Total coronavirus deaths in Spain reach 1,350, with infections at 25,000
More than 5,000 hospital beds have been set up at the Ifema convention center in Madrid, while police at checkpoints will be stopping people from traveling
Official figures released at midday on Saturday put the total number of deaths in Spain from the coronavirus pandemic at 1,350, with infections nearly at 25,000. Of these, 1,612 patients were in intensive care, while 2,125 had recovered and had been discharged from hospital.
The Madrid region, which has been the hardest hit in Spain so far by the outbreak, registered 176 deaths in just 24 hours, bringing the total to 804, which is 60% of the total in the country. The region has also seen 1,756 new infections in a day, raising the total to 8,921. Of these 767 patients are in intensive care.
The regions of Aragón and Castilla-La Mancha have both opted to move seniors with the coronavirus together
There were also 14 new deaths in the Basque Country, bringing the total in the northern Spanish region to 85. There have also been 260 new infections registered in the area, bringing the total to 1,725, of whom 648 are currently hospitalized.
The regions of Aragón and Castilla-La Mancha have both opted to move seniors with the coronavirus together, to avoid further contagion in care homes. In Aragón, seniors who do not require hospital treatment will be moved to one of three care homes, one in each of the region’s provinces. Staff in these residences will be treated like essential health personnel, and will be given the same protective materials as hospital staff.
The lockdown in Spain has also had the undesired effect of confining domestic violence victims with their aggressors
The Official Association of Psychologists in Madrid has put a service into action to offer help to families who are grieving for loved ones they have lost to Covid-19. “The death of a loved one is a particularly hard and painful event, one that we normally go through without the need for professional psychological support,” a statement from the association read, adding that in the case of a death from the coronavirus, the pain of losing a loved one is combined with the difficulty of not being able to properly say goodbye.
The lockdown in Spain has also had the undesired effect of confining domestic violence victims with their aggressors, reports Elsa García de Blas. The feminist association Femen warned that these women “are facing two pandemics: Covid-19, and sexist violence.” Abuse, the experts say, is heightened in a context where victims and their assailants cannot leave the house apart from for essential tasks, because there are more hours spent together, with no interruptions from daily routines. “Abusers have a sense of impunity and security, because the lockdown makes it difficult to get out of the relationship or to file a police report,” explained Miguel Lorente, a former government chief in the fight against domestic violence.
On the roads, Spain’s DGT traffic authority on Saturday established a series of checkpoints on freeways leading out of major cities in a bid to stop people trying to reach their second homes in other parts of the country. The number of car journeys has steadily fallen this week as a consequence of the state of alarm in Spain, but there were fears that there would be a spike in journeys as Spaniards tried to reach their second homes – something that could spread the coronavirus to other parts of the country.
Meanwhile, the Interior Ministry has opted to extend the validity of driving licenses that are due to expire during the current state of alarm, for a period of up to 60 days from their end date.
In Madrid, the Ifema convention center has been converted into a temporary field hospital, which will count on 5,500 ordinary hospital and intensive-care beds. An emergency shelter for the homeless has already been set up in Ifema, which is located in the northeast of the country. Two hotels in Madrid have also been converted into hospitals, and will be used to treat coronavirus patients with mild symptoms.
The Spanish Foreign Ministry is trying to manage the return of more than 4,000 Spaniards who have been left stranded abroad due to the coronavirus pandemic. Of these, nearly a thousand managed to get home by Friday night. The Philippines, Peru and Ecuador are among the areas where most Spaniards are located abroad, and where the most efforts are being directed. The Foreign Ministry has encouraged the more than 35,000 Spanish citizens who are currently in the United States, Brazil, Mexico, Cuba, Costa Rica and Thailand to return home as soon as they can.
English version by Simon Hunter.