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News and information from Spain
International Edition - March 2020
Welcome to the March issue of 'The Word on the Street'. This is your monthly news and information from Spain provided by Ábaco Advisers. We hope to keep you in touch with the news, events and just a little bit of gossip.
Coronavirus in Spain: requirements, travelling and government’s measures
What a change!

Well, who would have thought this time last month that March’s newsletter would see Spain in a lock down situation? At the end of February the Coronavirus was a distant threat and now, one month later, it’s changed our lives in a way that we could barely have imagined.

With all of Italy and Spain more or less shut down and many other countries following suit, the content this month has to be focussed on the virus. But not exclusively. We’ve also put together some links, websites and ideas you might want to try wherever you’re currently spending your days.

The following article from Ábaco explains a little of what’s going on in Spain:

Coronavirus in Spain: requirements, travelling and government’s measures
Your property in Spain
Your property in Spain

We know that some of you who don’t live here might be worried about your property and when you will be able to check on it again. This is just to let you know that at the moment all utilities are functioning well in Spain and there is no problem with water, gas or electricity supplies.

The lockdown actually means that there has been a reduction in crime! Of course, this is only a very, very small silver lining. All telecommunications are working and you should still be able to do any transactions that you need to do online. At the time of writing, the banks and most other financial institutions are still providing services, although most of their employees are now based at home.

You should feel reassured that following the proactive approach to driving out the virus, life in Spain under lockdown is calm and orderly.
The elderly
The elderly

We know that some of our clients may have elderly parents or other relatives who live in Spain. Although we can’t speak on an individual basis, we would like to make some general comments about what the situation is like.

The supermarkets are remaining well-stocked and although there have been some shortages in some products (toilet rolls would you believe!) on the whole the shelves are filled up every morning and most items continue to be available throughout the day. At the moment, there is no suggestion that food rationing will be necessary. Spain has plenty of fresh produce available.

Neighbours are looking out for each other and this is across communities. There have been lots of offers of assistance. We would remind anyone elderly, however, to be wary of offers from people they don’t know.

There have been reports of people posing as ‘officials’ knocking on doors. This might be fake news but just in case, it’s important to check ID and ring the necessary department for confirmation. In most cases anyone not legitimate will disappear during the phone call.

The Spanish health service is one of the best in the world and all of us living in Spain are grateful in the knowledge that there is excellent health care out there if we should need it.
Staying positive
Staying positive

Spain, being Spain, most people are looking out for each other and are remaining as positive as possible in the circumstances. There is an awareness that it’s important to protect the vulnerable and the vast majority are abiding by the restrictions.

We have lots of examples of people showing solidarity with each other, thanking the services and taking time to ask after their neighbours. Similar to in Italy, people have been out on their balconies and many good news stories are circulating of people’s generosity and empathy.

We’ve been warned by the prime minister that there is still some way to go. However, having taken the steps that the country has and with some outstanding national services we can feel that everything is being done in our best interests.
Watch out for fake news
Watch out for fake news

As we are more and more reliant on online information it’s worthwhile checking out your sources. In this article from The Conversation they talk about the ‘infodemic’ and how to spot when a story is leading us astray. They provide a useful list of ‘what to look out for’ and ‘who to trust’:

The spreading of fake news can have very serious consequences as this article from the Guardian explains:

It’s often not intentional. Have you shared something sent to you by someone ‘in the know’? This article explains clearly the danger of this and how we’re all susceptible to spreading misinformation. It provides some good advice as to how we can prevent ourselves being the middle men in this circulation of lies:

Our regular contributor, David Ruiz, has written his own take on the situation. David is always reminding us about the dangers of taking too much advice and information from unchecked sources on the internet. He reminds us again. But also, he thanks us and reassures foreigners living in Spain about the important place they have in this country and his gratitude for the contributions that foreigners have made to his life. A reassuring message to hear. Thank you David:

Keep cyber clean too
Keep cyber clean too

It’s not just your hands that need to be kept clean, you need to be careful with your online activity too. As many of us sit staring at our screens we’re looking for interesting sites and items to read and interact with. The longer this goes on the lower our guard becomes and sites and cookies that we might not have rejected before might be accepted without due caution.

This is an interesting article by the World Economic Forum that reminds us we shouldn’t let our guard down:

To keep up with the news
To keep up with the news

Making sure your information is correct can be even more difficult when you are living in or finding out about a foreign country speaking a different language. That’s why we include below some sources of information that we respect that you can access directly in English.

