The near lockdown of Spain amid the growing coronavirus pandemic has led some residents to find clever ways to get some fresh air.

Some have taken to going outside to give their pet tortoises for – slow – walks while others have been spotted pretending to go for a stroll with a stuffed animal.

Under the Spanish government’s strict lockdown to combat the COVID-19 virus spread, citizens are only allowed to leave their homes to shop for groceries, go to work, or visit the hospital.


Scores of businesses have closed offices and laid off tens of thousands of staff. Those who still have employment are telecommuting. Transport services have been reduced to a minimum and land borders with France and Portugal have practically closed.

People walk along La Ramblas in Barcelona, Spain, Sunday, March 15, 2020. Spain's government announced Saturday that it is placing tight restrictions on movements and closing restaurants and other establishments in the nation of 46 million people as part of a two-week state of emergency to fight the sharp rise in coronavirus infections. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)

Health authorities revealed Tuesday the number of people in Spain who have tested positive for coronavirus surged past 11,000 and the death toll nearly doubled to 491.


Only China, Italy and Iran have more infections and deaths than Spain. The coronavirus has infected more than 185,000 globally.

Under the new rules, dog owners are also allowed to take their pets for a brief stroll but jogging or going for a walk alone is banned.

The police and army are on the streets to enforce the lockdown. Fines for ignoring the state of emergency order vary from €100 ($110) to €600,000 ($658,000) or one year in prison.

However, some have sought to get around these strict regulations in a cheeky challenge to authority.

A video on social media showed a woman walking down a road with a tortoise attached to a string. Another man was filmed taking a toy duck for a stroll.

Also, some dog owners are renting out their pets so cooped up Spaniards could get out of their homes.

Javier, who lives in Pamplona, in northwestern Spain, offered his dog Rambo for €25, saying “rent a dog and get out of the house without being fined for breaking the quarantine.”


In Valencia, in southeastern Spain, a female dog walker was filmed dressed in a costume that is worn to celebrate the Las Fallas festival, which has been canceled.

Police confronted a group of dog owners who stopped to talk as health authorities have advised against any human contact.

José Luis Martínez Almeida, the mayor of Madrid, called on Spaniards to respect regulations.

“It is logical that you have to walk the dog but it is better that you do it for the minimum time possible,” he told Telemadrid, a local television station.