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COVID-19

How to calculate how far you can walk under Spain’s new lockdown measures

From May 2nd people in Spain are able to go for a walk within a one-kilometre radius from their homes. Here are some ways to find out how far you can go to avoid getting into trouble with authorities.

How to calculate how far you can walk under Spain's new lockdown measures
Photo: AFP/CalcMap

After 48 days of strict confinement, Spaniards are now being allowed to leave their homes to go for a walk with one other a person who lives at the same address as them.

The timeframe for these walks is from 6am to 10am and 8pm to 11pm, with the other allotted slots for the elderly and dependants being from 10am to 12pm and 7pm to 8pm; and for walks with children from 12pm to 7pm. 

For all these groups, the maximum distance anyone can go from their homes is a one-kilometre radius – as the crow flies – something which isn’t necessarily easy to calculate (for jogging and other outdoor exercise which can be practised individually there is no distance limit as long as it's in the same municipality).

Fortunately, there are several digital tools that can be used to calculate that distance and avoid getting into trouble if stopped by police and you’ve strayed too far.

READ ALSO:


People exercising in Barcelona for the first time in 48 days. Photo: AFP

Google Maps

The world’s most used web mapping service is an obvious first choice but the option to pinpoint the distance between two places is slightly hidden and only available on desktop.

First, type in your home address. Next right-click on the red pin that’s dropped onto the map and choose “Measure distance” (Medir distancia in Spanish).

Now you can click on another point on the map to find out how far it is. Unfortunately, Google Maps doesn’t give you the option to see the circular one-kilometre radius from your home address.


CalcMaps website

This site does allow you to calculate a one-kilometre circular radius from a set point to get a full picture of how far you can go on your walks.

For the best results, first change the viewing to the 'map' mode in the upper right corner in order to be able to read the names of the streets. 

Then search for your address in the top left (it won't pinpoint it exactly but you will be able to zoom in, in case you're having trouble locating it).

Next click on 'Draw circle', and from your selected point hold and drag out until the measurement of the radius reaches 1,000 metres.


Android app with GPS warning

The “Wake me there” app for Android is a free app that tells you if you've surpassed the one-kilometre distance by sending you an audio or vibration warning before you reach the perimeter.

It can be downloaded from the PlayStore app on Android mobiles and tablets. You'll have to accept location permissions and choose the GPS alarm, input your address and set a one-kilometre perimeter.

iOS Reminders app

Iphones (iOS 7 and above) come with the Reminders app preinstalled, which allows users to set location-based alerts in a similar way to the app mentioned above.

You’ll have to set a location-based reminder. To do this, open Reminders and create a new item, click on the information ‘I’ button to the right of the item when in the alert and use the 'Remind me at a location' function.

Switch the 'Remind me at a location' toggle on, you will be asked to choose a location or enter an address; choose ‘When I Arrive’ and set the size of the area used to define the alarm. 

 

 

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COVID-19

Spain rules out EU’s advice on compulsory Covid-19 vaccination 

Spain’s Health Ministry said Thursday there will be no mandatory vaccination in the country following the European Commission’s advice to Member States to “think about it” and Germany’s announcement that it will make vaccines compulsory in February.

Spain rules out EU's advice on compulsory Covid-19 vaccination 
A Spanish man being vaccinated poses with a custom-made T-shirt showing Spain's chief epidimiologist Fernando Simón striking a 'Dirty Harry/Clint Eastwood' pose over the words "What part of keep a two-metre distance don't you understand?' Photo: José Jordan

Spain’s Health Minister Carolina Darias on Thursday told journalists Covid-19 vaccines will continue to be voluntary in Spain given the “very high awareness of the population” with regard to the benefits of vaccination.

This follows the words of European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen on Thursday, urging Member States to “think about mandatory vaccination” as more cases of the Omicron variant are detected across Europe. 

READ ALSO: Is Spain proving facts rather than force can convince the unvaccinated?

“I can understand that countries with low vaccine coverage are contemplating this and that Von der Leyen is considering opening up a debate, but in our country the situation is absolutely different,” Darias said at the press conference following her meeting with Spain’s Interterritorial Health Council.

According to the national health minister,  this was also “the general belief” of regional health leaders of each of Spain’s 17 autonomous communities she had just been in discussion with over Christmas Covid measures. 

READ MORE: Spain rules out new restrictions against Omicron variant

Almost 80 percent of Spain’s total population is fully vaccinated against Covid-19, a figure which is around 10 percent higher if looking at those who are eligible for the vaccine (over 12s). 

It has the highest vaccination rate among Europe’s most populous countries.

Germany announced tough new restrictions on Thursday in a bid to contain its fourth wave of Covid-19 aimed largely at the country’s unvaccinated people, with outgoing Chancellor Angela Merkel speaking in favour of compulsory vaccinations, which the German parliament is due to vote on soon.

Austria has also already said it will make Covid-19 vaccines compulsory next February, Belgium is also considering it and Greece on Tuesday said it will make vaccination obligatory for those over 60.

But for Spain, strict Covid-19 vaccination rules have never been on the table, having said from the start that getting the Covid-19 jabs was voluntary. 

There’s also a huge legal implication to imposing such a rule which Spanish courts are unlikely to look on favourably. 

Stricter Covid restrictions and the country’s two states of alarm, the first resulting in a full national lockdown from March to May 2020, have both been deemed unconstitutional by Spain’s Constitutional Court. 

READ ALSO: Could Spain lock down its unvaccinated or make Covid vaccines compulsory?

The Covid-19 health pass to access indoor public spaces was also until recently consistently rejected by regional high courts for breaching fundamental rights, although judges have changed their stance favouring this Covid certificate over old Covid-19 restrictions that affect the whole population.

MAP: Which regions in Spain now require a Covid health pass for daily affairs?

“In Spain what we have to do is to continue vaccinating as we have done until now” Darias added. 

“Spaniards understand that vaccines are not only a right, they are an obligation because we protect others with them”.

What Spanish health authorities are still considering is whether to vaccinate their 5 to 11 year olds after the go-ahead from the European Medicines Agency, with regions such as Madrid claiming they will start vaccinating their young children in December despite there being no official confirmation from Spain’s Vaccine Committee yet.

READ MORE: Will Spain soon vaccinate its children under 12?

Spain’s infection rate continues to rise day by day, jumping 17 points up to 234 cases per 100,000 people on Thursday. There are now also five confirmed cases of the Omicron variant in the country, one through community transmission.

Hospital bed occupancy with Covid patients has also risen slightly nationwide to 3.3 percent, as has ICU Covid occupancy which now stands at 8.4 percent, but the Spanish government insists these figures are “almost three times lower” than during previous waves of the coronavirus pandemic.

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