Good News Page
With the Coronavirus pandemic currently dominating the news cycle and much of our personal communications, here at Andalucia.com want to bring you the more positive side of the situation in this region of southern Spain.
People in Andalucia, as in all of Spain, have been confined to their homes, apart from leaving the house to buy food and other essentials or to walk their dogs, since 16 March.
But many Andalucians are making good use of their lockdown time, to help in the fight against the virus, and to bring some pleasure to others, as you can read in the stories below.
Face masks are commonly used to stop the virus from spreading.
In the seaside town of Conil de la Frontera (Cadiz), dressmaker Ana Rufino is leading a group of her sewing class students in making face masks to help with the effort in combating the virus.
Their first order came from La Cooperativa Nuestra Señora de la Virtudes in Conil, and since then the town hall, police, old people's homes, and food shops in the town have requested them; San Fernando and Chiclana have also ordered masks, including Hospital Puerta del Mar. Although they are not sanitary masks, they are made from cotton and can be hot-washed and ironed. Ana says that they use a triangle of fabric measuring 20cmx20cm, with an elastic loop on either side to attach to the ears.
On the Costa del Sol, volunteers from another sewing class have requested fabric donations to make masks. The 22 members, from Fuengirola and Mijas, have been making 600 masks a week in their homes, for staff and patients at the Costa del Sol hospital, police and individuals.
Masks may soon become obligatory for everyone. The government has published a guide on how to make your own.
HELPING TO FEED FAMILIES IN NEED
Astarte Diosa, an innovative new vegan organic eyelash company in Marbella, is collaborating with other shops in the town to give away food parcels to those in need (see their Instagram story). Along with greengrocer La Freshquita Fruteria and butcher La Carniceria Gallega, their "Kind Initiative" supplies a box to each family, containing fresh bread, vegetables, fruit, meat, milk, olive oil, rice, sugar, plus baby supplies if appropriate.
MAKING RESPIRATORS AND VISORS
Ventilators, the machines which are so crucial to treating those suffering from Covid-19 if it attacks their respiratory system, are being manufactured here in Andalucia.
The Andalucia Respira ventilator was designed by engineers at the University of Malaga, along with researchers at the Malaga Biomedical Research Institute (IBIMA). It has been tested successfully on patients in the UCI of Antequera Hospital and Virgen de los Nieves Hospital in Granada.
The life-saving machine will be manufactured by Fujitsu in Malaga, as well as by other companies in Seville, Cadiz and Jaen provinces, with around 50 per week being produced. The initial plan is for 300 respirators to be made, with an ultimate goal of 15,000. The basic mechanism of a ventilator is similar to a car's windscreen wipers. Read more here.
In addition, visors are being produced for use in hospitals by Coronavirus Makers, an international open source network which made 350,000 pieces of the protective equipment as of 29 March 2020. Communication is carried out using the Social Media platform Telegram (@coronavirus_makers), with 11 groups in Andalucia. Volunteers order sheets of acetate to be delivered to the "makers", who use 3-D printers to manufacture the equipment, which is then delivered to local hospitals. Read more here.
THANKING THE HEALTH SERVICES
At 8pm every night, people all over Andalucia (and Spain) come out into their balconies, terraces and gardens, to applaud the amazing efforts of the doctors, nurses and other health workers.
PHOTOGRAPHING NATURE FROM INSIDE
Wild Confinement is a collective of seven Spanish wildlife photographers based in Andalucia, Catalonia and Berlin. They are taking photos of nature from their apartment balconies and gardens, working within the limitations imposed by the cuarantena here in Spain, and posting them on Instagram.
The project was started with the intention of posting one image from a photographer per day, although on some days more photos are posted. Images include a wild boar in Catalonia and a parakeet in Barcelona; as well as seagulls, pigeons, blackbirds, blue tits and even snails; you can also see white garlic plants and seascapes. The photos are beautiful studies of nature as seen from confinement; looking at the outside from within.
If you want to take part in the project with own nature photo, you can add the hashtag #wildconfinementfriends - the best photos will be added to their Instagram story.
THE LAUGHING POLICEMEN
As children are obliged to stay indoors - they haven't been allowed outside since the lockdown started on 16 March - the Policia Local in Seville and other towns and cities are making surprise visits to those little ones who are celebrating their birthdays at home without friends and extended family. Parents can request a visit by calling special phone numbers or tweeting using the hashtag #TuCumpleenCasa.
HOTELS AS HOSPITALS AND HEALTHCARE STAFF ACCOMMODATION
Ten hotels in Andalucia will be used to isolate asymptomatic Coronavirus patients, to avoid them infecting others, under an agreement with the Junta de Andalucia - one in each province, except for Seville and Andalucia which will have two each. This is obviously dependent on the arrival of tests for the virus to confirm infections.
In total, 2,719 rooms are currently being offered to health service staff who don't want to go home and risk passing the virus onto their families. Nine more hotels are in reserve.
In addition, two establishments in Seville and La Linea have been converted into medical facilities for elderly care home residents, who are particularly vulnerable to Coronavirus, with two more also available in Malaga and Jaen. Read more here.
The national chain of Parador hotels, which has properties across Andalucia, in Ayamonte, Mazagon, Carmona, Arcos, Cadiz, Ronda, Cordoba, Antequera, Malaga, Nerja, Granada , Mojacar, Ubeda, Cazorla and Jaen, may also be requisitioned for use. Read more here.