In Barcelona, the harbinger of a “disaster” in the face of the rebound of the coronavirus

À Barcelone, le présage d’un «désastre» face au rebond du coronavirus

À Barcelone, le présage d’un «désastre» face au rebond du coronavirus

Nearly 4 million inhabitants of the agglomeration of Barcelona are called to “stay home” to impede the recovery of the epidemic of Covid-19 and try to avoid a new containment required.

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July 18, 2020 11: 36

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In Barcelona, the harbinger of a “disaster” in the face of the rebound of the coronavirus

Daniel Bosque

Agence France-Presse

BARCELONA — “A disaster”, says Maria Quintana contemplating the terrace empty the bar, facing the basilica of the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, the second largest city of Spain called the heart of the summer, to be stuck once again in the face of a resurgence of the sars coronavirus.

“Even as it was just starting to note a small recovery, and the presence of a few foreign tourists, it is a step back”, laments the restaurateur of 35 years from the inside of his small establishment.

Saturday, in front of the basilica and unfinished Sagrada Familia, one of the most visited monuments in Spain, tourists could be counted on the fingers of the hand, the most ignorant of the new measures announced the day before by the authorities.

Nearly 4 million inhabitants of the agglomeration of Barcelona are called to “stay home” to impede the recovery of the epidemic of Covid-19 and try to avoid a new containment required.

The number of cases of coronavirus has nearly tripled in a week in Barcelona, with about 800 cases detected compared to less than 300 in the previous week.

“A guillotine”

Beyond this call to stay at home, the regional government has announced the closure of cinemas, theatres or nightclubs, the prohibition of gatherings of more than ten people, and visits to retirement homes, or limiting the capacity to 50% in bars and restaurants.

In the bar of Maria, the stools have been removed since it is now forbidden to serve customers. In terrace, the tables are very closely spaced to maintain the safety distance, but there is no client.

“If the authorities réimposent a containment and force us to close, I will pull down the curtain, but with my neck below, like a guillotine, because we will not be able to survive,” insists Maria Quintana.

Karolina Kapounova, a Czech tourist, 23-year-old, sweating behind his mask, which is mandatory in public spaces in the majority of Spanish regions.

“With the heat, it is a little disturbing”, she says.

“We didn’t know, even if it is true that there is not a lot of people in the streets. But I don’t think we’ll change our plans,” says the young tourist.

350 000 vehicles have left the city

“We see a few tourists, but they are few in number. And then, they come and discover that the Sagrada Familia is closed, as the tourist bus does not operate…”, explains Joan Lopez, the owner of a kiosk located in front of the basilica.

“People do not listen to the recommendations. Today, the city seems empty, but because yesterday they went on a weekend. (…) People have left the city before we are locked”, exclaimed he.

While the regional government had asked Barcelona not to leave the city, the traffic services have recorded the departure of 350,000 vehicles to the coastal areas nearby.

“It is a mistake”, warned on the radio Catalan of the director of the regional monitoring committee of the coronavirus, dr. Jacobo Mendioroz. “The next step is containment at home”, he continued.

Spain, one of the countries most affected by the pandemic, with more than 28 400 dead, had imposed in mid-march, containment is very strict.

Olga Torres, who refreshes on the terrace with a friend, hope you don’t get there.

“This has nothing funny to imagine that they will confine again, but I believe that they think twice because economically, it would be a hecatomb”, underlines this 55 year old female.

The criticism against the government of the separatist catalan, competent in matters of health, multiply and point the finger at their lack of preparation to face the pandemic. For months, the government of Quim Torra has condemned the management of the pandemic conducted by the executive Spanish, suggesting that if Catalonia was independent, they would have done better.

“Bad management leads us to a new containment”, insisted Saturday the editorial in the catalan daily Ara, close to the separatists.

Le Soleil

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