Diary of Spain in Lockdown - no deconfinement just yet

Monday 11 May

Shock, disappointment, incredulity, frustration and resignation. These were some of the emotions felt by Valencians on Saturday when the government in Madrid announced that the city and some other parts of the community would not be passing to Phase One of deconfinement.

Many people, especially youngsters, had been hoping to have a bit more freedom after two months of lockdown. They could begin to see a light at the end of the tunnel and the possibility of going to second homes or meeting in small groups was getting closer. Then suddenly that hope was snatched away.

But there were also those who feel we got what we deserved. They remind us of the photos that have been floating around on social media and local news showing scenes of large groups of people walking together, not using facemasks properly, not respecting social distancing or designated timetables.

Some, who have been obeying the rules are angry, and you might say understandably so, if it’s true that this is one of the reasons for not passing to the next phase.

There are also those who own bars and restaurants and were planning for a partial re-opening, only to have the brakes out on that just 48 hours before with no real explanation.

And that is what has infuriated Valencians the most, the lack of explanation. They complain there is no clear reason why for instance the Basque Country, which at first glance has similar or even worse statistics to Valencia, has passed to the next phase while Valencia hasn’t. Some argue it is to do with the central government needing the support of the Basque Nationalists. But let’s keep away from that political minefield.

Advisor to the government in Madrid, Dr Fernando Símon (Director for Emergency Coordination at the Ministry of Health) answered the concerns to some extent and said there were still a considerable number of suspected cases of coronavirus in the Valencia area which hadn’t been tested. The Generalitat were told they should be doing more tests to which the regional president Ximo Puig said his government had followed instructions to the letter and had been all set to move to Phase One. He complained about the rules of the game being changed at half time.

Now, we just have to wait and see if we make the grade next time.

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