buying food or visiting a pharmacy means walking no more than a few dozen meters.

Today is different. People are in sports equipment and run, walk and cycle freely.

A man plays aloud Freddie Mercury and the famous song by Montserrat Caballe Barcelona at the water’s edge and a nearby billboard says, “Bienvenidos a la libertad” – “Welcome to freedom”.

Until last week, Spain was the only country in Europe where children under the age of 14 could not leave home at all.

From noon to 7:00 p.m., only children aged 14 and under are allowed to go out, accompanied by an adult. The remaining slots are reserved for the elderly and vulnerable.

Image copyright


The Spanish government will also donate masks to the Red Cross and other organizations to distribute

Teens 14 and older can go out and exercise once in one of the adult slot machines.

Closures in other European countries are also eased, although social distancing remains in effect. Some countries require that the mask be worn in shops and on public transport.

In other news from Europe:

  • From Monday, passengers traveling on Eurostar from the United Kingdom must wear a mask or face cover, in accordance with the directives of the French and Belgian governments
  • France has announced plans to extend the national emergency measures in place until July 24. These measures give the government the power to impose restrictions to fight coronaviruses, although further easing is planned for the end of the month.
  • In Austria, small stores reopened two weeks ago, but all stores are now allowed to restart. Hairdressers and beauty salons are also authorized to operate
  • Hungary allows business travel from certain countries
  • In Germany, churches, museums and playgrounds will open on Monday.

Meanwhile, Irish Taoiseach (Prime Minister) Leo Varadkar presented a plan to reopen the economy of his country.

Media playback is not supported on your device

Media captionChildren in Spain can play outside again

On May 18, outside workers, including builders, are scheduled to resume work. The DIY and hardware stores will reopen.

From that date, Varadkar said, it would be possible to meet friends and family in small groups outside, and certain sports activities would be allowed, always in small groups.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here