Former NC resident living in Spain explains differences in how COVID-19 is being handled

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RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — As the nation starts to talk about how to go about re-opening, some countries are just now starting to do that at a very slow pace.

Those countries include Spain, which, has the second-highest infection rate behind the United States.

Within the past few days, Spain has seen its daily COVID-19 related deaths drop below 500 with a slight increase most recently. This comes after an aggressive stay at home policy.

“We went into full lockdown mode. There was never any talk of social distancing. It was one day things were normal and the next day we weren’t even allowed to leave our house,” said Daniel Vickers.

CBS17’s Russ Bowen spoke to Vickers from his Barcelona apartment. Formerly from North Carolina, he’s been living in Spain for several years.

“You have to remember only a little over 40 years ago this was a dictatorship you know and people are very sensitive. There are older people who get very triggered by some of the scenes of police in the streets asking for paperwork. But, for the most part, I think people are just taking it very seriously and following orders,” Vickers said.

Vickers says getting food, shopping and walking the dog has to be done alone and within 100 yards of his home.

As he showed us with his own video, if you break the rules you’ll be arrested.

When the infection and death rate continued to rise construction sites and factories had to close. Now with infections slowing they are now starting to get back to work helping to get the economy moving.

“As of this week actually they’ve announced I think starting tomorrow children are going to be allowed on short walks with their parents so they haven’t been out of the house in over a month,” Vickers explained.

He says that reopening will occur in gradual phases. If infections increase again it may be scaled back.

“And I think there’s a general sense of hope right now that we’re gonna be coming out of this because we did take it so seriously. I personally have been glad during this time that I’ve been here in Spain because it was taken so seriously. I’ve watched what’s unfolding in the United States and I’ve been afraid actually for my friends and family there because who knows how it will last if everyone’s not doing the same thing and taking it seriously,” he said.

Vickers has a son in the United States and his mother is at a long term care facility in Charlotte.

He has watched the protests in the United States and says he hasn’t seen anything similar in Spain.

“No no no not at all. My sense is people here know that this is for the good. The government isn’t doing this to oppress them they’re doing it actually to help them. I think that’s the general sense. There have been no protests,” Vickers said.

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