spain lockdown party
© Reuters / Susana Vera
People celebrate as the state of emergency decreed by the Spanish Government to prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) gets lifted at Puerta del Sol square in Madrid, Spain, May 9, 2021
Revelers thronged the streets of Spain's cities on Sunday after its government lifted a six-month nightly curfew. Crowds danced, sang, and drank - but regional authorities are already planning on ending the party.

The Spanish government lifted its coronavirus-related state of emergency at midnight on Sunday. The state of emergency allowed the government to ban non-essential travel between regions, and required citizens to stay at home between 11pm and 6am. Spain was recording around 20,000 daily cases of Covid-19 when the curfew was introduced, and although this number peaked at more than 40,000 in January, it has since receded to just over 8,000 on Saturday.

Spaniards wasted no time in celebrating. When midnight hit, people flocked onto the streets across the country, dancing, hugging, and chanting "freedom." Video footage from Madrid's Puerta del Sol captured the celebratory mood.

In Barcelona, revelers drank on the streets and made for the beach. Some wore masks, while others abandoned caution entirely, kissing and dancing together in celebration.

spain lockdown party
© Reuters / Nacho Doce
People gather at the Barcelona beach, as the state of alarm decreed by the Spanish Government to prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is due to end on Sunday, in Barcelona, Spain, May 8, 2021
spain lockdown party
© Reuters / Nacho Doce
A couple kiss as they celebrate on a street in the neighborhood of Born, as the state of emergency decreed by the Spanish Government to prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) gets lifted in Barcelona, Spain, May 9, 2021
For some, the fiesta may be short-lived. Some regional governments are already considering their own restrictions, although it will be up to the courts to decide whether to impose them. Rates of infection and death vary wildly between regions, but the severity of the pandemic in some cases has no bearing on the restrictions planned.

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In Aragon, where the infection rate stands at 297 per 100,000, authorities will seek to extend the curfew in several parts of the region. In the Balearic Islands, where the infection rate is 59 per 100,000, the government will seek to maintain the strict 11pm to 6am curfew.

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The Basque Country is grappling with a much higher infection rate than anywhere else, at 463 per 100,000. However, efforts to maintain the curfew there were struck down by the Basque High Court on Friday. All figures and data were obtained from El Pais.

Along with Italy and France, Spain was hit hard in the initial stages of the pandemic last year. A year later, more than 3.5 million cases have been recorded in the country, along with 78,000 deaths. Ranked by total cases, Spain is the fourth-hardest hit country in Europe, behind France, the UK, and Italy.