The town is isolated from the world


SPAIN In the middle of the Covid-19 outbreak, Zahara de la Sierra had no reported cases of nCoV.

The town of Zahara de la Sierra was once used as a fortress against invaders. And now, the town again makes a miracle not to record any cases of nCoV infection despite being in the world's largest outbreak. To date, Spain has more than 100,000 infections, 10,000 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.


The town of Zahara de la Sierra is located on a hill, in Cádiz province. Photo: CNN.

On March 14, Mayor Santiago Galván, 40, decided to block 4 of the 5 entrances to the town. The decision was made on the day Spain declared a state of emergency for 2 weeks. "This has been going on for two weeks. I think it's a good sign," the mayor of Galván said.

Currently there is only one way to the town and there are always two people standing guard at the checkpoint. All vehicles entering and leaving the town are sprayed with disinfectant while the duty people always wear protective clothing. Even the wheels are fully sprayed. "No vehicle passes through the checkpoint without being disinfected," Galván said.

The mayor said the measures he introduced could be effective from 20 to 80%. But more important things have helped reassure people. "We try to bring peace to the people. They know that there is no one in and out of town that we do not know."


A group of volunteers and local workers daily clean the streets and spray disinfectants in the town. Photo: CNN.

Looking back, the town features white houses, narrow streets along steep hillsides, a reservoir and olive groves. It is only about an hour drive from the city of Seville, and is a popular destination for travelers around the world. Galván said that in the first days of the blockade they had to refuse many tourists from France and Germany. These tourists, unaware of the town's new blockade policy, still came here and were forced to return.

Every Monday and Thursday at 17:30, a group of 10 people will go out to the streets to spray disinfectant, to clean the streets, squares and outside the houses. One of them is Antonio Atienza, a local farmer. He drives his plow and sprayes disinfectants on the streets.


Every day, Galván still worked hard to follow the news about the disease on television. He hoped that Zahara's siege of this disease would soon pass, in the same way that the town survived the wars in history. Photo: CNN.

A local business employs two women who specialize in delivering groceries, medicines, etc. to reduce the number of people on the street, especially those susceptible to the virus. They work about 11 hours a day, and the number of people ordering them to take home items is increasing.

In addition to the delivery, the town's women's association also supports the elderly who cannot cook for themselves. They bring food to put in front of these people's door. The town also prepares two cars with music and light so that the children during their home isolation can have a balcony and have fun.

The mayor's drastic action was assisted by the local people, especially the elderly. Nearly a quarter of Zahara's residents are over 65 and 30 are in nursing homes. Villages and towns nearby have cases of infection or death.

Auxi Rascon, a resident, described the town government's move as "excellent". She said people are happy. "People do not need to go out. We feel protected and confident. The authorities have taken appropriate and timely measures. Right now, we are seeing that action to bear fruit." .

The town's economy depends on family businesses, who are self-employed. Therefore, the town council used its contingency fund to cover the costs of electricity, water, and taxes for local businesses that were in difficult situation due to Covid-19. There are about 19 bars and restaurants serving tourists that are being supported by the government. According to Galván, it is more than just financial aid, it helps people in Zahara get together. However, this small town still needs help from Madrid or the regional government if the disease situation persists.

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