Expat Family Living in Spain

Coronavirus in Spain

March 13, 2020
coronavirus in Spain
We choose not to fear – #yomequedoencasa

We were in Mojácar just a few weeks ago with our church to escape the Carnival craziness in Aguilas, when we heard of the first cases of coronavirus in Spain. Days later we had to go to Valencia, just as more cases were being discovered there. I remember telling the kids to not touch anything and to use hand sanitizer as a precaution.  Over the next two weeks, things changed so rapidly it was hard to believe.  We watched the number of cases jump exponentially from a few dozen to over 5200. During recent days the schools closed, church meetings were canceled and many other things where people get together like birthday parties, sports events, and non-urgent medical appointments all got canceled or postponed. 

The situation in Spain deteriorated the fastest in the community of Madrid. (Spain is not divided into states but rather autonomous “communities”) It quickly became the most affected community with more than 2000 people testing positive for the coronavirus. As the authorities there were quick to shut down normal activity, many madrileños decided to head south to places like  Murcia (the community we live in), where they have vacation homes, to escape the chaos of the Spanish capital. Unfortunately, some were coronavirus positive and didn’t have any symptoms until they got here. In fact, most of the 39 cases that Murcia has so far are imported from Madrid. As of yesterday, the regional authorities from Murcia were urging the arriving “madrileños” to stay in quarantine for 15 days. Unfortunately, many didn’t follow these directions and were hanging out by the beach enjoying the warm sunny day. This didn’t sit so well with the president of the community of Murcia, Lopes Miras, and today he appeared on regional television issuing a decree that all of the coastal cities would be in lockdown immediately, and that includes our beautiful town, Aguilas, along with a total of 376,000 coastal people.

However, things went even further one hour later when Spain’s president, Pedro Sanchez, went on national TV to inform that due to the way things had progressed with the coronavirus in Spain, on Saturday he was meeting with the leadership council to place the country in a state of emergency and possibly place the entire country on lockdown for 15 days. During his short speech, he shared a realistic and sobering message. He said that we will get through this but we will have difficult times in the coming weeks, and for us not to be surprised if the number of cases grows to over 10,000 by next week.  I know many of our family and friends are either very worried or skeptical about all the government decisions and media information resulting from the coronavirus in Spain and now worldwide. It seems a little over the top for some, but for us, we are following the advice.

So here we are. We are at home, and we will be here for at least 15 days. While today after the announcement about the confinement, many people were rushing to the markets, we had actually thought ahead and every time we recently went grocery shopping, we bought extra food, water, and toilet paper. We are calm and hopeful, though if we are honest, it feels a little surreal. We are not scared of the situation we are in, but staying at home for so long with kids, in an apartment, with no yard, will be a bit of a challenge. We will try to make the best of it and spend time with our family. That for sure will include hours of Netflix, crafts, (messy paint as my daughter calls it), board games, and reading. Also, the schools sent work for them to do and they will be spending time on it. 

The kids so far are doing good. When we first heard about the coronavirus in Spain, we talked to them, explaining what it was and what that might cause. They saw us every time buying a little extra and asked why and we calmly explained that if in case we have a lockdown, we want to be prepared. I am at least relieved that today, we didn’t have to go through the stress to buy groceries, but we stayed in with our kids, giving them some stability.

On a funny note, we were not the ones that bought all the toilet paper and meat in the market. When we were stocking up the only thing that was missing on the shelves was hand sanitizer! 

Though it has been chaotic, with all the concerning news we’ve been hearing every day, we choose to not live in fear. We know and we believe with all of our hearts, that God is in control of our lives and that gives us an immeasurable peace that surpasses all the horrific happenings around us, taking away all the anxiety that the situation brings.

PS. If you want see if we can maintain our sanity staying in with our kids for two weeks, follow us on @yesvida and don’t forget to check out our stories.

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