COVID19 – A view from across the globe – Gran Canaria

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COVID19 – A view from across the globe – Gran Canaria

As someone that found it very difficult, in the early days of lockdown, to read and watch the press surrounding the current pandemic, I realised I was not fully aware of what was going on in other parts of the world and how greater knowledge could answer some questions I had about what was happening in England.

While considering what the next few months had in store for those of us living in England and mainly thinking about what I would do come September if the children could not go back to school, I decided to reach out to friends and family around the world to find out what was happening for them and how they had been affected by Covid19. I asked a serious of questions and thought I would share these with you.

The following features answers from Sara Ramos who is studying Law and also works in the tourism industry in Gran Canaria.

 What date was the country put in lockdown?

March 14th, 2020 (Coincidentally I was on the Island visiting my brother and managed to get a flight out on the 14th March. It was a stressful day – Jo).

What date was lockdown eased and what measures were different?

On the 26th of April, children were allowed to go out for walks accompanied by an adult.

Has lockdown been lifted altogether?

Yes, phase 1 started on the 11th May and no we can go out and start to do almost everything. Social distancing and wearing masks is still required in certain places.

What was the highest peak of deaths in one day?

950 deaths in Spain but I can’t find the highest peak of deaths in Gran Canaria itself, but it says that there were 15 deaths in one day in the whole archipelago. As at the middle of June, in the Canaries the total deaths were 151.

Are the hospitals back to normal or are they only dealing with cases of corona?

Most of them are back to normal.

What is your government saying now which you think would be interesting for English readers to hear?

Because the Canaries come under the Spanish government, much of what has been said hasn’t really applied to the situation here in Gran Canaria. We have had very few deaths and cases but that is in contrast to the situation on the mainland.

If you had a high/low death toll are you able to give your view on why you think that is?

I strongly believe that the high death toll in Spain was due to the lack of sanitarians, the sanitary system was collapsed because more staff was required.

It also has something to do with the low capacity of hospitalization in our hospitals, and of course, the claimed material shortage of respirators.

Life expectancy in Spain is around 83 years, and as we know, the Covid-19 affects mainly the elders, so that could also be one of the factors to our high death toll.

What do you do for a job and how has it been affected by corona?

I work in a travel agency in the Canary Island, where 40% of the gross domestic product is based on tourism. The global corona situation requited us to temporarily stop our activity since the start of the state of emergency. The air traffic will re-open on July 1st, but most of the hotels here will still shut, so it is very likely that tourism will continue to be affected until the end of the year.

When did schools re-open and did the children go back as normal?

The schools are technically closed. Some of them re-opened in phase 2 (on the 25th of May) for tutoring and reinforcement classes, but children have not been back to school to continue the ordinary classes. I believe they will go back in September.

When did shops and restaurants reopen? Are they operating differently?

Hairdressers, hardware stores, dentists, opticians, physiotherapy centers or florists, considered to provide services, re-opened in phase 0, on the 4th of May

Restaurants were allowed to open their terrace with a 50% capacity on the 11th of May.

All of them need to follow a new hygiene procedure: the staff need to wear masks, provide the place with hand sanitizing gel, keep 1.5 metres distance between everyone, limited capacity.

Do you know if the Courts functioned during lockdown and if not, are they back to normal now?

The Courts stopped their activity during lockdown, they started progressively to work on May 12th with 30-40% of the staff and now they are back to normal.

Sara Ramos