Philadelphia man discusses experience with COVID-19 lockdown in Spain

Hadas Kuznits
May 08, 2020 - 5:56 pm

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio)  What's it like to experience coronavirus in Spain, where the stay-at-home orders are much more strict than in Philadelphia? 

When Barcelona locked down in early March, Saul Tessler's girlfriend Niharika Mahandru had just flown in from London to visit him. Soon after her flight, she came down with COVID-19, and not long after that, he did as well. 

Both were then sent home to recover, and they registered in the country's Hospital From Home program.

He found the program to be extremely organized, with visits from doctors and ambulance rides, as well as being delivered food — all without being billed. 

"They were sending doctors, they were calling every three hours, everything was delivered to us. We had so many people coming in hazmat suits handing us random bags of medicine or food, we didn't know what to do with it, and the care was amazing,” the former Philadelphian said. 

Neither were allowed to leave Tessler’s apartment, but since the whole country was on lockdown, those who violated the lockdown rule faced severe fines. 

Saul Tessler and girlfriend Niharika Mahandru
Courtesy of Saul Tessler

And because he can’t leave to exercise, he’s been using his roof. 

"I was running back and forth on my roof for the last 48 days and my roof is only 100 feet long,” he said. 

Recently, he said some restrictions have been eased, but there are still guidelines as to when certain people can be outside.

"And everybody cooperates, right? So during these blocks (of time), we had to be in at a certain time and everybody kind of goes back in, and then you see the elderly people come out, and then you see the children starting to run through the streets,” he explained. 

Speaking with his friends in Philadelphia, he's noticed not all lockdowns are created equal.

"You can't leave your apartment unless you have a destination and you've filled the online form out in advance. It's pretty strict here,” he added.

Related: Sign up for KYW Newsradio's daily newsletter for the latest on the coronavirus pandemic across the Philadelphia region.