SOME 15 per cent of Spain’s population have travelled out of their home area under the state of alarm lockdown, a new study reveals.
National Institute of Statistics figures based on mobile phone location show that in the last month 85 per cent of Spaniards have remained in their home zone however, and this rose to 90 per cent during the fortnight when non-essential economic activity was suspended.
The DataCOVID study analysed the position of 42 million mobile phone lines, or 80 per cent of those functioning in Spain, making the most of a Secretary of State for Digitalisation and Artificial Intelligence analysis of citizens’ typical movements to evaluate how habits have changed as a result of the coronavirus epidemic and the measures imposed to stop Covid-19 from spreading.
The country was divided up into 3,200 different areas of population groups of between 5,000 and 50,000 people to follow how mobile phones moved from the home area, where most time is spent between midnight and 5am, and the destination zone, or where most time is spent between 10am and 4pm.
This showed that on March 16, the first working day after the state of alarm came into force, more than 13 per cent of mobile phone terminals did leave their area of residence, but on April 1 this dropped to just under nine per cent. To put it another way, nine out of 10 Spaniards stayed near home.
The lowest movements recorded were on Palm Sunday, when just 5.65 per cent went out of their area of residence, and March 22, when it was 5.75 per cent.
There are some limitations to the study. It does not take into account movements of less than two hours outside an area of residence and does not discriminate between journeys to get to work or for another reason. But it does give an idea of how daily life has changed in the last month.
In a typical week last November for example nearly 30 per cent of citizens left their area of residence.
The DataCOVID study results tally with the findings of a parallel analysis carried out by the Ministry of Transport, Mobility and Urban Agenda and based on some 13 million mobile phone lines. The latest data relating to April 12 showed nearly 70 per cent of people made no trips, 2.3 per cent made one, 11.3 per cent two and 15.4 per cent more than two.