On 2 May, the Government of Spain has given us back a small fraction of our pre-COVID19 freedom. We were let out of our homes for a few hours. It was the beginning of the desescalada. The beginning of something that we don’t know for sure what. But it’s something that feels precious because somehow it smacks of rebirth. In the middle of all the uncertainty, there was one thing unequivocal: a deep sense of gratitude. We wouldn’t be here now, out on our first true taste of sunshine and the soft breeze of spring, without the healthcare workers who have put their own lives on the line so we could live. Their heroism is breathtaking. We’ve lived by the rules so that we all could live even though some of us hadn’t been able to make it. And we grieve for them.
Too many were not there on time when Italy needed a helping hand. For that, it is right that Europe as a whole offers a heartfelt apology. But now the real Europe is standing up, the one that is there for each other when it is needed the most. Now Europe is where paramedics from Poland and doctors from Romania save lives in Italy. Where ventilators from Germany provide a lifeline in Spain. Where hospitals in Czechia treat the sick from France. And where patients from Bergamo are flown to clinics in Bonn. . .
‘Should I Stay or Should I Go’ is the theme song of my life. It was the few days before lockdown began in Spain that Monday in mid March. I knew I would enjoy the time for solitude that the lockdown would provide. I would have plenty of time to read, write and meditate upon what I want to do with my life as a 23-year-old recent college grad. But my parents preferred me to come home. Dear Spain, muchas gracias for the short time we had together. We’ll see each other soon, once the gods permit.
We must look out for each other. None of us can do it alone. And yet when Europe needed to prove that it is not just a ‘fair weather Union’, too many initially refused to share their umbrella.
The State of Alarm is a response to the alarming health situation (COVID-19 pandemic) caused by the coronavirus. It was announced by Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez following a 66% increase in the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in just one day (13 March), from 3146 to 5232. Today, Spain is second only to Italy in terms of the number of COVID-19 victims.
In order not to collapse 112, the Emergency Phone in Spain, the great majority of the Autonomous Communities have installed emergency telephone lines specific to coronavirus. Those autonomous communities that haven’t, have kept the usual 112 and 061 numbers to attend to calls about COVID-19. See list.
Call 060 for almost anything under the (Spanish) sun! From traffic ticket to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ consular emergency and crisis service, and an infinite number of other information and services in between. Two-hundred fifty different information phone lines in one number!
Spain has finally learned that where the notorious coronavirus is concerned, no country is an island. When northern Italy was hit by the virus, everyone felt it was just a matter of hours – not days – before the virus reared its ugly head here. Spanish Minister of Health Salvador Illa urges calm, common sense and trust in the public health system, Spain’s crown jewel. Fifteen people have tested positive and the number is likely to rise in the looming pandemia. People in Spain are caught between believing and blind panic.
It isn’t that Spanish cafes aren’t work-friendly. It is that they tend to want to strike a balance between hunching singlemindedly over your laptops and taking time out to savor your coffee, preferably in convivial company. So is it rude to use the cafes as your personal office like you would do in the United States?