In Spain, a Call to ‘Free Our Children’ From Coronavirus Confinement


The lockdown has likely hit low-income families especially hard, since many live in cramped quarters.

Mafus Rohman and his wife, Samina, share a two-bedroom apartment with their 5-year-old twins, who sleep in their bedroom, and an older family relative who sleeps in the other one. Mr. Rohman runs a bar that he has been forced to shut down during the lockdown, and he said that he couldn’t afford to pay the rent this month.

“They keep asking what’s going on,” Mr. Rohman said at his apartment as the twins, Misha and Maliha, colored pictures nearby. “At least we are all together.”

The children who may be at the most risk of suffering long-term effects from the lockdown, said Mr. Figuera, the psychiatrist, are those who were in therapy before the coronavirus crisis hit.

Children with autism, for example, are given an exemption that allows them to go out with a parent, but some families say they have tried to keep them inside to protect them.

“If I take him out and tell him that no, we can’t go to the park, that no, we can’t go to school, or that he can’t see his grandparents, he’s going to have a meltdown,” said Anais Sanchez of her 8-year-old son, Odaï Abdeldayem, who has autism.

Ms. Sanchez, 32, who was supposed to start a job as a school cook but lost it when the lockdown started, said she had to tell her son that “something bad” was going on outside and that they couldn’t leave their apartment in La Trinitat Nova, one of Barcelona’s poorest neighborhoods.



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