CORONAVIRUS

Spain reports 11,291 new coronavirus cases and 162 deaths

The Madrid region continues to face the greatest pressure, with 21% of hospital beds occupied by Covid-19 patients, compared to the national average of 8.6%

Crowds in Madrid, which accounts for more than one third of all new coronavirus cases.
Crowds in Madrid, which accounts for more than one third of all new coronavirus cases.Olmo Calvo / EL PAÍS

The Spanish Health Ministry recorded 11,291 new coronavirus cases and an additional 162 deaths in its official report on Thursday. This brings the total death toll – which only includes those who died after a positive PCR test – to 30,405. Madrid accounted for more than a third (34%) of new Covid-19 cases recorded by Spain’s regions. The daily report did not include figures from the Murcia region, which for the second day in a row experienced “technical difficulties” when reporting its latest coronavirus statistics to the ministry. Catalonia reported the same problems on Tuesday.

The number of hospitalizations continues to rise, with coronavirus patients occupying 8.6% of total hospital beds across Spain. Hospitals in Madrid continue to face the greatest pressure, with 21% of beds occupied by Covid-19 patients, followed by Castilla-La Mancha, with 13%. Asturias (2%), Galicia (3%) and Extremadura (4%) are the Spanish regions with the lowest hospital occupancy rate. According to Thursday’s report, the number of people admitted to hospital with the disease exceeded 10,000. Of that figure, 1,331 of coronavirus patients are in intensive care units (ICUs), 409 of whom are in Madrid.

The 14-day cumulative incidence of the virus in Spain has risen to 260 cases per 100,000 inhabitant, far above the rate in the UK which is at 59 cases

In response to the rising figures, the Madrid regional government is set to announce new restrictions aimed at curbing contagion Friday afternoon. The deputy premier of Madrid, Ignacio Aguado, also called on the central government on Thursday to “get actively involved” in efforts to contain the spread of the coronavirus in the region.

The 14-day cumulative incidence of the virus in Spain has risen to 260 cases per 100,000 inhabitants, which is much higher than the figure in other European countries such as France (167), the United Kingdom (59), Italy (33) and Germany (23), according to the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC). Madrid continues to have the highest incidence rate of Spain’s 17 regions, with 659 cases per 100,000 inhabitants, followed by Navarre (543) and La Rioja (410).

In the education community, the advance of the coronavirus had caused 120 school closures by Friday, while students from a further 565 classrooms across the country had been quarantined.

Speaking at a government press conference on Thursday, Spain’s state secretary for health, Silvia Calzón, said that the public health commission was considering “reducing the Covid-19 quarantine period to 10 or seven days.” Under the current protocol, it must last for 14 days. Calzón explained that reducing the self-isolation period “could help with compliance” by encouraging people not to break quarantine before it comes to an end – a problem Spain’s regions have been facing in recent weeks.

English version by Melissa Kitson.

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