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Home Uncategorized Spain eases lockdown with 'non-essential' employees wearing masks to go to work

Spain eases lockdown with 'non-essential' employees wearing masks to go to work

Spain has relaxed its coronavirus lockdown measures so ‘non-essential’ workers  can return to their jobs despite 500 people dying each day.

The country has been one of the worst hit by Covid-19 in Europe with the killer virus claiming the lives of 17,489 people so far.

As the country enters its second month of lockdown, some businesses that cannot operate remotely, including construction and manufacturing, were allowed to reopen on Monday.

However the controversial decision has sparked criticism from some regional leaders who fear a resurgence of the outbreak.

Workers allowed to return to their jobs were given masks to wear when they arrived at transport hubs.

Non-essential workers are being given face masks at transport hubs

Non-essential workers are being given face masks at transport hubs (Image: Getty Images)

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But the majority of the population are still confined to their homes, while shops, bars and public spaces will remain closed until at least April 26.

Interior minister Fernando Grande-Marlaska told Cadena Ser radio station that Spanish police started handing out millions of masks early in the morning across regions that are not  observing a public holiday.

He said: “The health of workers must be guaranteed. If this is minimally affected, the activity cannot restart.”

One company reopening, Burgos-based industrial group Nicolas Correa, said it would take measures to prioritise the health of its staff.

Non-essential workers are being allowed to return to their jobs

Non-essential workers are being allowed to return to their jobs (Image: Getty Images)

A Spanish Red Cross volunteer distributes face masks at the Chamartin Station in Madrid

A Spanish Red Cross volunteer distributes face masks at the Chamartin Station in Madrid (Image: AFP via Getty Images)

A spokesman said: “We will continue to work in shifts, with staggered entries and exits to avoid concentrations of staff.”

He added that all workers would be provided with protective equipment.

Reuters TV footage showed only a few commuters coming in and out of the main entrance of Madrid’s usually bustling Atocha train station.

Road traffic was light too, with mainly public buses passing by, in contrast to the customary morning jams seen just a month ago.

A Spanish police officer distributes face masks at the Intercambiador de Moncloa

A Spanish police officer distributes face masks at the Intercambiador de Moncloa (Image: Getty Images)

A woman wearing a face mask sits on a train at the Atocha Station in Madrid

A woman wearing a face mask sits on a train at the Atocha Station in Madrid (Image: AFP via Getty Images)

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Coronavirus outbreak

The lockdown restrictions in Spain have helped slow a spiralling death rate that reached its peak in early April.

Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said on Sunday the decision to restart some sectors of the economy was taken after consulting a  committee of scientific experts and any further winding down would depend on gains made against the virus.

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