Coronavirus

Spain sees nearly 2,000 new coronavirus cases in a day, with confirmed deaths rising to 491

“We are not ruling out closing the airspace,” said Interior Minister Fernando Grande-Marlaska on Tuesday, after land borders were shut on Monday night

Fernando Simón, the director of the Health Ministry’s Coordination Center for Health Alerts, speaks to the press on Monday.
Fernando Simón, the director of the Health Ministry’s Coordination Center for Health Alerts, speaks to the press on Monday.Borja Puig de la Bellacasa / EL PAÍS

The Spanish health authorities reported on Tuesday that nearly 2,000 new coronavirus infections and 150 deaths had been registered in the country since yesterday. “In total, there have been 11,178 [infections] since the start of the crisis,” explained Fernando Simón, the director of the Health Ministry’s Coordination Center for Health Alerts, at the daily press conference to report on the effects of the ongoing pandemic in Spain.

Madrid continues to be the Spanish region with the highest number of cases: 4,871, 43% of the country total

Simón also reported that there are a total of 491 confirmed deaths in Spain so far related to the Covid-19 disease, while 1,028 patients have recovered from the illness and have been discharged from hospital.

According to the latest figures from Simón, Madrid continues to be the Spanish region with the highest number of cases: 4,871, 43% of the country total. Madrid has also, however, been the area with the highest rate of recoveries from the disease: 19% of cases.

“Observation of the daily growth [of infections] gives the sensation that it is slowing,” Simón explained, warning that this data will have to be observed over a number of days before conclusions can be reached. “Right now there is no specific treatment, nor is there a vaccination [against the coronavirus],” he added.

The Military Emergency Unit was on Tuesday continuing its deployment throughout Spain to assist with the enforcement of the state of alarm measures

Earlier on Tuesday, Interior Minister Fernando Grande-Marlaska said that further restrictions could lay ahead for the transport system. “We are not ruling out closing the airspace,” he said, after Spain’s land borders were shut at midnight last night to everyone apart from residents, goods vehicles, and those citing reasons of force majeure.

Also on Tuesday, the central government agreed to allow people who are in a vulnerable financial position due to the coronavirus crisis to delay the payment of their mortgages. The Cabinet, which was meeting at around midday on Tuesday, is also expected to prohibit the cutting off of basic utilities for non-payment, such as water, gas and electricity.

The Military Emergency Unit was on Tuesday continuing its deployment throughout Spain to assist with the enforcement of the state of alarm measures introduced on Saturday by the Cabinet. A group of 37 personnel and 10 vehicles arrived in the Andalusian city of Granada today, tasked with informing citizens of the measures they must observe, and disinfecting popular areas.

The Spanish chief of the defense staff, Miguel Ángel Villarroya, said at the Tuesday press conference that units from the army and the marines were also being deployed across Spain, and are currently present in 28 Spanish cities. “The Interior Ministry has requested that we disinfect the DGT [traffic authority] centers in a number of cities,” he explained.

The Civil Guard has seized 13,000 face masks in Madrid’s Barajas airport and 1,100 liters of hand-sanitizer gel in Galicia

Laurentino Ceña, the joint operational director of Spain’s Civil Guard, said that there had been “an almost total observance of the instructions” among the Spanish public since the state of alarm was introduced by the Cabinet on Saturday.

Ceña also reported that the Civil Guard had seized 13,000 face masks in Madrid’s Barajas airport and 1,100 liters of hand-sanitizer gel in Galicia.

The joint operational director of the National Police force, José Ángel González, reported on Tuesday that “everything is completely normal” in Spain, warning only of “hoaxes on social networks,” and advising citizens to trust official sources.

González also commented on last night’s closure of Spanish land borders. “The entrance and exit of goods will be guaranteed at all times,” he said. “I want to highlight the good coordination between all security forces, which is avoiding the duplication of work and optimizing measures and efforts.”

Fernando Simón also stated that citizens in Spain were behaving in an “exemplary” fashion when it came to observing the lockdown recommendations. “But we have to be aware that this is going to last at least another 10 or 11 days, and maybe more. Maintaining this level of effort is important.”

Simón went on to explain that until yesterday, coronavirus tests were being carried out on anyone with symptoms. “Now tests are not being carried out on the mild cases, but we are organizing the logistics so that it can be done in the coming days,” he said. “We are aware that early testing is essential to reduce the spread [of infection].”

Simón also explained that coronavirus patients who have mild symptoms and are treated in hospital can continue with their treatment at home. These people could, he added, still infect others and should remain in quarantine for two weeks or until they are tested negative. “This mechanism will help hospitals to deal with the cases that really need it,” he added.

Simón concluded saying that the progress of the pandemic was “as expected.” “It has been a month since the epidemic began in Spain, and we have what we hoped we would have, which is 10% of cases cured,” he added. “It is true that the number of deaths is above what we hoped, but the fact that the first outbreaks took place in senior care homes had a lot to do with that.”

English version by Simon Hunter.