COVID-19’s Impact on Spain
With the emergence of the global COVID-19 pandemic, several countries have faced significant economic challenges. One such country is Spain, which experienced its first recorded COVID-19 case in January 2020, and since then has recorded more than 13 million cases.

Large numbers of COVID-19 cases within Spain have caused strict lockdown protocols within the country, in turn slowing Spain’s booming tourism industry and economic development. Spain lost its large influx of tourists due to COVID-19, and it experienced a surge in unemployment levels and a significant decline in Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Here is some information about COVID-19’s impact on Spain.

COVID-19’s Impact on Spain

In March 2020, all 50 provinces of Spain confirmed COVID-19 cases. Accordingly, the Spanish government responded to the spread of the virus by placing the country into lockdown and declaring a state of emergency.

In response to the second wave of infections, Spain subsequently imposed further COVID-19 restrictions. This meant that schools, restaurants and all services that the government deemed non-essential had to close down in an effort to mitigate and control the spread of the virus.

Despite efforts to reduce transmission of the virus, the mortality rate in Spain kept increasing. Since the detection of the first case in Spain, the country has reported around 107,799 deaths from a sum of 12,681,820 cases.

Employment and Standards of Living

Spain’s unemployment rate prior to the pandemic stood at around 14%, whereas by late 2020, it was an estimated 16.2%. COVID-19’s impact on Spain was significant for those already living in poverty. The rise of the global pandemic exposed such individuals to further exacerbated food insecurity and a significant loss of income. As a result, thousands of people in Spain ended up facing economic hardship and an inability to afford adequate amounts of food. According to European Anti Poverty Network, around 380,000 people fell into poverty in 2021. This trend also impacted the educated class of society, significantly affecting economic security among the general Spanish population.

Another report by Human Rights Watch indicated that COVID-19 impacted food security in Spain. Families have been unable to satisfy nutritional support for their kids. According to the report, despite government efforts to alleviate the impact of COVID-19, the economic decline continued to worsen and has meant that families had to skip meals.

Lingering Impact and Recovery

COVID-19’s impact on Spain has undoubtedly exacerbated economic hardship for Spain’s poorest and most vulnerable populations. Spain’s severe material deprivation rate, which measures the degree of poverty reflected in an inability to satisfy basic necessities, climbed to 7% in 2020.

COVID-19’s impact on Spain placed a strain on Spain’s social assistance programs and social security networks, highlighting the complexities and shortcomings of these systems. As Spain’s tourism sector and its overall economy continue to recover from its losses, the war between Russia and Ukraine poses a new threat to Spain’s economy and is likely to further financially challenge Spain’s vulnerable and poor populations.

Despite Spain’s challenges, its government is in the process of implementing an economic recovery plan. The intention of Spain’s recovery plan is to return to the robust economy and unemployment level that Spain had prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. Spain’s governmental plan encompasses 112 investments and 102 reforms. The plan’s reforms aim to promote sustainable economic growth across the country, and a central focus of the plan is building a resilient economy.

– Dylan Priday
Photo: Unsplash