As Covid-19 cases rise in Spain, we asked a family with a small baby how it feels to live under quarantine. Alessandra, an Italian graphic designer who lives in Alicante, gave us a peek into life in Spain during the lockdown.
Could you tell us a little about your family?
We are a family of three. My name is Alessandra and I’m originally Italian. My husband Djordy is Dutch and Spanish. Our baby daughter Emma is 9 months old. We have been living in Alicante, Spain for about three and half years.
Where were you when the Coronavirus outbreak started?
We were at home here in Alicante, Spain. I remember talking with my parents about the difference in response and coverage in Italy and Spain. The Italian media was more intense and alarming about it than their Spanish counterparts here.
How did the outbreak affect the area of Spain you live in? What was your experience?
I was mostly worried about my family, especially my parents in Italy. The situation over there was critical and it seemed that the population hadn’t recognized the seriousness yet. Seeing what was happening over there gave me a bit of a heads up so we started to buy food and nappies and whatever we thought would be necessary in a lockdown situation. In terms of the virus spreading, we were just a couple of weeks behind Italy. In hindsight, I feel that perhaps Spain could have started applying preventive measures a little sooner.
Has your childcare, job, and daily schedule changed since the outbreak?
I am a graphic designer and I work from home so I am familiar with remote working but I found myself without childcare as soon as they asked the public to stay at home. Working with a 9-month baby at home isn’t easy but I am lucky my husband is a freelancer so we can manage somehow. The most difficult thing is not being able to go out. We were accustomed to two walks a day. We especially miss seeing our friends and spending time together outdoors.
In terms of grocery shopping, we need to think ahead when buying food. Food delivery has been unpredictable and panic shopping has led to less availability at the supermarkets.
Although our daily routine with Emma has changed a lot and she misses going outside, she seems to enjoy spending the extra time with us. I am struggling with having fresh vegetables and fruit for the whole week so we have had to supplement with premade baby food.
Has your area in Spain been put under lockdown? If so, what has been the public response to the quarantine?
On March 13, Spain started closing schools and suggesting that people avoid group gatherings. The government also announced that they would stop all movement between counties by March 16. Unfortunately, that had the opposite effect, with many people taking the opportunity to pack and travel to either their families’ homes or holiday homes. In Alicante, we did not have any confirmed cases until people from Madrid started to arrive to spend their quarantine near the beach. They had to close down the beaches and parks here because we still had many people ignoring the directives. By the end of that week, we were all quarantined at home and the police were checking the streets as there were still many people not taking it seriously and going out for non-essential reasons.
What type of precautions are you and your family taking?
We are staying at home and we use masks and gloves every time we have to go out. We try to maintain a food supply stock and we go out only to throw the trash. We change our clothes every time we get in from the outside, leaving them in the hall to avoid spreading anything. We wash our hands often and we use hydrogel solutions as well. We are buying food using apps that deliver to your door without any contact and we try to disinfect and air out the house as much as possible.
Do you know anyone who has been affected by the outbreak?
I don’t have any family or friends who have contracted the virus, but friends of our parents have needed hospital care for other reasons and are struggling to stay safe at home.
Anything else you would like to add?
I hope more people will understand the importance of staying home, not just for the virus but for the sake of our hospitals. Our healthcare system does not have the capacity to absorb many patients in intensive care and that means that we are putting ourselves at risk too. Staying home is not just about avoiding the spread of Covid-19 but to limit its damages to the public health system.
As cases continue to rise around the world, more countries have begun lockdown procedures similar to Spain and Italy’s as well. Please leave us a comment and tell us how you have been affected by COVID-19 or if you are currently also living in a country with quarantine measures in place.
Opinions expressed in this article are those of the individual, not of a medical professional or of Bébé Voyage unless specifically indicated to that effect.
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If you enjoyed reading about what Life is Like in Spain During a Lockdown, you may enjoy this interview with a family in Pavia, Italy about how their life has changed as well.