CAMINO & COVID19
This is the message to all pilgrims who where walking or planning to walk the Camino de Santiago. The outbreak of Covid-19 and its quick expansion have made it mandatory to take an extraordinary measure: closing the Camino de Santiago.
Now, it’s time to stay at home, take care of ourselves and wait until the situation ends to resume our planning and go back to the Camino with even more eagerness. Meanwhile, we share the current situation and give some tips as expressed by the main jacobean agents.
On the 14th of March, Spain activated the state of alarm until 26th of April. A period of time which, likely, will be extended to May.
This decision implies the closure of borders and businesses, with the exception of those necessary for health reasons, such as supermarkets or pharmacies. All citizens must stay at home, of course, and not go out unless it is urgent, such as grocery shopping or going to the doctor. This situation also affects the Camino de Santiago. All public hostels and hotels, in all Jacobean Routes, are already closed. Not only in Spain, but also in Portugal and Frances, in which the state of alarm is also activated, sharing measures with the Spanish Government.
The hospitaleros aren’t on the Camino, either. Nor will they be for a long time. The Hospitaleros Voluntarios have stated: “We have suspended our 30-year-old commitment to attend albergues and pilgrims during the first 15 days of April, when , with all certainty, the state of alarm will remain active and, therefore, the Camino will be closed. Along with it, the albergues and the freedom of circulation will be reduced”.
The Catedral de Santiago has taken preventive measures, as well. Since 12pm of the 13th of March, the Cathedral has been closed until further notice, following the sanitary instructions for avoiding the spreading of the virus. This measure comes after the first measures for liturgical acts were established, such as not giving peace or substituting the Apostle’s hug for a bow. The Pilgrim’s Office is also closed.
The Federación Española de Asociaciones de Amigos del Camino de Santiago has confirmed that, after these past days movements, there are no pilgrim on the Camino de Santiago. However, in case there is anyone out there, a series of information stands have been habilitated in different points of northern Spain and France.
Furthermore, the Federación, with aim to help those pilgrims in need during these first days of the state of alarm, has activated a service of refuge-albergues to go to until you are able to go home.
Also, for those pilgrim who are having difficulty going back home, the Xunta de Galicia has activated a temporary refuge service in the Monte do Gozo public albergue, in Santiago. Those who are in transit can stay there while they do not have other means to go back home or another accommodation.
Coronavirus and preventive measures
The Covid-19 or coronavirus affects the respiratory system. It’s transmission happens similarly to a common flu: through coughing or sneezing and being in contact with saliva or mucus. The symptoms are similar too: fever, coughing, sore throat and, in some cases, difficulty breathing.
The preventive measures recommended by the Ministerio de Sanidad and the World Health Organization (WHO) are:
- Frequently washing hands with soap and water or with alcohol-based sanitizers.
- Avoiding touching eyes, nose or mouth, main access door for the virus.
- Coughing on a disposable tissue (and throwing it away inmediately) or, if not possible, on our elbow.
We are living an exceptional situation. And, as so, exceptional measures have been taken. Now it is time to comply with them. Staying at home, taking care of ourselves and keeping the jacobean spirit alive. The Camino de Santiago is waiting for us. And we will be able to get back to it.
Article by CaminoconCorreos.
Highly recommended by HOSTAL GAU TXORI: comfortable accommodation, nice and traditional food and a wonderful natural landscape as you pass by Zubiri. We hope you will be able to enjoy it soon again!