Barcelona Mayor Calls for Spain Lockdown to End, Urging 'Free Our Children...the Situation Is Unsustainable'

The novel coronavirus outbreak in Spain, which has the second-highest number of confirmed cases in the world and third-highest death toll, has seen the country in lockdown for several weeks now.

The strict measures, some of which were eased earlier this week, have greatly impacted the lives of millions of residents, including the mayor of Barcelona, the capital of the Catalonia region in northeast Spain, which is home to nearly 1.6 million people.

Mayor Ada Colau Ballano has called for an end to the lockdown in a bid to "free our children," urging that "these children need to get out" in a Wednesday post to her official Facebook account.

In a lengthy message, the mayor said children should "be taken into account in this confinement...the situation is unsustainable."

She described the personal impact the lockdown has had on her own family, saying: "I write as mayor and mother of two children, ages 9 and 3, who haven't been out for a month. We have been with two small children at home for more than a month without going out for a single day, which they do not understand."

She added: "[The children say] 'Mom, if I don't have the virus, I can't do any harm, why can't I go out?!' Week after week, they fight each other more each day, they have fits of sadness, is almost impossible to keep a schedule, or an order, or do homework, or anything at all.

"We live in an excessively adult-centric society... We are tired of being told that we are soldiers and this is a war, instead of talking about how to take care of life and take care of each other," she wrote.

"Wait no more: Free our children!"

Some businesses in a few sectors, including the construction and manufacturing industries, were allowed to reopen on Monday in Spain.

But the rest of the country is still in lockdown, with shops, bars and public spaces remaining closed until at least April 26, Spain's Minister of Health Salvador Illa confirmed.

Police were reported to be handing out face masks to any residents passing through transport hubs such as Madrid's Atocha railway station.

The country is planning to ramp up its testing, which would paint a more accurate picture of where other restrictions can be lifted in the coming days, health officials said on Wednesday.

Seville, Spain, boy, coronavirus, lockdown, April 2020
A boy waves a Spanish flag on April 12, 2020 in Seville, Spain during a nationwide lockdown. Getty Images

Virus testing will need to be expanded to include those with mild symptoms, as well as asymptomatic patients, to chart the spread in more detail. This would ultimately allow the country to ease restrictions on a larger scale, officials added.

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez told Spanish parliament on Wednesday: "Spain is already one of the countries making the most daily tests. More than 20,000, and we are increasing the number."

Spain has nearly 180,600 confirmed cases, including at least 18,812 deaths as of Thursday, according to the latest figures from Johns Hopkins University.

The country has been turning a corner in recent weeks, seeing a slight flattening in the number of new cases and new deaths.

The novel coronavirus was first reported in Wuhan, China, and has spread to more than two million people. More than 517,400 have recovered from infection, while over 137,100 have died.

The graphic below, provided by Statista, illustrates the spread of COVID-19 across the globe.

statista, covid19, coronavirus,
A map showing COVID-19 cases worldwide as of April 15, 2020. Statista

Data on COVID-19 cases is from Johns Hopkins University unless otherwise stated.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Advice on Using Face Coverings to Slow Spread of COVID-19

  • CDC recommends wearing a cloth face covering in public where social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.
  • A simple cloth face covering can help slow the spread of the virus by those infected and by those who do not exhibit symptoms.
  • Cloth face coverings can be fashioned from household items. Guides are offered by the CDC. (
  • Cloth face coverings should be washed regularly. A washing machine will suffice.
  • Practice safe removal of face coverings by not touching eyes, nose, and mouth, and wash hands immediately after removing the covering.

World Health Organization advice for avoiding spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19)

Hygiene advice

  • Clean hands frequently with soap and water, or alcohol-based hand rub.
  • Wash hands after coughing or sneezing; when caring for the sick; before, during and after food preparation; before eating; after using the toilet; when hands are visibly dirty; and after handling animals or waste.
  • Maintain at least 1 meter (3 feet) distance from anyone who is coughing or sneezing.
  • Avoid touching your hands, nose and mouth. Do not spit in public.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or bent elbow when coughing or sneezing. Discard the tissue immediately and clean your hands.

Medical advice

  • Avoid close contact with others if you have any symptoms.
  • Stay at home if you feel unwell, even with mild symptoms such as headache and runny nose, to avoid potential spread of the disease to medical facilities and other people.
  • If you develop serious symptoms (fever, cough, difficulty breathing) seek medical care early and contact local health authorities in advance.
  • Note any recent contact with others and travel details to provide to authorities who can trace and prevent spread of the disease.
  • Stay up to date on COVID-19 developments issued by health authorities and follow their guidance.

Mask and glove usage

  • Healthy individuals only need to wear a mask if taking care of a sick person.
  • Wear a mask if you are coughing or sneezing.
  • Masks are effective when used in combination with frequent hand cleaning.
  • Do not touch the mask while wearing it. Clean hands if you touch the mask.
  • Learn how to properly put on, remove and dispose of masks. Clean hands after disposing of the mask.
  • Do not reuse single-use masks.
  • Regularly washing bare hands is more effective against catching COVID-19 than wearing rubber gloves.
  • The COVID-19 virus can still be picked up on rubber gloves and transmitted by touching your fac