Spaniards have been savouring their first taste of life after lockdown as adults were allowed out for exercise for the first time in seven weeks on Saturday.
Any form of sport or exercise is allowed as long as they are carried out individually under new rules for outdoor activity, and people must adhere to specific time slots based on their age groups.
Spain has been relaxing its coronavirus lockdown measures, which are among the strictest in the world. Locals are still expected to practice social distancing and anyone with Covid-19 symptoms or who are residents of senior homes are still not allowed to leave their homes.
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Adults under the age of 70 who wish to walk, run, cycle, or do any other physical activity outdoors can do so between 6am or 10am, or between 8pm and 11pm.
More vulnerable people with caregivers and seniors over the age of 70 can go outside between 10am to 12pm, or between 7pm to 8pm.
The timetable’s aim is to “avoid having people coincide on the street and to space out the activities”, said epidemiologist Joan Ramon Vallalbi, a member of the Spanish Public Health and Health Administration Society.
Spain was hit hard by coronavirus, and its death toll officially stands at 24,824. But the rate of fatalities has dropped, with the country reporting its lowest figure of 268 deaths on Thursday since 20 March. At its peak, Spain reported 950 fatalities overnight on 2 April.
Charlotte Fraser-Prynne, a 41-year-old British government affairs consultant, told Reuters on her 6am run: “I have been looking forward to this for weeks. I was joking with my friends that I would be the first out in Madrid, I am very happy to be out after six weeks of yoga videos.”
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Parks in Madrid will remain closed until 9 May, said mayor Jose Luis Martinez-Almeida, but people were seen running and riding on the pavements around them on Saturday.
Mr Martinez-Almeida said on Thursday: “We are taking small steps forward, seeing the end of the tunnel, but we cannot let our guard down.
“We are going to see what happens from 9 May, what is the situation the deescalation is in, in order to make a decision on parks.”
Earlier last week, Spanish prime minister Pedro Sanchez announced a four-phase plan to return the country to what he termed “the new normality” by the end of June and restart its economy.
Businesses that operate by appointment, including hairdressers, will be allowed to open on Monday, but bars and restaurants are to remain shut for at least another week.
Other rules drawn up in the four-phase plan include the use of masks on public transport, and allowing visits to second homes as long as they are in the same province. The first phase is due to begin on 10 May.