CORONAVIRUS

Coronavirus incidence holds steady in Spain, despite high rates in regions such as the Basque Country and Madrid

The number of patients in regular hospital beds and ICUs has also fallen this week, while a new record for vaccine doses administered in a day was set

A civil guard is given a Covid-19 vaccine in Valencia in this file photo from March.
A civil guard is given a Covid-19 vaccine in Valencia in this file photo from March.Mònica Torres

Spain’s central Health Ministry reported 10,143 new coronavirus cases on Thursday, and added 137 Covid-19 deaths to the overall total. The 14-day cumulative number of coronavirus cases per 100,000 inhabitants, a key data point used to monitor the progress of the pandemic in the country, held steady at 230 cases for the second day running, having fallen from 235.59 on Monday.

According to yesterday’s report, a total of 3,514,942 official cases of the coronavirus have been detected in Spain since the pandemic began. There are currently 9,787 Covid-19 patients receiving hospital treatment, occupying 7.78% of beds across the country. These figures are down from 10,380 and 8.26%, respectively, in Monday’s report. As for the pressure on intensive care units (ICUs), there are 2,320 critical patients according to Thursday’s report, occupying 23% of beds. These figures have also fallen compared to Monday, from 2,356 and 23.55%, respectively.

The Basque Country continues to be in the worst situation, with a 14-day cumulative number of coronavirus cases per 100,000 inhabitants of 516.68

The overall death toll in Spain from the health crisis now stands at 78,080, although the real figure is likely to be much higher given that many people died during the first wave before they could be tested for the disease.

By region, the Basque Country continues to be in the worst situation, with a 14-day cumulative number of coronavirus cases per 100,000 inhabitants of 516.68. It is followed by Madrid, with 388.12 and Navarre, with 352.54. At the other end of the scale are Valencia, with 44.47, and the Balearic Islands, with 58.90.

In terms of the ongoing vaccination drive, which got off to a slow start at the end of December, the Health Ministry yesterday reported a new record for the number of vaccine doses administered in a day: 481,910 in a 24-hour period earlier this week. In total, according to the ministry, 15,859,772 doses have been administered, with 24.3% of the population having received at least one dose (11,520,146 people) and 9.3% of Spaniards having got both shots (4,413,784 people). The central government is aiming to have vaccinated 70% of the adult population in the country by the end of summer.

Speaking on Thursday, Health Minister Carolina Darias stated that so far there have been no confirmed cases of the coronavirus variant that has been detected in India, although there is one suspected case that is being studied. Speaking at a health commission in the Congress of Deputies on Thursday, she added that the Indian variant has two mutations that could be “associated with greater transmission,” although she added that the available data is not conclusive.

Catalonia

Meanwhile, in the northeastern Catalonia region, the authorities will begin the vaccination of National Police officers and Civil Guards from Monday. The process will start after the regional High Court ordered that the officers in question be immunized in the same proportion as the regional police. The Mossos d’Esquadra, as the Catalan force is known, has seen 80% of its number receive the Covid-19 vaccine, compared to 9.9% of National Police officers and 6.6% of the Civil Guard. The court alleged that there was an “appearance of discrimination” in the way the security forces are being treated in Catalonia, which has in recent years been immersed in a drive for secession from Spain that culminated in a unilateral declaration of independence in late 2017. (An illegal referendum on independence in October of that year saw violent treatment of members of the public by the National Police and the Civil Guard, and there were even clashes and moments of tension between these officers and the Mossos.)

Police officers in Llores protest for equal treatment in the vaccination drive in Catalonia. Sign reads: "Enough of discrimination.”
Police officers in Llores protest for equal treatment in the vaccination drive in Catalonia. Sign reads: "Enough of discrimination.”David Borrat / EFE

The regional government began the vaccination process for National Police and the Civil Guard a month after that of the Mossos d’Esquadra started. Initially, the central government’s delegation in the region did not complain about the process, claiming that the different timescales were due to logistical issues. But several days ago, Health Minister Carolina Darias accused the Catalan government of being the only Spanish region not to vaccinate these officers. Since then, the administrations have been blaming each other for the delays.

The Generalitat, as the Catalan government is known, has called the court ruling “ridiculous” and accused the justice system of interfering in its handling of the pandemic. Police unions such as the SUP, however, have celebrated the decision. In Catalonia, there are around 7,000 active National Police and Civil Guard officers deployed.

With reporting by Rebeca Carranco.

English version by Simon Hunter.

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