This Hilltop Fortress is Proving the Effectiveness of Social Distancing
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9th Dec | 2 min read

Zahara de la Sierra is a fortress town in southern Spain that’s completely cut itself off from the rest of the country. The day that Spain’s “state of alarm” came into effect, the town’s Mayor, Santiago Galván, blocked off four of the five entrances into Zahara de la Sierra, leaving just one way to get in and out. 

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According to worldometers, as of today Spain has over 126,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and close to 12,000 people have passed away in the country from the virus. Zahara de la Sierra, in contrast, has no confirmed cases of COVID-19. 

Blocking off most of the entrances isn’t the only precaution that the town is taking. They have a police officer manning the checkpoint and two men dressed in full protective clothing spraying down every vehicle that passes by with a mix of bleach and water. Additionally, these vehicles are asked to pass through a sort of sheep-dip to ensure that their tires are disinfected as well.

Similarly, inside of the town, every Monday and Thursday at 5:30pm, a group of 10 people walk around to disinfect the streets, plazas, and outsides of homes. 

That’s not all, two women in the town have been appointed by a local business to make grocery and medical deliveries in an effort to reduce the amount of people on the street. A quarter of the town's 1,400 population are people who are 65 and older, thus making them more vulnerable to catching the virus. The delivery service is especially invaluable to them. In addition to providing this, the Zaharilla women’s association also looks after the eldery who can’t cook for themselves and arranges basic repairs for them.

When talking to CNN about the response from the town’s citizens, Auxi Rascon, one of the appointed delivery women, says that "they are very happy, because they don't need to go out, they feel protected and feel confident." She too is very proud of the response she has been seeing from the town saying "they took the right measures at the right moment, and now we are seeing the results."

It’s important to note that while Zahara de la Sierra have seen 0 confirmed cases, nearby towns and villages have seen infections and several deaths caused by coronavirus. This would suggest that these precautions taken by Mayor Galván are working and proof to skeptics that social distancing is the best thing we can all collectively do to save lives.

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