The coronavirus pandemic in Europe is showing signs of a second wave and Spain looks to be leading the way with a sharp uptick in cases – especially among young people.
Spanish health ministry figures show that around 25% of new cases are among people aged 15-29.
Young Spaniards are refusing to give up their party lifestyle despite government pleas, officials say.
Despite a stark new social media campaign using the hashtag#EstoNoEsUnJuego (#ThisIsNotAGame) that shows crowded bars alongside images of coffins, young people in Spain are gathering in illegal pop-up raves called “botellónes.”
Several of them have been broken up by police.
In the past few weeks 73 revellers were caught enjoying an illicit party in a Madrid sauna, 100 people were dispersed by police from Valdevaqueros beach near Tarifa, a raid on a warehouse in Barcelona’s port area revealed 160 people at an illegal rave and 300 were caught at a botellón raided in Benimaclet, Valencia.
The government ban on brothels has been widely flouted too, with 75 people being caught in an unlicensed bar and brothel in Madrid just this week.
The Spanish authorities are blaming the sharp rise in the number of cases on young Spaniards’ unstoppable party lifestyles.
The number of confirmed cases is now well over half a million, and with 235 new diagnoses per 100,000 of population in the past 14 days Spain looks to be on the brink of a second wave.
For comparison, France has 126 new diagnoses per 100,000, the UK 37 and Italy – once seen as the worst-affected country in Europe – just 29.
Fernando Simón, who is in charge of Spain’s Covid-19 response, insists to Spain’s young people that “there are alternative ways to have fun without putting anyone at risk,” and Ildefonso Hernández, a professor in public health from Miguel Hernández University in Alicante told the Telegraph: “It’s true that we have more interactive social behaviour than other countries. Almost nothing can be celebrated in Spain unless it is in a large group.”
Spain currently has the ninth-worst casualty figures worldwide, with almost 30,000 lives lost. The UK is currently fifth on the list with 41,712 people confirmed as having died due to coronavirus.