The coronavirus pandemic has caused the Spanish economy to do a complete about-face.
Despite the signs of a slowdown that were clear to see in the second half of 2019, Spain closed the year with solid growth of 2%, and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) was, until a few weeks ago, hopeful that the economy would follow a similar pattern in 2020, with an increase of 1.6%.
The latest World Economic Outlook by the IMF predicts a fall in Spanish GDP of 8% and a sharp rise in the unemployment rate to 20.8%.
In the global financial crisis of 2009, the Spanish economy shrank by 3.6% and during the sovereign debt crisis of 2012, activity fell 2.9%.
The Spanish Economy Ministry said that “the IMF forecasts, in line with those of other organisations, point to an intense fall in activity in 2020 that is in line with the major confinement measures adopted by the Spanish government.
It expects a rebound in the fourth quarter of this year with a significant recovery in 2021, with growth of 4.3%, confirming that it is an intense crisis, but one with a limited duration.”
A makeshift morgue in Madrid that was set up in an ice rink has now been closed down, due to a drop in the number of deaths.
During the 10 days that it was operational, it housed 162 bodies of people who tragically lost their lives to the pandemic.
Another ice rink in the capital that has accommodated 1,145 bodies will continue to act as a morgue for the foreseeable future.
A Spanish lawyer has complained to the European Parliament that the country’s coronavirus lockdown rules are an ‘effective suspension of the right to free movement.’.
Jose Ortega has sent a letter to the Human Rights sub-committee saying restrictions to travel should be relaxed to allow people ‘outdoor activity’ where risks of catching or passing on the coronavirus are not high.
He says: “The government of Spain has illegally introduced a very dangerous and disturbing system of suspension of individual rights that could be described as a de facto transitional dictatorship.”