(In the penultimate paragraph, it was corrected that the judiciary in the Basque Country approved the lifting of the nocturnal curfew. It was not a ban on such a project as, for example, in the Canary Islands.)
MADRID (dpa-AFX) – In Spain, tens of thousands euphorically celebrated the end of the corona emergency after six months on Sunday night. In the heart of the capital Madrid, the Puerta del Sol square was still full of people at 2:00 a.m. Most of them didn’t even think about going to bed. “Alcohol, alcohol. We’re here to get drunk,” sang a group of joyful – and probably already tipsy – young people. There were similar pictures from Barcelona and other cities. Many neither observed the rules of distance nor wore masks. Experts are now warning of new infections.
The President of Spain’s Epidemiological Society, Elena Vanessa Martnez, told the El Pas newspaper that there are still many infected people who could pass the virus on. The number of those vaccinated is still small. More contacts lead to more infections. “In this situation, I am concerned about the false security signal sent with the end of the emergency and the end of the nightly curfew.”
The corona numbers in the EU country with its 47 million inhabitants are still high in some cases. In the capital Madrid, the seven-day incidence is 130. For comparison: In Germany, the value on Sunday was 118.6.
Most of the sometimes very strict restrictions in the former infection hotspot of the European Union expired at midnight with the end of the Corona emergency. This included the nationwide nocturnal curfew. It is now only retained for a while in some regions. Nationwide, among other things, the cordoning off of numerous regions was ended. Travel within the country is now allowed again.
From Madrid, for example, you can go back to the sea in Andalusia, Valencia or Catalonia. Even more important for many: after six months only via WhatsApp, Skype or Zoom you can embrace friends and family again. “I can finally visit my son, my daughter-in-law and my grandchildren in Cdiz,” says the vaccinated widow Asuncin in the Malasaa nightlife district. The 82-year-old covers her ears when a few boys fire blers next to her and say “Freedom, Freedom!” chant.
Meanwhile, Spain’s left-wing government urges caution. “The pandemic is not over yet,” said Vice Prime Minister Carmen Calvo on Saturday. There is great concern that the past year could repeat itself: Back then, in June, the government announced a “new normal” with many easing. By November, the corona numbers soared again that the government had to pull the emergency brake and declare the state of emergency, which formed the legal basis for nationwide restrictions.
Now the regions of the country decide for themselves, depending on the situation and within the scope of their legal possibilities, which measures to maintain or to adopt new ones. The Supreme Court of the Balearic Islands, which are popular with Germans and which also includes Mallorca, confirmed the continuation of a night-time ban – but in the Canary Islands the local Supreme Court banned this measure on Sunday. The Balearic Islands currently have a seven-day incidence of 26 and the Canary Islands of 43. In the Spanish Basque Country, however, where this value is 195, the judiciary has approved the lifting of the nocturnal ban. For comparison: In Germany this value is 118.
It was feared that the corona measures in Spain could now lead to a patchwork quilt. The opposition accused the central government of wreaking havoc. The epidemiologist Pedro Alonso criticizes that Spain has failed to enact a “federal emergency brake” with uniform rules as in Germany./er/DP/he