In recent years, Spain had managed to turn the corner. The economy was recovering. But then came the coronavirus crisis. The country is now phasing out the strict lockdown measures that were introduced by the government on the 14th of March. Life is returning to normal, but the damage is great for this small buyer of plants and flowers from the Netherlands, reports Nina Berendsen. She is Agricultural Counsellor in Spain.
240,000 infections and more than 27,000 deaths were registered in Spain, a country that’s 12 times larger than the Netherlands with a population of 48 million. Nina Berendsen has all the figures at hand when she’s asked about the impact of the coronavirus. The Spanish healthcare system exploded. Berendsen is aware of the YouTube videos showing coronavirus patients lying on hospital floors because there weren’t any beds available.
When the number of infected cases increased so rapidly in the beginning of March, the government enforced a strict lockdown. Spaniards were only allowed to leave their houses to visit the hospital or to go to the supermarket. The country’s standstill lasted for more than two months and had a huge impact on the economy.
“The impact on the economy is worse in Spain than in the Netherlands”, says Berendsen. “Strict measures have caused great damage; the economy is expected to shrink by 10%. The severe lockdown has made Spain vulnerable. 12% of their GDP is earned through tourism, which has nearly come to a halt.
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