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Beaches open in Barcelona as Spain decides on next steps of lockdown exit

REUTERS/Nacho Doce

The Spanish government will decide on Friday in which regions bars, restaurants and places of worship will open under the next phase of a gradual exit from the coronavirus lockdown.

However, it looked likely that such closures would stay in place in the capital Madrid and the Catalonia region, which together account for nearly half of Spain’s cases of infection. In one sign of life returning to normal, Barcelona beaches opened for a short window from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. on Friday to allow people to swim and jog. People paddled on boards and swam in the water under the supervision of police. “This is freedom,” said a smiling swimmer, Marta Torrents, speaking on the beach dressed in a wet-suit. “To be able to go out to sea and swim - for me, this is perfect.”

Spain’s daily death toll from the coronavirus rose to 229 on Friday, up from 213 on the previous day, the health ministry reported. Overall deaths rose to 26,299 from 26,070 on Thursday and the number of diagnosed cases rose to 222,857 up from 221,447 the day before, the ministry said. Half of the new cases in Spain in the past 24 hours were in Catalonia, whose capital is Barcelona.

Nonetheless, said health emergency chief Fernando Simon, “going outside and improving our quality of life is perfectly compatible with continuing the safety measures”. Spain has been one of the worst-hit countries globally and is just emerging from a strict lockdown, now in its eighth week, which kept people indoors, battered the economy and led to hundreds of thousands of job losses.

8 May 2020

News Source Reuters

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