CHILDREN aged 14 and under can go for walks, the Spanish Government has announced in a U-turn on new COVID-19 measures announced earlier today.
This evening Health Minister Salvador Illa said that from April 27 those aged 14 and below in Spain can go outside, as long as they are accompanied by an adult.
It follows finance minister Maria Jesus Montero’s speech this afternoon in which she said youngsters would only be allowed out for ‘essential’ tasks and ‘not for a walk’.
But, bowing to public and political pressure, the PSOE- Podemos coalition government has rowed back on Montero’s statement.
From Monday, some 8.3 million minors who will have been confined to their houses for six weeks, will be able to go and get some fresh air.
“This government listens,” said Illa after an afternoon of backlash from rival politicians, as well as the public on social media.
He added: “We are not in a phase of de-escalation, we are still in confinement but it is time to take decisions that alleviate this situation.
“This weekend I will issue an order so that children aged 14 and under can go out for walks.”
He said the full plan for children being allowed outside would be ‘announced soon’, asking the public ‘to allow us to finish the details’.
He explained that ‘maximum time, distance and safety’ would be specified and that walks would ‘not necessarily have to be to a specific establishment’.
He continued: “This is going for a walk, and not going out to shop, which they will also be able to do.”
There is believed to have been some kind of miscommunication within Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez’s cabinet.
According to El Mundo, some ministers contacted by the paper said they were left ‘astonished’ at Montero’s speech.
This afternoon she had said that kids aged 14 and under would only be allowed outside for ‘essential’ tasks like food shopping, visiting the pharmacy or a doctor and buying the newspaper.
Opposition leader Pablo Casado of the conservative PP party was one of those who called on the government to let children out for walks rather than just for running errands.
After Montero’s speech he said: “I have been asking for 10 days that the children can go out after a month confined but not to go with their parents to crowded establishments putting them at risk of contagion.
“I ask the Government, also as the father of two little ones, to rectify its announcement and allow them to take short walks in open areas.”