As the clock struck midnight in Spain, thousands of people poured into the city streets in the early hours of Sunday, celebrating the official end of the local coronavirus curfew.
The 11 p.m. curfew was lifted in 13 of the country’s 17 regions at midnight. Footage from the beaches of Barcelona to the streets of Madrid saw thousands of young people dancing, hugging, and chanting “freedom.”
After a strict stay-at-home order went into effect at the start of the virus pandemic in early 2020, the country’s second state of emergency kicked in last October. It granted people more freedoms but still, late-night curfews restricted social gatherings.
Nationwide, there are 198 cases of COVID-19 per 100,000 population. Some regions are experiencing higher rates, like Navarra, which will maintain restrictions until the spread is controlled.
In Aragon, the cases stand around 297 per 100,000. Authorities are continuing the curfew in that region. In the Balearic Islands, where the infection rate is 59 per 100,000, the government will maintain the curfew.
The highest infection rate is seen in Basque Country, with an infection rate of around 463 per 100,000. However, efforts to maintain the curfew there were scrapped by the Basque High Court on Friday.