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Children up to 14 can go out for walks from Sunday under new lockdown conditions

Children in Spain have been under lockdown for six weeks.
Children in Spain have been under lockdown for six weeks. / ÑITO SALAS
  • After conflicting messages earlier this week, the government has confirmed that outings of an hour a day will be permitted

Children up to the age of 14 will be allowed to go out from Sunday after being confined to their homes for the last six weeks due to the coronavirus crisis.

The relaxation of lockdown restrictions for youngsters was included in the decree to extend the state of alarm for another two weeks (until 9 May) which was passed by Congreso on Wednesday.

Under the new regulations, an adult can take up to three children outside for an hour a day between 9am and 9pm, confirmed deputy PM and Podemos leader, Pablo Iglesias, and Health minister Salvador Illa on Thursday.

Children will not be allowed to come into contact with other youngsters, so play will be limited to their own brothers and sisters or members of their household. They will be able to take out toys, bikes, scooters or balls etc. although parks and playgrounds will remain out of bounds.

The walks must take place within a one kilometre radius of the child's home.

The accompanying adult must be a member of the same household who has been in contact with the children during the quarantine, explained Iglesias.

Whether or not children will be allowed to play in communal areas of residential developments has been left up to residents communities to decide, although as in all cases, they must keep a distance of at least a metre, (but "ideally two", said the health minister) from other people

Youngsters aged between 15 and 18 are not included in this new measure although in theory they have been able to go out since the beginning of the lockdown for authorised activities, such as go to the shops or to walk a dog.

The details provided on Thursday came after statements made by the government spokesperson María Jesús Montero after a Cabinet meeting on Tuesday caused general outcry among the opposition, parents and experts.

She had said that children would only be allowed to accompany their parents on outings that were already authorised, such as going to the shops or the bank. Just hours later the government U-turned and confirmed that walks would be allowed.

Local and National Police and Guardia Civil officers expressed concerns on Wednesday about how children's outings could be controlled to enforce the new restrictions.

Iglesias said on Thursday, however, that the government had not considered establishing specific penalties in relation to the new rules. Instead, he appealed to parents' common and civic sense, pointing out that the limitations were there "to save lives".

Back to school?

Also on Thursday, the president of the Junta de Andalucía, Juanma Moreno, called on the government to allow schools in the region to reopen as the lockdown restrictions are relaxed. In an interview with Cadena Ser radio, he suggested 15 May as a possible date for the return to the classroom but later stressed "health conditions permitting" on his Twitter account.