Street parties erupt in Spain as government lifts coronavirus curfew (VIDEOS)
The Spanish government lifted its coronavirus-related state of emergency at midnight on Sunday. The state of emergency allowed the government to ban non-essential travel between regions, and required citizens to stay at home between 11pm and 6am. Spain was recording around 20,000 daily cases of Covid-19 when the curfew was introduced, and although this number peaked at more than 40,000 in January, it has since receded to just over 8,000 on Saturday.
Spaniards wasted no time in celebrating. When midnight hit, people flocked onto the streets across the country, dancing, hugging, and chanting “freedom.” Video footage from Madrid’s Puerta del Sol captured the celebratory mood.
Así está ahora mismo la Puerta del Sol. Gente saltando, abrazándose, unos haciendo la conga... No tengo palabras. pic.twitter.com/I5L8SKXn4x— Fernando H. Valls (@FernandoHValls) May 8, 2021
In Barcelona, revelers drank on the streets and made for the beach. Some wore masks, while others abandoned caution entirely, kissing and dancing together in celebration.
As the clock struck midnight Barcelona residents poured into the street to celebrate the end of the local curfew. Spain ended a 6-month-long national state of alarm on Sunday following a decrease in virus cases and a boost in vaccinations. (AP Video/Renata Brito) pic.twitter.com/KadXj83d8m— Renata Brito (@RenataBritoAP) May 9, 2021
For some, the fiesta may be short-lived. Some regional governments are already considering their own restrictions, although it will be up to the courts to decide whether to impose them. Rates of infection and death vary wildly between regions, but the severity of the pandemic in some cases has no bearing on the restrictions planned.
In Aragon, where the infection rate stands at 297 per 100,000, authorities will seek to extend the curfew in several parts of the region. In the Balearic Islands, where the infection rate is 59 per 100,000, the government will seek to maintain the strict 11pm to 6am curfew.
The Basque Country is grappling with a much higher infection rate than anywhere else, at 463 per 100,000. However, efforts to maintain the curfew there were struck down by the Basque High Court on Friday. All figures and data were obtained from El Pais.
Along with Italy and France, Spain was hit hard in the initial stages of the pandemic last year. A year later, more than 3.5 million cases have been recorded in the country, along with 78,000 deaths. Ranked by total cases, Spain is the fourth-hardest hit country in Europe, behind France, the UK, and Italy.
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