Spanish health authorities have begun to outline plans to move towards “a new normality” as the number of overnight coronavirus deaths in the country dropped below 300 for the first time in weeks, writes Sam Jones.
On Sunday, children under 14 were allowed out to exercise for the first time since mid-March, and the prime minister, Pedro Sánchez, has announced that adults could also be allowed to exercise outside from next weekend if efforts to contain the spread of the virus continue to pay off.
Speaking on Sunday, Fernando Simón, the head of Spain’s centre for health emergencies, said recent figures showed a “clear descending trend”, adding that the government’s decision to allow some non-essential workers to return to their jobs a fortnight ago had not had any negative impact so far.
Simón said that the time had come to talk of a transition “to normality – within the limits of the coronavirus:
It won’t be the normality we knew a year ago. It will be a new normality in which, over the coming months, we’ll need to ensure that we can reduce the risks of transmission and new outbreaks enough so that their effects are not as negative as they have been this time.
He said that a panel of experts had given the government a set of recommendations for the next steps in the country’s “transition”. They say the health system must be ready – and have the right resources – to respond to another outbreak, and stress there must be effective monitoring of the disease even as cases fall. They also urge swift and aggressive quarantining and testing protocols, and strict compliance with social distancing rules.