Coronavirus infections in Spain rise just 0.27%, the second lowest figure so far

The number of fatalities related to Covid-19 fell to 179 on Saturday, after daily deaths came in above 200 over the last four days

Cyclists ride past Madrid's Cibeles Palace on Saturday.
Cyclists ride past Madrid's Cibeles Palace on Saturday.GABRIEL BOUYS / AFP

The coronavirus data released on Saturday by Spain’s Health Ministry showed a series of falls, after an uptick was registered on Thursday of this week. The number of cases rose just 0.27% in the last 24 hours, the second-lowest increase since the health crisis took hold back in March, and only beaten by the 0.16% figure seen on Monday. The latter percentage, however, was likely influenced by the so-called “weekend effect,” when there is an underreporting of data on Sundays and Mondays due to lower staffing levels in hospitals during the preceding days. A total of 223,578 people have been confirmed via the more reliable PCR tests to have been infected by the coronavirus in Spain, according to the latest figures.

Meanwhile, the number of Covid-19 deaths also returned to levels last seen on Monday, with 179 fatalities registered in the last 24 hours. That’s a 0.68% increase on the total, which now stands at 26,478 deaths in Spain. For the last four days, the daily number of fatalities had exceeded 200.

A total of 133,952 patients have recovered from the coronavirus and have been discharged from hospital, 2,804 of them in the last 24 hours.

In terms of hospitalizations, these rose 0.4% in the last 24 hours, to an overall total of 122,265 during the crisis. Admissions to intensive care units (ICUs) came in at 70, 0.6% up on the previous day, bringing the total to 11,292. The majority of these cases were in Catalonia, with 34, and Madrid, with 15. While these regions are the most populated in Spain, accounting for 30% of the country’s inhabitants, they still weigh heavily in the total figures for the pandemic. The two regions account for 52% of cases, 57% of hospitalizations, 55% of ICU admissions and 53% of coronavirus-related fatalities.

This data was decisive with regard to the Health Ministry’s decision not to accept Madrid’s request to move to Phase 1 of the government’s deescalation plan on Monday. The Catalan government did not request a change of phase, given the ongoing effects of the pandemic in the region.

Downward trend

Speaking at the government’s daily coronavirus press conference, Fernando Simón, the director of the Health Ministry’s Coordination Center for Health Alerts, said that the data was “good with a downward trend. This is data that refers to Friday, this is not a weekend effect,” he continued. “There are 10 regions that have registered fewer than 10 new cases. The number of new cases today is positive.”

Simón also warned against turning the deescalation of confinement measures into a competition. “If we try to turn this into a race,” he said, “we’ll end up where no one wants to be and we will end up with that feared new outbreak for taking the wrong decisions.”

Simón’s comments came this week after the Health Ministry rejected the Madrid government’s request to move to Phase 1 on Monday, a decision that the regional premier, Isabel Díaz Ayuso, admitted on Friday was due to economic reasons rather than medical ones.

Simón said he thought it “reasonable” for Madrid to reapply for a change of stage. “It’s possible that in a week it is ready to move to Phsae 1. It’s a region that has made a huge effort, but like Barcelona, [the coronavirus] has had a huge effect there.”

English version by Simon Hunter.

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