CORONAVIRUS

Spain sees new rise in daily coronavirus deaths, as total nears 17,000

According to authorities, 16,972 people have died from Covid-19 since the beginning of the outbreak, with 619 fatalities recorded on Sunday

A man wears a protective face mask and gloves in the Spanish city of Pamplona.
A man wears a protective face mask and gloves in the Spanish city of Pamplona.Eduardo Sanz / Europa Press

Spain’s daily death toll from the coronavirus stood at 619 on Sunday, according to figures released by the Health Ministry. This represents a rise from the 510 deaths recorded on Saturday, which was the lowest number of overnight deaths since March 23, when there were 462 fatalities.

The total of coronavirus-related deaths came in at 605 on Friday, 683 on Thursday, and 757 on Wednesday. April 2 saw the peak of fatalities in Spain, with 950 reported by the Spanish health authorities. Last Sunday, the figure was 675.

Total confirmed infections now stand at 166,019, with an extra 4,167 in the last 24 hours

A total of 16,972 people have died in Spain from Covid-19 since the beginning of the outbreak. But it is widely believed that the real figures are higher, as only people who have been tested for the coronavirus are being included in the official tally. This leaves out individuals with symptoms who die in their homes or at senior residences without ever getting tested.

Although the number of daily deaths has risen, the number of new infections has fallen. Total confirmed infections now stand at 166,019, with an extra 4,167 in the last 24 hours – which represents a drop of 663 on Saturday’s figures.

Spanish health officials also reported that a total of 62,391 people have recovered and have been discharged from hospital since the beginning of the outbreak, a day-on-day rise of 3,282.

According to information from the Coordination Center for Health Alerts, the total number of coronavirus cases stands at 46,587 in the Madrid region, 34,027 in Catalonia and 13,698 in Castilla-La Mancha. Madrid has recorded the highest number of total fatalities with 6,278 deaths, followed by Catalonia with 3,442 victims and Castilla-La Mancha where 1,543 people have died since the beginning of the outbreak.

Speaking at the daily government press conference about the coronavirus crisis on Sunday, María José Sierra, from the Health Ministry’s Coordination Center for Health Alerts, said that “early detection and isolation” would be key for when Spain begins to ease the lockdown restrictions. She added that the study of 30,000 families in Spain, aimed at providing the government with a more accurate picture of the spread of the virus, is “almost ready.”

National pact

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez called on regional leaders on Sunday to support a national pact on the coroanvirus recovery effort. During his now weekly video conference calls with the premiers of Spain’s 17 regions, the Socialist Party (PSOE) chief said that this agreement must have the support of all parties, regional and local governments, as well as industry and social agents.

“Everyone, without exception,” he said, according to several sources present at the conference consulted by EL PAÍS. “In this critical moment, it is important that we are together, we are making the proposal from our hearts and in good faith. We don’t see any regional government as an adversary, but rather an ally in the goal of defeating the pandemic,” he told the premiers.

The Spanish government has been pushing for a sweeping cross-party deal to address the crisis, styled after the Moncloa Pacts of 1977 that produced a national socioeconomic recovery program and shored up Spain’s transition to democracy. The leader of the Popular Party (PP), Pablo Casado, however, said last week that the proposal was a “decoy.”

During the conference, regional leaders also expressed differing opinions on the government’s decision to allow some non-essential activity to resume this coming week. Catalan premier Quim Torra described the move as “reckless and imprudent,” while the leader of Cantabria, Miguel Ángel Revilla, from the Cantabria Regional Party (PRC), said it would be counterproductive to “completely stop the economy.”

In a press conference following the discussion with regional leaders on Sunday, Sánchez said the premiers’ response had been “positive, critical, constructive.” The prime minister added that the latest figures on the coronavirus outbreak in Spain did not yet reflect the impact of the suspension of all non-essential activity, explaining “We are far from victory, but these are the first steps.” On the question of lockdown restrictions, Sánchez said “the deescalation [of confinement measures] will be progressive and very cautious.”

Impact on tourism

The Spanish tourism industry has expressed concern it will not recover from the coronavirus until well after the lockdown is lifted. The Easter long weekend typically marks the start of the holiday season in Spain, but hotels, restaurants and the coast remain deserted due to the state of alarm, which was introduced on March 14 in a bid to contain the coronavirus epidemic.

Between March and September, 58.5 million foreign visitors Spain and spent €64.5 billion, according to Spain’s National Statistics Institute (INE). According to sources from the Spanish Confederation of Business Organizations (CEOE), “The losses from these months will not be recovered.”

“In the tourism sector, the crisis will last a long time and will not end with the confinement, given that the government will maintain restrictions about how and when one can travel,” added Juan Ignacio Pulio, professor of economic at Jaén University.

Madrid receives 113 tons of medical supplies

The premier of the Madrid region, Isabel Díez Ayuso, received a shipment of medical supplies from China on Sunday morning. The shipment, which landed on a Boeing Jumbo 747 at Madrid-Barajas airport, contains 113 tons of medical supplies, including gloves, face masks, protective suits and protective glasses, that will be immediately distributed to regional hospitals to support the fight against Covid-19.

English version by Melissa Kitson.

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