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Up to three under 14s with an adult to be allowed out for an hour a day

Children won't be able to go further than 1km away from home nor visit parks

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23 April 2020 12:43 PM

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ACN|Barcelona

Up to three children under 14 accompanied by an adult will be allowed out for an hour a day from this Sunday, April 26.

This is what Spain's social affairs vice president, Pablo Iglesias, and health minister, Salvador Illa, announced on Thursday, a day after the congress allowed the extension of the state of alarm, including relaxing the lockdown for children. 

Minors under 14 will not be able to be outside alone and will not be allowed to go further than 1km away from home nor visit parks or playgrounds. 

Yet, children will be permitted to do exercise and run in public, as long as they respect social distancing

The daily stroll will only be allowed from 9am to 9pm, although the cabinet members recommended avoiding "peak hours." 

The adult accompanying the children has to be someone who lives with them, but does not necessarily have to be their parent or guardian. It could, for example, be an older sister or brother who is over 18.

Illa estimates that 6 million children across Spain will benefit from the new rules and said that a ministerial order will be issued on Saturday for the measure to come into the following day.

The Spanish health minister warned that "as much as some relief measures have been introduced, confinement measures remain fully in place."

U-turn on children leaving home

This came after the Spanish government had initially hinted that children would only be allowed to "accompany adults doing activities permitted during the state of alarm, such as trips to the supermarket or pharmacy."

That initial statement had drawn criticism from the Catalan government, which has proposed allowing children to go to parks and areas with gardens - but not playgrounds - for up to two hours a day, with minors to be allotted time slots according to their age group.

Catalan recommendations are "compatible" with Madrid

The Catalan government says its proposals for allowing children to go outside are "recommendations" that could be "compatible" with the measures announced in Madrid.

If children and teenagers leave home during their allocated time slots, spokesperson Meritxell Budó sees "no problem" between the indications of the two governments, she said during Thursday's daily press conference.

Catalan health minister Alba Vergés welcomed the "rectification" made by the Spanish executive, but said her government wanted different time slots for the various age groups in order to avoid congested streets and to account for online school timetables.

During Thursday's daily Covid-19 press briefing, Vergés also explained that there are now fewer than 1,000 coronavirus patients in intensive care for the first time since March 25. 

As of Thursday, there are 977 Covid-19 patients in ICU beds. 

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  • A children's park in western Catalonia empty after neighbors stay at home during the coronavirus crisis, March 2020 (by Anna Berga)

  • A children's park in western Catalonia empty after neighbors stay at home during the coronavirus crisis, March 2020 (by Anna Berga)

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