Stuart, who is from Glasgow and living in Torrevieja, Spain, reveals what it’s like to be dealing with the Covid-19 lockdown.
What is happening in Spain?
Like Italy and France, the Spanish government has put the country on lockdown. Today, millions of Europeans are confined to their homes for at least 15 days in an attempt to counter increasing numbers of coronavirus infections.
Spanish Covid-19 curbs:
People can only travel to work it is considered essential, cannot be postponed and cannot be done from home.
All bars, restaurants and cultural spaces have been shut down across Spain.
Most stores are closed although supermarkets and pharmacies remain open. Shopping for groceries and other essential items is allowed (there is no need for panic-buying as supermarkets remain open through the lockdown).
Travel is highly restricted with exceptions made for “imperative family reasons”, such as looking after children and the elderly.
Brief outings to get some exercise or take pets for a walk are allowed, albeit “with parsimony”.
The spread of Covid-19
The government in Spain, where the epidemic is spreading faster than anywhere else in the world, used emergency powers to implement the shutdown on Saturday evening.
The number of deaths from Covid-19 in Spain doubled to 288 between Saturday and Sunday while the total number of cases surged by more than a third to 7,753. Nearly half are in Madrid.
Today it was reported that Coronavirus cases in Spain at at 14,769 and there have been 638.
In Italy, deaths increased by 475, the biggest jump anywhere in a single day. Total number of Coronavirus cases is 35,713 and deaths total 2,978.
France’s stats are Coronavirus cases 9,134 and deaths 264.
Reports in Spain during the lockdown are of empty streets. The curbs are enforced by the police and army, with violators being fined.
Stuart: 21 things I’ve learned about Covid-19 lockdown
1 – Trying to keep track is a waste of time. If I think, “Day 5”, I instantly hear a Geordie-accented voice in my head saying: “Makosi is in the Diary Room.”
2 – People here appear to have more sense than what is happening in the UK. In Torrevieja, there is no panic-buying and no empty shelves. Although my wife Debbie and I have made a good stab at clearing Lidl out of gin.
3 – Cops are macho turkeys the whole world over. They had a tank – aye, a tank – on the streets of Torrevieja last night. I mean, please…
4 – My cats love having both their slaves at their beck and call 24/7. It’ll be a nasty shock for them when lockdown ends and their ever-lovin’ daddy vanishes on a three-day bender.
5 – Spaniards love their fabulous healthcare professionals, as do I, having been very ill in Spain before. The nightly flash-mob applause is a joy to hear.
6 – El Hermano Grande is watching you. The cops are using drones to monitor people’s movements. Not bowel movements, you understand, but still…
7 – When you’ve spent the last two years dossing around the house, or in the garden if it’s nice, drinking too much, reading and watching movies, lockdown in Spain’s not that much of a stretch.
8 – Here at least, this singing-from-the-balcony mularkey hasn’t really caught on. One guy tried it the other day and while he was a fair chanter, he set all the neighbourhood dogs off barking and was told to shut up PDQ.
9 – My wife is a wonderful woman. Sitting on the couch while watching her cooking and cleaning, going out and getting the shopping or organising and administrating our lives online – instead of rolling in drunk from the pub and finding it all done – has made me realise how truly fortunate I am.
10 – Lockdown exemptions have a distinct Spanish feel. In a nation of dogged smokers where you can’t buy fags in the supermarket or the corner shop, los tabacos are exempt. Hairdressers are also exempt, apparently to placate the old ladies whose life depends on getting their barneys coiffed every few weeks.
11 – The Spanish for open is abierto. I went to the corner shop for ice the day before lockdown started and asked if they were being closed down. I was reassured by the shop lady’s answer. Not so much by the fact that she never stopped coughing the whole time I was there.
12 – Gallows humour is alive and well in Spain. After the corner shop, I went to the local Chino (Chinese-owned emporium that sells everything). The guy was sat at the till behind a heavy plastic curtain and wearing a mask. I asked if he had any more masks and he said no. Then the pair of us fell about laughing. I don’t know why it was funny but, trust me, it was.
13 – It’s not just the Spanish who have their heads screwed on – their government have, too. They’ve basically taken over all private healthcare staff and facilities for the duration. Boris? Donald? Anyone?
14 – Just as there is no “I” in “team”, there is no KFC in Aguas Nuevas.
15 – Social media rocks, especially when folk can’t get out and see their friends. Facebook has never been so busy, and just jammed with humour and good feelings. Oh, and it appears the entire English-speaking world is united in disgust at their leaders. Except New Zealand, obvs.
16 – All the feral cat colonies will be fine. While the locals aren’t that bovvered, the expat community – especially the Brits – look out for los gatos very well. The government have made a special dispensation to ensure this Inglese cat-sappery can continue.
17 – Surprisingly, the local population seems fairly stable. Many wealthy city-dwellers from Madrid and Barcelona have holiday homes here and while I would have expected an influx, particularly from Madrid where Covid-19 is rife, it doesn’t appear to have materialised. Though, to be fair, it’s hard to tell because everybody’s in the hoose.
18 – It’s very quiet without all the planes.
19 – Sorry to rub it in, but lockdown is less of a chore when it’s 20C and sunny.
20 – On the downside, you irrationally worry more about your elderly and vulnerable rellies when you’re in a different country, even though you couldn’t pop in and see them if you were at home.
21: To be honest, 21 things is too many things. That’s all I have learned.
PS. Something to browse while stuck at home?: