Hundreds of thousands return to work as Spain relaxes coronavirus lockdown

As Spain begins to relax some of its Covid-19 lockdown restrictions and thousands of people are returning to work in Madrid, fears remain about the extent of the threat. CNN's Scott McLean reports from Madrid.

Posted: Apr 14, 2020 9:48 AM


Around 300,000 nonessential workers are estimated to have gone back to their jobs in Spain's Madrid region on Monday as the country began a partial lifting of lockdown restrictions aimed at curbing the spread of coronavirus, a spokesperson for Madrid's regional government told CNN.

As Spain enters its second month of lockdown, some restrictions were eased, allowing those who cannot work from home, such as those in the construction and manufacturing industries, to return to work.

However, shops, bars, and restaurants and other businesses considered nonessential remain closed.

Spain has been one of the countries worst affected by the coronavirus pandemic, with more than 169,000 confirmed cases so far -- the highest in Europe, and second only to the US, according to figures from Johns Hopkins University.

The country has now recorded a total of more than 17,400 deaths. On Monday, it recorded the second-lowest daily rise in deaths for three weeks: 517 fatalities in the past 24 hours.

A cautious climbdown

But Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez has cautioned that the nation's return to normal life will be "progressive," stressing that the resumption of normal activity will happen in phases and will be accompanied by hygiene measures and efforts to monitor new cases and prevent further contagion.

"We can't even know what kind of normality we're returning to," he said last week.

Over the weekend, the government announced that police would begin handing out 10 million protective masks at metro stations and other transport hubs, while reiterating guidance on social distancing and regular hand-washing.

Spain's central government has distributed one million coronavirus testing kits around the country, and a further five million will be sent out in the coming days and weeks.

"The climb has been difficult, the descent will also be," Sanchez told parliament last week, as the country's state of emergency was extended to April 26. Sanchez has warned that restrictions may need to be further extended.

'Irresponsible and reckless'

Still, the easing of restrictions has triggered concern in some quarters.

Spain's General Workers Union (GTU) has raised concerns over the safety of those returning to work. The union, which has 940,000 members, according to its website, called on employers to be responsible for providing personal protection equipment for their staff.

Some opposition politicians and a number of regional governments have also criticized the easing of restrictions. Quim Torra, president of Catalonia, said returning people to work was "irresponsible and reckless" in a video statement posted to his verified Twitter account.

Last week, a study published in medical journal The Lancet warned that coronavirus lockdowns across the globe should not be completely lifted until a vaccine for the disease is found. The study, based on China's outbreak, used mathematical modeling to show how lifting such measures prematurely could result in a sweeping second wave of infection.

Spain is one of several European countries cautiously preparing to loosen restrictions.

Austria said it would gradually begin to reopen shops after Easter, and in Germany a group of economists, lawyers and medical experts are recommending a gradual revival that would allow specific industries and workers to resume their activities while steps are taken to prevent a resurgence of coronavirus.

Meanwhile, Denmark will reopen kindergartens and schools this week if coronavirus cases remain stable, and children in Norway will return to kindergarten a week later.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 501097

Reported Deaths: 9990
CountyCasesDeaths
Harrison34338538
DeSoto32117403
Hinds31939628
Jackson24494382
Rankin21995390
Lee15543235
Madison14581280
Jones13851242
Forrest13453251
Lauderdale11991317
Lowndes11050188
Lamar10521135
Pearl River9533237
Lafayette8550140
Hancock7732127
Washington7438158
Oktibbeha7146131
Monroe6777177
Warren6694176
Pontotoc6664102
Neshoba6637206
Panola6531131
Marshall6467134
Bolivar6317148
Union602894
Pike5820152
Alcorn5669101
Lincoln5436135
George496879
Scott472898
Tippah469281
Prentiss467281
Leflore4658144
Itawamba4636105
Tate4588111
Adams4587119
Copiah448592
Simpson4446116
Yazoo444187
Wayne439772
Covington428894
Sunflower4239105
Marion4226108
Coahoma4160105
Leake408288
Newton381779
Grenada3707108
Stone360364
Tishomingo359792
Attala331589
Jasper329965
Winston314291
Clay308076
Chickasaw300367
Clarke292494
Calhoun279446
Holmes267987
Smith264050
Yalobusha234047
Tallahatchie228051
Greene219348
Walthall218763
Lawrence212940
Perry205556
Amite205156
Webster202946
Noxubee186740
Montgomery179656
Jefferson Davis171743
Carroll169138
Tunica159839
Benton148838
Kemper141941
Choctaw133426
Claiborne132737
Humphreys129538
Franklin120228
Quitman106428
Wilkinson105139
Jefferson94534
Sharkey64120
Issaquena1937
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 818652

Reported Deaths: 15378
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson1147091924
Mobile724971336
Madison52231697
Shelby37575349
Baldwin37224549
Tuscaloosa35073612
Montgomery34092739
Lee23519246
Calhoun22221482
Morgan20910378
Etowah19816498
Marshall18338303
Houston17360412
St. Clair16034339
Cullman15406293
Limestone15328199
Elmore15186286
Lauderdale14270295
Talladega13827281
DeKalb12637261
Walker11180370
Blount10179176
Autauga9967148
Jackson9860183
Coffee9205191
Dale8884185
Colbert8840201
Tallapoosa7079198
Escambia6766132
Covington6706183
Chilton6633161
Russell635259
Franklin5959105
Chambers5607142
Marion4995126
Dallas4949200
Pike4791105
Clarke475484
Geneva4568127
Winston4507103
Lawrence4309117
Bibb424686
Barbour357576
Marengo337890
Monroe331463
Randolph329864
Butler325896
Pickens315682
Henry311966
Hale311188
Cherokee302360
Fayette292379
Washington251351
Cleburne247460
Crenshaw244875
Clay243068
Macon234163
Lamar223347
Conecuh185953
Coosa180040
Lowndes174764
Wilcox168739
Bullock151644
Perry138340
Sumter132938
Greene126644
Choctaw88227
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Clear cool and dry to begin your weekend, but both afternoons should be a little bit above what we expect for this time of year temperature wise. Rain chances begin to return late Sunday night, with at least two chances for storms over the next week, summer could be strong.
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