Quarantined

Barcelona, and indeed all of Spain, is now shut down thanks to the COVID-19 emergency. It is now illegal for people to go out of their homes other than for essential purposes such as food or medical supplies, and the police are actively enforcing the measures and fining or arresting violators.

The result is a city that looks and feels like something out of a 1950’s disaster movie, with all the people gone. Indeed the Corona Virus crisis itself feels like the plot from a budget B-movie, except that this is very real and very inescapable.

Yet the people are not gone, only hidden. Each night at 8pm they reassert their existence with a rowdy chorus of pot-banging, cheers and whistle blowing, all in support of the medical crews that working desperately to stem the growing number of deaths. The lockdown, if effective, should dramatically reduce transmission, although it will be another week before its success or otherwise can be gauged in the statistics.

Barcelona has been relatively calm during this crisis. Although there was some panic buying just before the formal state of emergency was announced, the supermarkets here are not suffering shortages. That said, going to the local Carrefour is a very different experience, as there are measures to enforce social distancing within the store, including place markers on the floor to stop people from standing too close, mandatory disposable gloves to use while shopping, and newly installed perspex screens to isolate checkout staff from customers.

This will be the last photographic blog entry for a while, as there is not a lot that is amenable to film-based rangefinder photography inside a tiny flat. Hopefully, the lockdown measures will be successful and we may see an easing of restrictions within a few weeks. However, it seems unlikely that life as it was before the virus will return for a very long time.

Fort Pienc sports grounds.

Carrer dels Tallers.

News agent on La Rambla, closed due to voluntary isolation.

La Boqueria, Barcelona’s most famous market.

Carrer de la Ciutat.

Restaurant, closed due to COVID-19.

Ciutat Vella.

Plaça de Joan Coromines.

Calle de Xuclà.

Closed for the “holidays”.

All images shot with the Leica M-A and 35mm Summilux on Kodak 400TX at EI1600 and processed in XTOL stock.

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