Hundreds of thousands of people return to work in Spain - is it too soon?
Rabat – While Spain’s lockdown remains in place, the country allowed some construction and factory workers to return to work on April 13.
Some of the approximately 300,000 who have been allowed back to work are struggling to resume activity as normal. Construction workers have complained that they do not have the proper tools and resources available to complete their jobs.
Concerns about high unemployment rates had pressured the government to gradually lift lockdown measures. Meanwhile, the World Health Organization (WHO) suggests that countries should wait another two weeks before loosening lockdown restrictions.
Spain’s nationwide lockdown, which began on March 14, is expected to continue beyond April 26, noted Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez. Aside from the industrial workers who have been granted the right to return to work, the rest of the country is expected to remain in lockdown and schools remain closed.
Sanchez clarified that Spain, which has witnessed more coronavirus deaths than any other European countries, is not yet in the de-escalation stage of its COVID-19 outbreak. Spain’s daily COVID-19 death toll has fluctuated throughout this past week, dipping to 523 on April 15, rising again to 551 on April 16, and 585 by the afternoon of April 17.
While allowing some people to resume work, the Ministry of Health is continuing to take active measures to ensure authorities are accurately tracking the spread of COVID-19 and providing sufficient protection.
The Spanish government will distribute over 10 million masks throughout the country, the Ministry of Health said in an April 14 statement. The measure will specifically target locations where workers are present. The prime minister has also announced that health authorities will carry out more tests.
The number of deaths in Spain due to COVID-19 reached a total of 19,478 on April 17, with the number of confirmed cases reaching 188,068. Of the confirmed cases, 74,797 patients have recovered. Following the US, Spain has the highest total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the world.
The ministry announced on April 17 that it will be taking new measures to collect data in order to increase their efficiency and response to the evolving pandemic.
The new order requires that each of Spain’s 17 autonomous communities and two autonomous cities must report the number of PCR tests that they carry out each week, as well as information regarding protective materials such as masks. The order also states that all reported cases must differentiate between those that are symptomatic and asymptomatic.
While the Spanish government is hopeful that the country has passed the peak of COVID-19’s impact, it is unknown how lifting restrictions for certain non-essential workers will affect Spain’s situation moving forward.