El País in English continues to be one of the best sources of information if you do not speak Spanish. You can follow what’s happening in Spain in English on here:

EL PAÍS in English

Murcia Today is an excellent news source written in English. Obviously its focus is Murcia but it also contains a lot of general news that applies to other parts of the country too. Their recent articles about the virus have been very informative. For a good summary of the pace with which this crisis has unfolded:

Sadly, this is the last free version we can receive as they are now creating a paywall too.

A good and reliable source of articles in English can be found in ‘The Conversation’. There is also a Spanish version of this which is also worth looking at if you can read Spanish:

The Local has for a long time been one of the most interesting sources of information and entertainment for people with an interest in Spain who speak English. Recently, like many papers, it had established a paywall for its articles. At the moment this has been removed in relation to articles about the virus. The Local also has different sites in different countries and it can be interesting to read what’s happening elsewhere from an English-speaking perspective:

The N332 Facebook page provides trustworthy information that keeps up with new regulations. It’s written by English-speaking members of the Guardia Civil with a focus on the Torrevieja area and was originally designed to supply accurate information about driving in Spain.

More recently they have circulated general news about the current circumstances and what we are and aren’t allowed to do. You can also find the release of up-to-date figures and other useful information such as road closures:

N332 Facebook Page

To keep an eye on the statistics you might like to take a glance at Worldometer. It gives a country by country breakdown of the latest figures. Don’t look at this, however, if you panic easily!

Podcasts in EL PAÍS in English
A special plug for ‘¿Qué?

I love this podcast and if you are feeling a little lonely, tired of talking to your partner or pet, then this is an excellent way of keeping in touch with some of the main news stories in English and feeling that you are not on your own.

In the podcast SO4EO9 the editor, Simon Hunter, interviews his wife about a recent personal tragedy. There is also an interesting twist of events as the Spanish correspondent who recently returned to Spain from China is interviewed again. This time, however, it’s Simon Hunter who is in quarantine with the correspondent for China back in the country and out of danger.

They also welcome your input in the form of tweets or emails. It could be something to look forward to each week as well as an opportunity to correspond:

Ideas for you
Ideas for you

Alongside keeping you informed about current events, our newsletter this month aims to give you some diversions too. Apart from the worry of the virus itself is that of managing your days. It’s not easy staying in and your physical and mental health need consideration too.

In this article we outline the different ways in which people might occupy themselves and provide some suggestions. If you have others or would like to join in with suggestions for how to keep spirits up, please let us know!

The Olive Press ideas to stop you losing your mind

The Olive Press also has its list of suggestions for things you can do to keep you entertained. There’s a lot of overlap with our suggestions – but hey they’re all good ideas!:

The Local’s ideas for surviving during quarantine

Again, there’s some overlap but they also have a few new suggestions:


ÁbacoClub is also at your disposal for keeping updated and sharing ideas for getting through the next few weeks:

Spanish conversation workshop

If you are a member of ÁbacoClub then you can continue to enjoy some conversation classes:

Spanish Conversation Workshop

Sofia also has plans to continue the club from her home and you can look forward to some exercise classes and even a cooking class in the future.

A little musical nostalgia
A little musical nostalgia

If you are a fan of old-fashioned musicals you might be interested in this article in The Conversation. ‘Five musicals chosen by a musicologist to keep you going during lockdown’ includes direct links to popular musical such as:
  • Doris Day - Shaking the Blues Away
  • Donald O’Connor and Debbie Reynolds - We have never met
  • Fred and Ginger - Smoke Gets in your Eyes
  • Doris Day - It’s Magic
  • Barbara Streisand - Come back to me
  • Judy Garland - Get Happy
Enjoy and sing-a-long:

Some live music
Some live music

In many areas, local performers and musicians are playing and singing live online. If you were unable to go to your local bar to see them, you may still be able to hear them play. They might even be taking requests. This is just a few examples:
Calendar April
And April?

We know that Spain is in lockdown until at least April 11th. How long restrictions will continue after this, we cannot even begin to speculate. What we do know is that Ábaco will do its best to keep in touch and provide you with information you can trust when you need it.

Stay Safe!

What interests you?
What interests you?
We would welcome any suggestions for future themes you would like us to cover either in the newsletter or in an article on Spain Explained.

Please let us know by email at newsletter@abacoadvisers.com.

Thank you!
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