• Anna

What's happening with the Coronavirus in Madrid, Spain?

Updated: May 10

"Things seem really bad in Spain. Are you OK?"

I've been receiving messages like this on a daily basis from family and friends in other parts of the world. It seems as though the news in other countries has a lot to say about Spain. I don't know exactly what they're saying but whatever it is, it sounds exaggerated.

"We're actually fine." is more or less what I've been saying because it's true. We've been sitting at home for the last three or so weeks, working from home and only leaving to go to the supermarkets. I personally know one person who has the virus and they recovered fine. I know of a few more through friends and they are also doing fine. People aren't dropping dead on the street and there is plenty of food in the shops.

Anyway, this article isn't about debating the meaning of "bad" in terms of the coronavirus. What I'm going to do is give a summary of how things went down in Madrid, what has been hapenning in general and where we're at now. Please note - some of the dates are approximate as I did backtrack on beginning of this article so I don't remember the exact dates for each change.

(This blog post will be updated as things progress).

Life in general during the Coronavirus Lockdown in Madrid

Before I get into the breakdown, I'll explain a little bit about how life is in general.

Basically, we're all sitting at home apart from essential workers (those working as medical professionals, those working in supermarkets and of course public servants such as police). People are getting fined left, right and centre for breaking the rules. The rules in general are quite vague and at this stage it looks like the government is just revenue raising.

What do I mean by vague? Firstly, you will get fined for not going to a supermarket that's the closest to you unless you are going to a different one for an "essential item" however, most items that one might need have been classified as "essential". Even alcohol is but you hear stories of people getting fined for going to get alcohol.

You also hear stories of people getting fined for taking bags that are "too small" to the supermarket or people who don't keep their receipts getting told off even though it does not state anywhere that we have to keep our receipts.

I'm more concerned about the police and getting a fine than the actual virus.

They have also decided that dogs are more important than people and whereas people cannot go for a walk nor for a run like in other locked down countries (which is good for both physical and mental health), dogs can be walked. I understand that dogs need to do their business outside but people also have certain needs to maintain their physical and mental health. They could allow both.

There is a cue to get in to any supermarket at any time of the day (based on the 4 or so that I've been to in my area) and also cues to pay. People in general are keeping their distance and about half are wearing gloves and masks.

Coronavirus - Madrid, Monday 9th March 2020

I remember this day very clearly. I was doing some shopping and minding my own business when I starting overhearing people talking about what the government had just announced - the closure of schools and other educational institutions from that Thursday 12th March. That evening, that's all I was hearing as I walked past people. It was quite distracting.

Coronavirus - Madrid, Tuesday 10th March 2020

I went to work as normal and was pending on instruction from my employer.

Coronavirus - Madrid, Thursday 12th March 2020

All students continued their learning online and teachers prepared for the transition to online teaching. I was still going to work as normal.

Coronavirus - Madrid, Friday 13th March 2020

This is the day when bars, restuarants and shops started closing. This was the last day I went to a shopping centre and the last time I ate out. The virus was all anyone was talking about. That night, many businesses in Madrid started posting about their closure on social media.

Coronavirus - Madrid, Saturday 14th March 2020

Everything that didn't close the day before, closed today. People started loosing their shit and running to the supermarkets to buy everything they could. Shops started started running out of toilet paper and hand sanitisers. Myself, my boyfriend and a friend went to the mountains to enjoy our last day of freedom.

This is the day that the first emergency state was announced as well as the first set of rules. This would go for 15 days. People could get fined if they were caught out doing "non-essential" activities.

Coronavirus - Madrid, 16th - 20th March 2020

This week was the week in which people were still allowed to go to work but only if it was really necessary. Those who were out and about had to have written permission for going to work from their employer, which is what I had. During this week I went to work on the Monday, Thursday and Friday.

Coronavirus - Madrid, 21st March 2020

Today they announced the extension of the emergency state for another 15 days.

Coronavirus - Madrid, 23rd - 27th March 2020

I would say this is the time where things started getting more stict. You would hear stories of people getting fined because they "didn't buy enough" during their supermarket trip or for going two people to the supermarket. This week I didn't go to work as they were cracking down on "non-essential" workers. This was my first full week of working from home.

Coronavirus - Madrid, 4th April 2020

Announcement of the extension of the emergency state another 15 days. At this state, we are on lockdown until the 27th April. Currently waiting for any updates and changes to the rules.

Coronavirus - Madrid, 9th April 2020

Spain registers 15,238 deaths and 152,000 infected. The last 24 hours have seen a drop in number of deaths. The Congress debates another extension of the state of emergency. They say they will monitor the situation and make a decision in 15 days as to whether the emegency state needs to be extended.

Coronavirus - Madrid, 18th April 2020

Extension of the emergency state until the 9th May announced. Spain registers 20.043 deaths and 191.726 infected. Also talk of letting young children outside "for fresh air" from the 27th April. Still unsure of the criteria for this (ie. age of children, rules).

Coronavirus - Madrid, 25th April 2020

Yesterday Spain registered the lowest number of deaths in one day since the 22nd of March. While the numbers had been around 400 deaths per day, on Friday it was 367. Children will be allowed out for walks with their parents from tomorrow. Spanish PM announces that he might allow people to go our for walks and runs from the 2nd May. They plan to discuss and decide on the details this coming Tuesday.

Coronavirus - Madrid, 28th April 2020

I believe this was the day they announced that we would indeed be able to go out for sport and walking but of course, with rules. God forbid we're out at 11am instead of10am!

The rules were based around different time periods for people to go out in. Most adults were allowed out at 6am - 10am and then 8pm to 11pm. And kids and the elderly between those times.

We would be allowed for walks, runs and cycling but of course, the parks would be closed. So you can imagine what happened on the 2nd but more on that later. I also believe that this was the day they announced the "phases" which was a 4 step plan to exit the state of emergency. Each phase was to last for about 2 weeks before moving onto the next phase. With each phase would come less restrictions and more freedom.

Coronavirus - Madrid, 2nd May 2020

The first day we were allowed out for sport and since the parks were closed you can imagine what happened. The footpaths were absolutely packed and it was impossible to keep the recommended distance between you and the next person. If they wanted people to maintan a distance, keeping the parks closed was literally the worst way to do it.

Coronavirus - Madrid, 8th May 2020

The announcement of which states can progress into the next phase. Of course, Madrid was NOT one of them. Those states passing into Phase 1 (Asturias, Baleares, Canarias, Cantabria, Extremadura, Galicia, La Rioja, Murcia, Navarra, País Vasco, Aragón, Ceuta y Melilla) would now be allowed to meet with up to 10 people and terraces could open with 30% capacity.