Shrieks of joy rang out Sunday in the streets of Spain as children were allowed to leave their homes for the first time in six weeks. The sound of children shouting and the rattle of bikes on the pavement after the 44-day seclusion of Spain’s youngest citizens offered a first taste of a gradual return to normal life in the country that has the second-highest number of confirmed coronavirus infections, behind the US. “This is wonderful! I can’t believe it has been six weeks,” Susana Sabaté, a mother of 3-year-old twin boys, said in Barcelona. “My boys are very active. Today when they saw the front door and we gave them their scooters, they were thrilled.” Spain is among the nations that have reported enough progress in lowering infection rates to permit gradually loosening restrictions, the AP reports.
“Maximum caution will be our guideline for the rollback,” Prime Minister Sánchez said as he announced that Spaniards will be allowed to leave their homes for short walks and exercise starting May 2. “We must be very prudent, because there is no manual, no road map, to follow.” Sánchez will present a detailed plan Tuesday for the “de-escalation” of the lockdown. So far, adults were allowed out only for essential shopping or to go to work. Children under 14 have been in complete seclusion, but as of Sunday morning they were allowed to take walks with one parent for up an hour. Those weren’t the only restrictions. Spanish youngsters must stay within 1 kilometer, 0.6 miles, of their homes, and take only one toy out. They’re not allowed to play with other kids. In Barcelona, Sabaté’s sons wore face masks as they went outside. “Now we will see how long they stay on!” she said.