Spain begins “phase 1” lockdown de-escalation measures on 4 islands

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Spanish authorities in the Balearics are testing travellers to one of the islands, Formentera, which is advancing to “phase one” of the lockdown de-escalation measures laid out by the government last week.

This happened as Spain’s cumulative death toll from the coronavirus epidemic rose to 25,428 on Monday as the Health Ministry recorded the deaths of 164 people overnight, the same number as during the preceding 24 hours.

Confirmed cases of the virus cases rose to 218,011 on Monday, up from 217,466 the day before, the ministry said.

Spain has implemented one of the strictest lockdowns in Europe but now with some restrictions beginning to ease, four of the country’s islands, three in the Canaries — La Gomera, La Graciosa and El Hierro — and Formentera in the Balearics are jumping to the more advanced “phase 1.”

That will allow:

  • Further relaxation of restrictions on movement
  • Fewer restrictions on businesses
  • Up to 10 people allowed to gather at a recommended distance
  • Up to 15 people at open area funeral wakes, or 10 indoors

These four islands will see an earlier easing of restrictions because they “have not had any new cases in many days, and very few, or no new infections” Fernando Simón, the country’s director for health emergencies said on Sunday.

Travelers taking the ferry from the island of Ibiza to Formentera were subjected to a “rapid antibody test,” to determine if it had been in contact with the virus.

Spain is testing everyone travelling to the “phase 1” islands and only residents and essential workers are allowed to make the trip.

The tests are one of the measures implemented by the central government in Madrid to prevent new infections and are expected to be carried out every day, a spokesman for the Ibiza health department said.

Travelers who test positive will be stopped and required to get a PCR (polymerase chain reaction) test to check if they currently have the virus or if they had it in the past.

Following seven weeks of strict confinement since a countrywide state of emergency was declared on March 14, the process of transition in Spain will be gradual and asymmetrical, and decided by the government in conjunction with the country’s 17 regions.

Most of Spain entered “Phase 0” today, with only limited openings of some small businesses. Across Spain, masks will be mandatory on public transport as of today.

Read more via CNN/BBC/El Pais


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