Spain enjoys first exercise freedom for weeks

Spain enjoys first exercise freedom for weeks2
Barcelona's seafront promenades are busy again. Source: EPA
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Daily US Times: Spanish adults are cycling and jogging again for the first time after seven weeks of coronavirus lockdown.

The country implemented one of Europe’s strictest lockdown, but it was eased for children a week ago, yet the amount of outdoor exercise time remains limited.

The authorities allow exercise for different age groups in different slots. Most adults can walk or play sports between 06:00 and 10:00, and between 20:00 and 23:00.

Nearly 25,000 people have died in Spain, but the rate of fatalities has significantly dropped.

Italy has the biggest death toll in Europe, followed by the United Kingdom and Spain.

Cyclists and runners crowded paths in Barcelona near the beach on Saturday, Reuters news agency reported.

Residents in Madrid voiced relief to be finally exercising outdoors. “Happy, we feel free!” Susana Piego told Reuters.

“It’s basic, for physical and mental health, it is basic to allow people to do sport”, Jesus Gutierrez said.

People in Spain have only been allowed to leave the house to buy medicine of food, to briefly walk the dog. or to go to work if working from home was not possible.

People have made the most of the latest easing of the national lockdown, as they have taken to the streets in droves since early this morning.

A cyclist in Madrid. Source: Reuters

The ease of lockdown means thousands of cyclists, walkers and joggers were able to go out purely for leisure in Madrid and other cities, for the first time in seven weeks.

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

Some people though reluctant to venture out.

Carmen Pérez, a 65-year-old in Madrid, says: “I want to go out because it’s a beautiful day. But I’m a bit scared of getting infected.”

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

Under the new advice, children aged 14 and under are allowed to go outside from 12:00 to 19:00, accompanied by an adult. The remaining slots are set aside for vulnerable and elderly people.

Other European countries are also easing lockdown measures though social distancing remains in force. Some countries require mask-wearing in shops and on public transport.

Austria allows smalls shops to be reopened two weeks ago, but now all stores are permitted to start up business again.

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