Earlier in the day, the Cabinet had decided that minors would only be able to leave the house to go to the supermarket, chemist, or bank with a parent or guardian.
The Minister of Health, Salvador Illa, announced tonight that minors will, in the end, be allowed to leave their homes for accompanied walks from April 27th onward, after plans announced by the Cabinet earlier in the day to restrict such trips outside for youngsters to just visits to the supermarket, pharmacies or banks were widely criticized.
EARLIER IN THE DAY THEY ANNOUNCED…
Spain to allow children aged 14 and under on accompanied trips to stores from April 27th, but not out for walks.
After its weekly meeting today, the Cabinet announced that children aged 14 and under would only be allowed out of the home accompanied by an adult under the same conditions that currently apply according to coronavirus confinement measures.
Speaking at a press conference earlier today, government spokesperson María Jesús Montero said: “We are proposing that from April 27th, minors aged 14 and under can accompany an adult on a trip outside of the house, such as going to the supermarket or the pharmacy.” That meant that minors would not have been able to leave the house with adults to go for a walk in the open air, while those aged up to 18 would have been able to make the same trips alone, albeit with the authorization of their parents.
The ongoing confinement of children had already prompted criticism among the political opposition and experts alike, who have been warning of the possible adverse effects the situation is having on the health, both physical and mental, of youngsters.
The government’s announcement earlier today about the relaxation of confinement measures for children was widely rejected both by political parties, and members of the public alike on social media, many of whom pointed out that there was a much greater chance of infection for children in a closed space such as a supermarket than in the open air.
“This government listens,” said Health Minister Salvador Illa on Tuesday night about the U-turn. “This weekend I will issue an order so that children aged 14 and under can go out for walks.” He added that the conditions under which minors would be able to leave the house would be “announced soon,” and went on to call for the public “to allow us to finish the details” about the plan, including “maximum time, distance and safety. This is going for a walk, and not going out to shop, which they will also be able to do,” he clarified
Asked as to why the Cabinet had changed course on the issue of minors, if it had taken into account the opinion of experts before taking its original decision, he said that “the government is going to continue acting with maximum caution, and being very conscious of the tough measures” that are currently in place.
The extension to the current state of alarm will be debated on Wednesday in Congress, and will need the support of other parties if, as Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez has already stated, it is to be extended until May 9th.
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