Into the Outbreak – This week on Foreign Correspondent


A flamenco dancer with no stage, a restauranteur with no customers, a young woman who wouldn’t mind catching COVID and a young doctor pushed to the limit.

These are the people a young Australian reporter encounters when she moves to Spain, the country of her ancestors, in the midst of its worst upheaval since the civil war.

Spain has been hit hard by the pandemic. Over seventy thousand people have died, it’s endured three waves of the virus and many lockdowns.

Australian Lily Mayers wants to find out how the famously sociable Spanish are coping with the crisis.

Filmed over six months, Into the Outbreak paints an intimate portrait of a country and people under pressure, struggling to survive through a once-in-a-lifetime crisis.

In the tourist town of Barcelona, Helena, a successful restauranteur, is fighting to keep her business afloat. She’s had to close down two restaurants, let go of 20 staff and is now relying on charity for her children’s school fees.

“Many businesses like me are going to die. It’s impossible to survive,” she says. “I think it’s time for me to stop fighting and reconsider my business.”

Karime is one of Spain’s most famous flamenco dancers. Now she’s at home with no stage, no audience and little income.

“Never before in my life have I had such a hard time,” she says. “I’ll never forget this time. It’s so tough.”

Mayers meets a group of young people who are happy to risk catching coronavirus so they can keep going out.

“We have to enjoy ourselves, but with a level of consciousness of course, but we have to enjoy our life,” says Elena.

In Madrid, Susana, a young doctor, feels like she’s been in a war zone.

“I cry on the subway, cry with my friends, with my parents,” she says. “We’ve found ourselves so overwhelmed we didn’t want to accept it any longer.”

But despite the hardship, all are managing to adapt and survive.

Karime begins to help other artists in need. Susana starts an industrial campaign to improve doctors’ working conditions. Elena catches COVID. And Helena creates a new business.

“In this terrible pandemic, where people are losing jobs and family members and just everything is going wrong, the Spaniards have inside of them, this amazing way of just …enjoying the moment,” says Helena.

Watch Into the Outbreak on Foreign Correspondent – Tuesday 23 March at 8pm on ABC TV + iview.

You can catch replays on ABC NEWS channel Thursdays at 12:30am, Saturdays at 9:30pm and Sundays at 6:30pm.




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