IT does seem that at long last, people are beginning to realise that unless they take the restrictions surrounding the State of Alarm seriously, then the constraints will not only continue but could get worse.
There appeared to be a general sense of apathy following Christmas and the New Year celebrations which saw people getting out and about more and mixing with friends and family until suddenly the rate of infection spiked.
It was at that time that in reality, people should have been sensible and taken action to comply with the rules that were introduced across Andalucia, but to use a cliché which is appropriate, many seemed to believe it would be ‘not in my back yard’!
There were a significant number of people, both Spanish and expatriate who were more determined to work out ways of getting around the rules than in obeying them and without doubt this is one of the reasons that the spike continued.
Now however, with so many people seeing neighbours, friends and family members catching the virus, the reality of the situation has really been brought home to them and they are now starting to fall in line with others in the community who have obeyed the rules.
Areas that were thought to be safe, such as Gibraltar have been devastated by the sudden spread of coronavirus and from having no fatalities for most of 2020, there have been 79 deaths, mainly people aged 70+ but in a small community of around 30,000 that is an incredibly high number.
With so many cross-border workers making the daily trek across the border, rates also increased in surrounding municipalities such as La Linea de la Concepcion and San Roque but as the Gibraltar Government acted speedily to move back into virtual lockdown, so the number of new infections has finally dropped sufficiently to allow non-essential shops and other businesses to reopen.
This drop should be reflected across the border with neighbouring towns seeing a steady drop as well.
Gibraltar is blessed and cursed as it continued to admit air passengers (including returning college students) from the UK who may well have imported the disease and they had to close local schools due to the number of children who started to test positive.
On the plus side ample stocks of vaccine have been received and it will not be long before the entire population of the Rock is inoculated although some doubters suggest that the number of deaths of the very elderly are due to the vaccine itself.
Moving back into Spain, the news is getting better and in the case of both Marbella and Malaga City there is a slight drop in the number of infections, but the star of the Costa del Sol is Benahavis which is well below the 500 level of infections, meaning that restrictions are at a lower level that most of the other neighbouring towns.
So successful has the municipality been in promoting sensible behaviour that its Local Police are having to be positioned at main road entry points in order to ensure that non-residents don’t enter, although ironically, as there are no petrol stations in the village, many residents are having to pop across the Estepona borders to fill up their cars.
There is a whole swath of towns including Benalmadena, Fuengirola, Mijas and Torremolinos all of which have significant population who are seeing figures drop and residents in those towns who are been complying with regulations are able to enjoy access to cafes, restaurants and all shops.
The Junta de Andalucia wants to see an earlier curfew of 8pm rather than 10pm and also doesn’t appear averse to the implementation of a further lockdown which the Government of Madrid has refused and hopefully if figures on the Costa del Sol improve then neither will be necessary.
One thing has been confirmed and that is that those towns which broke the 1,000 barriers will not be allowed to reopen restaurants or non-essential businesses within 14 days of the implantation of Level 4 Grade 2 even if their figures drop below the 1,000 mark during that time.
There is one fear and that is the number of children who are beginning to be tested positive as carriers even if they are not showing obvious symptoms of illness and parents therefore need to be very alert to what is happening in their schools or clubs, both sporting and dancing, in case diagnosed infections occur.
We all need to be able to return to some semblance of normality but in order to do so it is absolutely imperative that we all work together to observe the rules, no matter how irksome they may be, because if we ignore them, chaos will reign.
The Costa del Sol in particular needs a strong and vibrant tourist trade in order to ensure an influx of foreign money which helps boost the economy and creates work for so many.
This can only be achieved by taking positive action to ensure the health of ourselves and our neighbours is protected.
Thank you for taking the time to read this news article “Spread of infection diminishing in much of the Costa del Sol”.