The official number of fatalities in Spain related to the coronavirus in the last 24 hours was 567 on Tuesday, a slight rise on yesterday’s figure. The data was supplied by the Spanish Health Ministry.
The number of daily deaths came in at 517 on Monday, 619 on Sunday and 510 on Saturday. It should be noted that figures from around Spain have tended to be underreported around weekends and national holidays. Recent days have seen both, due to the Easter break. As such, in recent weeks an uptick in the figures has been expected on Tuesdays.
A total of 26,672 health workers have contracted the coronavirus since the beginning of the crisis
The number of coronavirus deaths in Spain peaked on April 2, when 950 were registered.
New infections came in at 3,045 on Tuesday, which is a 1.8% rise on the total. This is the lowest new contagion rate seen so far in Spain during the coronavirus crisis.
According to the Health Ministry, there have been a total of 18,065 Covid-19-related deaths in Spain since the epidemic began, with 172,541 registered infections and 67,504 patients who have recovered and have been discharged from hospital.
Speaking at the daily press conference on the coronavirus crisis on Tuesday, Fernando Simón, the director of the Health Ministry’s Coordination Center for Health Alerts, who appeared in person for the first time since overcoming the coronavirus himself, said that the latest figures confirmed the downward trend of the outbreak.
“The evolution [of the outbreak] is heading in a very good direction,” said Simón. But, he warned: “We continue to have a not negligible number of cases, with 3,000 new infections. Most are in isolation, but we don‘t know whether or not the level of transmission is in line with the [overall] fall.”
According to the health expert, “intensive care units are better than they were last week, but remain under a high level of stress.” Simón said that 26,672 health workers have contracted the coronavirus since the beginning of the crisis, but most have returned to work.
On Tuesday, the Spanish government decided to strengthen the public health system by putting “any clinical diagnostic service, center or establishment” at the disposition of Spain’s regional governments, thus speeding up the coronavirus testing process and also avoiding “abusive” prices for the diagnostic process.
One of Spain’s deputy prime ministers, Carmen Calvo, announced via Twitter that she had recovered from the Covid-19 disease and that she would be returning to work.
He superado al #COVID19 y tras la convalecencia me incorporaré a mi trabajo de manera presencial. Gracias a los que me habéis acompañado de una u otra manera. Mi apoyo y solidaridad a todos los que están pasando por estos difíciles momentos porque #EsteVirusLoParamosUnidos— Carmen Calvo (@carmencalvo_) April 14, 2020
Calvo was one of a number of high-profile Spanish politicians to confirm that they had been infected with the coronavirus, including Equality Minister Irene Montero and the head of far-right Vox, Santiago Abascal.
Minimum basic income
Speaking on Spanish TV channel Antena 3 this morning, Social Security Minister José Luis Escrivá discussed the government’s plans to introduce a minimum basic income scheme. The idea had been mooted for a while by Spain’s coalition government, and was being planned in particular to help low-income families. The plan is now being prepared in the context of the coronavirus crisis, which has seen many people lose their jobs and sources of household income.
“We are talking about approximately a million households, but we can’t give a figure yet because it is unknown,” he said with regard to who would benefit from the payments. “I would rather not commit to a date either,” he added. “The priority of the government is to protect the income of those affected,” he said.
Calls for official mourning
The leader of the opposition Popular Party (PP), Pablo Casado, on Monday called on the central government to declare an official state of mourning. Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez “called for one for the 130 victims of the Islamists in [the terror attacks in] France in 2015,” the conservative politician wrote on Twitter.
Pido a Sánchez que decrete luto oficial por los fallecidos por coronavirus. Lo defendió para las 130 víctimas de los islamistas en Francia en 2015. Hoy han fallecido otros 517 españoles, y ya son 17.489 en total. Sus familias no han podido ni despedirles y merecen este homenaje.— Pablo Casado Blanco (@pablocasado_) April 13, 2020
“Today another 517 Spaniards died, a total of 17,489. Their families haven’t been able to say goodbye to them and they deserve this tribute.”
Masks for workers
Nine Spanish regions, including Catalonia and Valencia, returned to work today after a holiday on Monday for Easter. In these areas, the authorities began to distribute masks for those employees who were traveling to their place of work. The two-week “hibernation” of the economy introduced by the Spanish government came to an end this week, sending many non-essential workers who cannot perform their duties from home back to their workplace. The government started the handouts of masks on Monday in those regions, such as Madrid, that had an Easter holiday on Thursday rather than yesterday.
“Playing with history”
Catalan Interior Minister Miquel Buch on Monday accused the central government of “playing with the history of Catalans,” after it sent 1,714,000 masks to the northeastern Spanish region to be distributed among workers who returned to their jobs on Tuesday. For the minister, the number 1714 is a “disastrous figure,” given that the year 1714 was when Barcelona was under siege by Borbón troops.
Despite the coincidence, the central government delegation denied there was any hidden message. A spokesperson from the Health Ministry explained that the figure was based on calculations according to population levels and epidemiological reasons, but did not go into further detail about the final number.
“I want to send a message to the Spanish government,” Buch said on Monday. “Not like this. If whoever comes up with the next figure for masks, tests or whatever, and it is related to 1939 [the year the Spanish Civil War ended and the Franco dictatorship began], we will not allow it. You cannot play with the history of the Catalans.” He also stated that “in politics there are no coincidences.”
The region of Catalonia has been immersed in recent years in an independence drive and its government has so far viewed with hostility the central government’s management of the coronavirus crisis.
English version by Simon Hunter.