Tuesday marks one month since Spaniards have been under lockdown. Restrictions have helped to slow a spiraling death rate that reached its peak in early April.
Some activities, including construction and manufacturing, were allowed to restart, but Health Minister Salvador Illa said that Spain remained in lockdown. Shops, bars and public spaces are to stay closed until at least April 26.
Total deaths climbed to 18,056, while confirmed cases of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) virus, commonly known as the novel coronavirus, rose by 3,045 to 172,541, the Health Ministry said in a statement.
However, with the overnight death toll edging up further beyond 500, some frontline workers have joined the head of the Catalan regional government in questioning if the curbs were being lifted too soon.
For Roberto Aguayo, a 50-year-old Barcelona construction worker, the restart came just in time.
“We really needed it, just when we were going to run out of food we returned to work,” he told Reuters. “…People are keeping a safe distance and I think it is very good,” he added.
In Catalonia, Spain’s second-worst hit region after Madrid, health workers distributed masks to morning commuters as one of their colleagues wondered if the lockdown’s gains could be wiped out.
“I understand the circumstances at an economic level, but I still find it quite hasty this return (to work), I see too many people today,” said Barcelona hospital worker Monica Pinzon.
Authorities said they had closed a makeshift morgue set up in Madrid’s Ice Palace skating rink, but the Barcelona Fair complex that hosts the world’s largest exhibition and conference for the mobile industry was converted into a temporary hospital.
A survey by pollster Ipsos published on Tuesday showed 51 percent of Spaniards consider Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez’s’ management of the CCP virus crisis has been bad or very bad.
By Jordi Rubio and Luis Felipe Castilleja
Epoch Times staff contributed to this report.