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Coronavirus: Spain ends state of emergency. People and tourists free to move across the country

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Coronavirus: Spain ends state of emergency. People and tourists free to move across the country
Copyright  JM Cuadrado/Pool photo via AP
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Spain ended its state of emergency on Sunday after three months of lockdown amid the coronavirus pandemic.

People can now freely move around the whole country to see relatives and friends for the first time since March 14, when the state of emergency was first declared.

“This freedom that we now have...that we don’t have to justify our journey to see our family and friend...this was something that we were really looking forward to,” 23-year-old Pedro Delgado said at Madrid’s airport.

Lockdown measures have been rolled back gradually and on different scales in different regions.

Border restrictions have also been lifted from Sunday for all European countries, including the UK and those in the Schengen area, with travellers now free to enter Spain without having to quarantine for 14 days.

Portugal is the only exception, as it decided to keep its border with Spain closed until July 1.

Quarantine will still apply to non-Schengen countries excluding the UK.

For those entering Spain on Sunday, there will be "sanitary checks" at the border, as announced by Spain's Minister for Foreign Affairs Arancha Gonzalez, who also urged everyone to "strictly follow health recommendations".

Spaniards will still have to wear face masks indoors and outside when in public spaces if it's impossible to stay 1.5 meters apart.

It is however up to the regional governments to put limits on the maximum number of people allowed in public spaces like beaches, swimming pools, theatres, schools and restaurants.

Speaking to the media on Saturday, prime minister Pedro Sanchez sent his heartfelt thanks to all sectors of society that contributed halting and fighting the virus spread in the country, and praised the spirit of "sacrifice, responsibility and discipline" of the nation.

Spain has been one of the most ravaged countries by the COVID-19 pandemic.

It has recorded over 245,000 cases and more than 28,000 deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center.