CORONAVIRUS

Daily coronavirus deaths in Spain fall to 637, the lowest figure since March 24

The number of fatalities has been falling for five days now, after peaking on April 2 when there were 950 deaths in a 24-hour period

Health workers in Barcelona applaud a coronavirus patient after she is discharged from hospital.
Health workers in Barcelona applaud a coronavirus patient after she is discharged from hospital.Albert Garcia / EL PAÍS

There were 637 coronavirus deaths in the last day in Spain, according to figures released on Monday by the Spanish Health Ministry. That’s the lowest daily death toll the country has seen since March 24, when there were 514, and marks the fifth day of falls after the total number of fatalities peaked on April 2, when there were 950 deaths in a 24-hour period.

There were 674 Covid-19-related deaths reported on Sunday, and 809 on Saturday. The steady decrease after eight straight days of more than 800 daily fatalities last week suggests that the confinement measures introduced more than three weeks ago by the government are finally having an effect on the number of victims.

The total number of deaths in Spain since the coronavirus outbreak began is now 13,055, according to the Health Ministry. There have been more than 135,000 registered infections, with 60,000 people hospitalized. Nearly 7,000 people have been admitted to intensive care units so far. A total of 40,000 people have recovered from Covid-19 and have been discharged from hospital.

While the figures for Sunday and Monday offer a glimmer of hope for Spain, which is one of the countries that has been hardest hit by the pandemic, they should be treated with caution given that there has been a slight delay in reporting from Spain’s regions over weekends since the crisis took hold. An uptick may be seen in Tuesday’s figures as a result.

Speaking at the daily government press conference on the coronavirus epidemic in Spain, Dr María José Sierra from the Health Ministry’s Coordination Center for Health Alerts said that the data “confirmed a falling trend for another day. We are observing that the growth rate of the pandemic is falling in nearly all regions. More than 40,000 people have been discharged.”

A total of 6,931 patients have passed through one of Spain’s intensive care units (UCIs) since the crisis began, but the day-on-day rise for this figure was just 70

Sierra reported that the number of hospital and intensive care admissions was following a downward trend, but said that 19,400 health workers had contracted the coronavirus since the beginning of the outbreak, accounting for 14.3% of total infections. Of these, 10% have been hospitalized and 20% have recovered and have been discharged from treatment. “The majority of health professionals are having the progress of their disease monitored from their homes,” she explained.

According to the health expert, the next step is to roll out more testing. “We want to know how the virus is spreading throughout the population,” she explained.

According to the data supplied by the ministry, the growth in the number of deaths with respect to the total is now 5.1%. This figure has been falling in recent days, coming in at 5.7% on Sunday and 7.3% on Saturday. At the beginning of last week, the increases were in excess of 12%.

A total of 6,931 patients have passed through one of Spain’s intensive care units (UCIs) since the crisis began, but the day-on-day rise for this figure was just 70, which is a 1% increase on the total.

Protective masks

Arancha González Laya, Spain’s minister for foreign affairs, said on Monday that a number of Spanish companies are working on the manufacture of protective masks. The government has said in recent days that it is likely that members of the public in Spain will have to wear such masks when they are out of their homes once confinement measures are relaxed. For now, however, most residents of Spain have been unable to purchase such items given the high demand. According to the minister, “given that citizens are in their homes,” priority is being given to health workers in terms of the supply of masks. “When citizens begin to leave confinement, these masks will be available from the public and private sectors,” she said, adding that national production would be complemented with imports.

González Laya also said on Monday that there are still around 3,000 Spanish tourists who are trying to return to Spain given the air-travel restrictions that have been put into place since the coronavirus outbreak. Speaking on TV channel Antena 3, she said that nearly 21,000 Spaniards have already been repatriated, adding that this week would see new flights from Italy and Dublin, from where Spanish minors studying abroad are being sent home.

According to figures from the Foreign Affairs Ministry, more than 500 Spanish tourists returned home this weekend, including 191 Spaniards who landed in Madrid on Sunday morning after being collected from India.

The field hospital that has been installed in Madrid’s Ifema convention center, to ease the pressure on the region’s hospitals, has seen 58% of its patients discharged, according to figures released on Monday. Since the treatment center was opened, it has taken in 2,367 patients, with 1,386 of those released after having recovered from the Covid-19 disease. The medical director of the hospital, Antonio Zapatero, communicated the information via a tweet, calling the figures “good news.” The Ifema hospital has been operational for two weeks now, and has 1,300 beds, with the capacity for 5,500 if necessary. It is currently the biggest hospital in Spain.

English version by Simon Hunter.

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