Children reclaim streets in Spain after government eases lockdown
After six weeks stuck at home, Spain's children were allowed out Sunday to run, play or go for a walk as the government eased one of the world's toughest coronavirus lockdowns.
Children were kept indoors
Spain is among the hardest hit countries, with a death toll running at more than 23,000, putting it behind only the United States and Italy despite stringent restrictions imposed from March 14.
But unlike other countries, Spain's children were kept indoors, with only adults allowed to leave the house to buy food, medicine, briefly walk the dog or seek urgent medical care.
Spanish children took to the streets of Madrid to enjoy their newfound freedom.
Some parents took precautions, dressing their kids with protective gear before going out.
Skating through lockdown!
Some rollerbladed while others rode bikes or pushed toy prams around, many wearing small masks to cover their faces.
"It has been very good for me to get out," said six-year-old Ricardo after a runaround in Madrid with his younger sister.
"We played hide and seek, we raced. We found a ladybug that was lost and we put it in among the ants."
'Health of the nation is at stake'
From Sunday a maximum of three children under 14 years will be able to go out once a day, for one hour between 9:00 am (0700 GMT) and 9:00 pm, accompanied by one parent -- and no further than one kilometre from their home.
Health Minister Salvador Illa on Friday said it would be "a first step towards easing" the lockdown after earlier insisting that people be very prudent "because the health of the nation is at stake".
No playparks yet
Adults can accompany up to three children, who will not be allowed to use playparks or share toys, and must adhere to social distancing guidelines, remaining at least two metres (6.5 feet) from other people.
Schools remain closed.
"It was totally necessary after 42 days," said Carla Marquez, out with her daughter near Las Canteras beach in Gran Canaria. "It has been super emotional... We have to value the small things in life which apparently we didn't before".
COVID-19 tally of Spain
Health ministry of Spain said earlier that 288 more people had died after being diagnosed with the coronavirus, the lowest daily rise in the death toll in the past month.
That brought the total number of deaths to 23,190, while the overall number of cases rose to 207,634. Spain has registered the third highest number of COVID-19 deaths, after the United States and Italy.
The Health Ministry changed the methodology on Friday for logging cases. It will no longer count antibody tests and will only include positive results from PCR tests, which detect the presence of an active virus.