Spain allows children to go outside "for a while" during quarantine
The Spanish children have been locked up in their homes for over a month, but on April 27, they will finally be able to go for a walk.
As the state of alarm over the coronavirus pandemic is extended for another 15 days in Spain, the concern of experts and families about the mental health of children confined to their homes for more than a month has led to urgent measures being taken. All the more so because the European country is one of the few where children are not allowed to go out into the street.
Spanish President, Pedro Sanchez, has announced that from April 27, the children will be able to go out to the streets in a "limited and controlled" way, after the regional Executive of Catalonia was the first to send, at its own risk, missives to its educational centers announcing that the children would be able to leave their homes.
"A while a day." That's what the Spanish president said on Sunday about the time the children could leave their houses. There are no time slots announced yet, but they're something Sanchez hopes will be defined this week by the scientific committee that gave the green light for the initiative.
Walks, however, would be accompanied by an adult and always maintaining the social distance of 2 meters, respecting hand hygiene and wearing masks -the Ministry of Health announced that child-size units would be manufactured.
Sanchez also noted that the government is well aware of the situation that many children are living in homes of less than 50 square meters, and their need to "go out and get oxygen", but made it clear that the new measure is subject to the status of the health system. If there is a resurgence of the pandemic in Spain, the initiative will be canceled immediately.
In anticipation of the presidential announcement, the region of Catalonia, which has some powers in areas such as health and education, proposed a more specific plan to "free" minors, although it is subject to the decision of the central government.
In this way, Catalan children will be able to go out for short walks next week, but will not be able to play in parks nor enter shops or consume any drink or food outside their homes.
A schedule of walks has also been created according to the age of the minors, with two-hour shifts as well as some recommendations including that minors should not use the elevator or that they should wear a mask from the age of 3.
"We will not have a normality like the one before, ever again," stated the Catalan representative for Health, Alba Vergés during an interview.
In spite of the differences between both governments - the sovereignty claims of the Catalan government continue in the heat of the pandemic — they do agree on something:
Children really need to walk and play outside for their mental health, but at the slightest hint of a resurgence of the pandemic, they will all return to be confined to their homes.
This is the new "progressive" normality towards which we are moving in Spain, where the uncertainty regarding the consequences of this lightening of the quarantine is unpredictable.