Simmons sings in solidarity with Spain
A Bermudian in Spain has played his part in a heart-warming show of solidarity by residents in the city of Valencia with emergency service workers in the front line of the battle against Covid-19
Mikal Simmons, a footballer with a Spanish team, said the city had joined forces for an impromptu concert and show of appreciation every night since the city was locked down as the death toll from the disease mounted.
The 24-year-old, originally from Pembroke, said: “Each night at 8pm we take to our balconies and sing and clap to give our thanks to all of the health workers that are working around the clock, day and night, battling the Covid-19. I look forward to it every night.”
Mr Simmons added: “The effect of the singing from the balcony is a very uplifting vibe and feeling. To see young and old people taking part together in good spirits is great to see and be a part of.
“It's usually some Spanish music followed by someone using a speaker to talk and then a different genre follows for about 15-30 minutes, depending.”
Professional opera singers from all over Spain have joined the grassroots movement and sing from their balconies and post performances on social media.
Hundreds of people have stepped out on balconies at 8pm in France, Belgium and Italy, also to applaud and thank healthcare workers for their exceptional contributions.
Italians have not only started choral singing from balcony to balcony, but also set up groups of musicians where each contributes from their terraces or windows.
The first case of the coronavirus in Spain was confirmed on January 31.
The country's death toll from the epidemic has risen to more than 4,000 since then, more than China, where the virus broke out last December, and Spain is now the second worst-hit nation after Italy.
Mr Simmons said: “Reading the news can scare most people about this virus with good reason because of the rate it is taking effect.”
He added: “There seems to be a certain cheerful spirit that this will pass just as fast as it has come, from everyone around me. Hopefully, there will be a breakthrough soon.”
The Spanish Government imposed a national lockdown to prevent the spread of the virus on March 14 and it is not expected to end until April 11 at the earliest.
Mr Simmons said the original quarantine was scheduled to end today, but was extended for 15 days as the peak for infections was expected to be on Wednesday.
He added: “It was anticipated because of how the news was spreading about Spain not having the virus under control just yet.”
Mr Simmons moved to Valencia last July.
He plays with Vilamarxant CF in the Tercera División, the fourth tier of Spanish football. The league was suspended before the initial national lockdown took effect.
Mr Simmons said: “The team took early precaution with the Covid-19 by telling the players to be very cautious, stock up on food supplies and cleaning supplies and start the social distancing early because there were talks of the quarantine lockdown being used here.
“When the quarantine took place, I was already well prepared for it. Everyone in my neighbourhood has taken this quarantine seriously and is following the rules.”
Mr Simmons is doing his best to keep calm and occupied during the quarantine.
He said he was keeping a level head about it because panic would not help. His main concern is for his home island and he is hoping it does not reach the level that Europe is at.
“Physically, it is a bit restricting because we aren't allowed out on the streets unless you are going for groceries or to the hospital, so I have had to rely on home workouts to try to keep myself busy,” he said.
Mr Simmons, a former winger for PHC Zebras, had considered returning home before a near-global ban on international air travel.
He said: “I knew airports in Europe would be hectic with how fast the virus is spreading, so I figured I would wait out most of my time here.
“My only concern was how long flights will be out of commission, as I am looking to return home once Bermuda opens up its borders, as my season here has been suspended.”