Spain officially ended its national state of emergency this past Sunday (June 21st) after spending the past three months in lockdown amid the coronavirus pandemic. Spain’s 47 million citizens will now be able to freely travel throughout the entire country for the first time since Mid-March. The country is also allowing visitors from the 27 European countries that have also approved of visa-free travel without requiring them to quarantine for two weeks.
Spain’s Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez made a statement when he lifted the order, claiming that health, safety, and hygiene policies must still be enforced and followed, and he also warned that “the virus can return and it can hit us again in a second wave, and we have to do whatever we can to avoid that at all costs.”
According to Spain’s tourism industry, the country typically attracts 80 million tourists every year, which makes vacationers responsible for about 12% of Spain’s overall economy. The country has obviously not seen anywhere close to those numbers yet, and even with Spain reopening some of its larger airports, the country is still seeing a massive decline in travel, as is the rest of the world.
Several local restaurants and bars within Spain have remained open throughout the past three months, however, many had outdoor seating and/or major social distancing policies enforced within them. In regards to other spanish speaking countries in the world, Spain has truly remained the least infected, however, the damage the virus inflicted on the country was still extremely devastating.
According to Johns Hopkins University, which has been keeping extensive records of all Covid-19 cases throughout the world since this pandemic initially began, Spain’s death toll is more than 28,000, the third-highest in Europe, however, Spain is also one of the larger countries in Europe as well.
Other countries like Brazil, however, are dealing with nearly 50,000 new cases every single day! According to health officials in Brazil, President Jair Bolosonaro has been downplaying the risks of Covid-19 the same exact way that President Trump is here in the US; unsurprisingly, the US and Brazil currently occupy the top two sports for highest death tolls in the world.
South Africa is reporting around 5,000 new cases everyday, and recorded 46 deaths this past weekend. President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that they would also be loosening their lockdown restrictions, despite case numbers continuing to increase. In all of these countries the rush to reopen is driven by the desire to improve the economy.
India began easing their lockdowns last month and it helped their economy recover slightly, however, it resulted in a massive spike in cases as well. Now, New Delhi is converting its train carriages to makeshift Covid-19 ICU beds.
Here in the US, the virus is mainly spreading throughout the West and the South, specifically among the many states that began prematurely opening within the past month. States like Arizona, California, Florida, and South Carolina are all reporting record-breaking single-day spikes in cases as a direct result of those re-openings as well.
While the desire to get back to a life of normalcy and rebuild the extensive damage done to the economy is strong, we have to remember that this pandemic is nowhere near finished. Case numbers are continuously rising, and haven’t stopped. Listen to your healthcare providers and wear a mask in public, continue to abide by social distancing policies, and stay home, we’re all in this together unless we aren’t.
Eric Mastrota is a Contributing Editor at The National Digest based in New York. A graduate of SUNY New Paltz, he reports on world news, culture, and lifestyle. You can reach him at email@example.com.