Spain Loosens CCP Virus Lockdown but Death Toll Races Past 17,000

April 13, 2020Updated: April 13, 2020

Spain, one of the countries worst hit by the global CCP virus epidemic, on April 13 started to ease tough lockdown restrictions that have kept people confined to their homes for more than a month and put a brake on economic activity.

Spain’s cumulative death toll from the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus rose to 17,489 on Monday, up 517 from 16,972 on Sunday, the Health Ministry said. Confirmed cases totaled 169,496, up from 166,019 the previous day.

However, in a sign that the situation was taking a turn for the better, some businesses, including construction and manufacturing, were allowed to reopen.

As some companies were set to resume operations at the end of a two-week halt of all non-essential activity amid a national lockdown to stop the spread of the CCP virus, a Spanish Red Cross volunteer distributes masks at the Chamartin Station in Madrid on April 13, 2020. (Pierre-Philippe Marcou /AFP via Getty Images)

But most of the population are still confined to their homes, and shops, bars, and public spaces will remain closed until at least April 26.

People at main transport hubs were handed masks as they went to work on Monday morning.

“The health of workers must be guaranteed. If this is minimally affected, the activity cannot restart,” Interior Minister Fernando Grande-Marlaska told Cadena Ser radio station.

Lockdown restrictions have helped slow a spiraling death rate that reached its peak in early April, but they have tested the resolve of people cooped up inside their homes.

Amid a national lockdown to prevent the spread of the CCP virus, Manuel, 75, poses with icons on his balcony in Ronda, Spain, on Easter Sunday on April 12, 2020. (Jorge Guerrero /AFP via Getty Images)

Only a few commuters came in and out of the main entrance of Madrid’s usually bustling Atocha train station on Monday morning. Road traffic was light too, with mainly public buses passing by.

Police handed out millions of masks early in the morning across regions that are not observing a public holiday.

Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said on Sunday the decision to restart some sectors of the economy was taken after consulting a committee of scientific experts. Any further winding down would depend on gains made against the CCP virus, he said.

“We are still far from victory, from the moment when we can pick up our normal lives again, but we have made the first decisive steps in the path toward victory,” Sanchez said.

Amid a national lockdown to prevent the spread of the CCP virus, a member of the Spanish Fire Brigade carries out a general disinfection in Ronda, Spain, on April 12, 2020. (Jorge Guerrero /AFP via Getty Images)

However, some regional leaders criticized the moves, fearing a resurgence of the outbreak.

One company reopening, Burgos-based industrial group Nicolas Correa, said it would take measures to prioritize the health of its staff.

“We will continue to work in shifts, with staggered entries and exits to avoid concentrations of staff,” it said, adding that all workers would be provided with protective equipment.

European Central Bank Vice-President Luis de Guindos said Spain’s reliance on tourism would likely leave it exposed to a worse recession than the rest of Europe.

The CCP virus is weighing heavily on the Spanish economy, with some 900,000 jobs lost since mid-March.

“We’re talking about the worst economic situation since the [1936-39 Spanish] Civil War,” the former Spanish economy minister said in Sunday’s La Vanguardia newspaper.

Traditional festivals have also been disrupted by the epidemic.

Epoch Times staff contributed to this report.