How this small town in Spain stayed immune to COVID-19?


How this small town in Spain stayed immune to COVID-19?

During these testing times, when every country across the globe is coping up with lockdowns to contain COVID-19 spread, a hilltop fortress town in Spain remains pristine and untouched by the global pandemic.

Zahara de la Sierra, in southern Spain, has meticulously managed to keep the Coronavirus at bay, by completely cutting itself from the external world. On March 14, when Spain declared a ‘state of alarm’ against the spread of COVID-19, Zahara’s Mayor Santiago Galvan ordered shutting down of four out of five entrances to the fortress town.

Coronavirus originated in the Wuhan province of China, and its ripple effects gave a massive jolt to Europe in less than a month’s time. And in no time, it spread across the world, bringing down the growth engines of the global economy, and eventually let to the World Health Organisation (WHO) rendering it as a global pandemic.

Despite Spain recording more than 1 lakh confirmed cases of COVID-19, its fortress town stays immune to this pandemic. The authorities attribute this to Zahara’s early response to the contagious viral indicators, and its insistence on complete isolation at the right time.

Zahara managed to keep the virus at bay by unanimously agreeing to follow the laid instructions of its Mayor. One third of Zahara’s population is over 65-years-old, and yet nobody has contracted COVID-19 yet. In spite of being a popular tourist destination, Zahara resorted to difficult and firm measures; one of those being, turning away tourists during the initial days when its Mayor announced complete isolation.

How this small town in Spain stayed immune to COVID-19?

Referring to the measures adopted by the authorities, Galvan emphasised that no disinfected vehicle could enter the town of Zahara. For this, the only accessible checkpoint is manned by a single police officer, whereas two men wearing protective gear disinfect the vehicles before they enter the town.

Likewise, streets and other establishments of the town are sanitised bi-weekly by a task force that comprises 10 local people.

Local businesses have shared the onus of ensuring timely delivery of groceries and medical supplies to the residents. For this, only two women have been deployed to ensure that the said commodities are delivered on time, thereby minimizing the number of people moving around the town.

When nations are struggling to contain the spread of Coronavirus, the small town of Zahara shows us that practicing social distancing and staying proactive are the only means to fight this deadly pandemic.

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