Barcelona happenings

A friend of ours is marooned in Barcelona.  He got there in time for the quarantine to start, lucky dog.  He can work out of his apartment, but he's a good writer and here's how things are going down from his perspective.

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Observations on Coronavirus in Spanish Lockdown

I awoke to a booming loudspeaker from the street below 
my third-floor apartment: “Atención, quédate en tu casa!”

It was the police, ordering people to stop milling around 
the neighborhood and go home.

That neighborhood is known as Poblenou, a trendy hotspot 
within the city of Barcelona, Spain that I’d decided to call
home for the next 10 weeks. 

Typically teeming with families, al fresco diners, dog-walkers, 
cyclists, hand-in-hand couples, skateboarders and throngs of
(mostly) European tourists, on this morning the neighborhood
featured but a trickle of its normal foot traffic.

About 10 p.m. the night before – Saturday, March 14 – Spanish
Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez announced a 15-day lockdown of 
virtually the entire country.

At that announcement, hundreds of residents stepped out on 
their balconies and clapped loudly for about 10 minutes.

The effect of all that applause – like the coronavirus that triggered
the lockdown – was contagious, as I found myself clapping with all
 those locals (even though I wasn’t aware they were responding to 
the emergency declaration).

The measure calls for the temporary closure of all restaurants, bars, 
hotels and most retail shops in the country, as well as all schools and 
universities.

As for the country’s inhabitants and foreign visitors, we can only 
leave our homes to shop for food and medicine, commute to work, 
go to hospitals and banks, or take trips related to the care of children 
and the elderly.

The police are deadly serious about enforcing all this.

For example, police in Madrid are using drones in public areas to warn 
people to stay home.

A news broadcast last night (Sunday, March 15) reported that you risked 
very large fines – up to hundreds of euros – for disobeying the lockdown.

In addition, the broadcast warned that you’re required to carry identification 
with you at all times, because if you’re caught without it, you could be fined
 hundreds of euros on the spot.

Heaven help you if you’re caught without ID and enough cash on you to 
immediately pay these fines.

A resident of the apartment building I’m staying at told me you could be 
forced to cough up 35,000 euros for that infraction.

And The Independent, a UK publication, says penalties for disobeying a 
quarantine could be as high as 600,000 euros and prison time.

Ouch.

So there are essentially three rules to follow during this lockdown (aside 
from common sense hygiene-related protocols like avoiding crowds and 
washing your hands after touching virtually anything outside of your home):

- Make sure you have a big plastic bag with you whenever you’re outside so
  police can see you’re out shopping


- Carry ID at all times (I used to just keep a photocopy of my main passport
   page with me, but now you can be sure I’ll never be without 
my actual passport)

- Keep your wits about you (in other words, don’t fall prey to a herd mentality
   and succumb to panic buying)


That’s it for now. I’ll have much more to say about the coronavirus and the
fallout it’s causing as events unfold.

Staying as healthy as possible,

Doug Fogel
Natural Wealth, Natural Health