A key expert warned that the coronavirus pandemic is far from over after Spaniards celebrated the end of a six-month lockdown Sunday with abandon and paid little heed to precautions like masks and social distancing.
In remarks to the national daily El Pais, the president of Spain's Epidemiological Society, Elena Vanessa Martinez, warned there are still many infected people who could pass the virus on.
People celebrate in Barcelona after the state of alarm has been lifted. Photo: Jordi Boixareu/dpa.
She noted that people having more contact could lead to more infections.
"In this situation, I am concerned about the false security signal sent with the end of the emergency and the end of the night curfew," Martinez said.
Most of restrictions expired at midnight, including the nationwide night curfew, which was lifted in most places but remains in force in a several others.
Travel within Spain is also allowed again, as are in-person family visits.
"I can finally visit my son, my daughter-in-law and my grandchildren in Cadiz," said Asuncion, an 82-year-old widow.
Government urged caution
Spain's left-wing government has also urged caution. "The pandemic is not over yet," Deputy Prime Minister Carmen Calvo said on Saturday.
Officials are concerned that the past year could repeat itself: in June the government declared a "new normal" with many restrictions easing.
By November, coronavirus numbers spiked again and the government had to pull the emergency brake and declare the state of emergency, which formed the legal basis for nationwide restrictions.