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Homeland Security

Spain Begins 4-Phase Easing of COVID Restrictions

By VOA News May 02, 2020

Spaniards spent time outside near their homes Saturday as Spain is starting to reopen after weeks of lockdown triggered by one of Europe's most deadly coronavirus outbreaks.

Parks and gardens are still closed in the capital Madrid, and law enforcement personnel are still keeping people from entering many open spaces for leisure or exercise.

Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez has issued a four-phase plan for easing restrictions to get the country back to "a new normal" following the COVID-19 outbreak.

There will be at least two weeks between each phase, as authorities monitor the situation to assess possible adverse consequences of the reopening.

As the first phase began Saturday, walks outside for exercise were allowed mornings between 6 a.m. and 10 a.m. and in the evening from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. local time.

People in capital expressed relief at their partially regained freedoms.

"I feel great. There are very strong restrictions, but it is what it is. We have to follow the instructions from health ministry because they know more than us. This feeling of freedom is great. When this gets better, all of us feel even better," said Manuel Garcia, a 52-year-old trader.

"Well, I came to do some exercise, firstly just to walk because it is going to be hard to start straight away running after so much time, but I feel good," said Angela Arroyo, a 60-year-old teacher, also a Madrid resident.

Spain, the second hardest hit country in Europe after Italy, has reported more than 210,000 coronavirus infections and over 24,000 deaths.

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