Spain records lowest rate of coronavirus contagion since declaration of state of alarm

The number of fatalities fell to 301, while new infections dropped to 1,308, a figure not seen since March 14

A coronavirus patient is transferred to Puerta de Hierro hospital.
A coronavirus patient is transferred to Puerta de Hierro hospital.Jesús Hellín (Europa Press)
El País

The number of daily coronavirus deaths registered in Spain was 301 on Tuesday, according to the latest figures provided by the Health Ministry. This is a slight fall from Monday, when the number of overnight fatalities was 331.

In recent weeks, an uptick in the numbers has come to be expected on Tuesdays, given that figures tend to be underreported on weekends due to the lack of personnel. But this was not the case today.

What’s more, there was also a fall in the number of new infections. On Tuesday, there were 1,308 new infections, compared to yesterday’s figure of 1,831, which represents a 0.6% rise of the total. This is the lowest figure recorded, in both absolute and relative terms, since the declaration of the state of alarm on March 14.

The number of cases is falling very quickly, as we expected
Fernando Simón, the director of the Health Ministry’s Coordination Center for Health Alerts

The number of new infections only represents coronavirus cases that have been confirmed via PCR tests, which identify people with an active infection at the time of testing. Since Sunday, the government has only reported infections confirmed via this method, and not serological tests, which measure antibodies in the blood. Up until two weeks ago, new cases were only being measured with PCR tests.

But even when compared to previous PCR results, today’s number of new cases is still the lowest in a month and a half.

The total number of infections confirmed via PCR tests is 210,773. If serological tests are counted, that figure is 232,128.

The total death toll since the beginning of the pandemic is 23,822. Health authorities also reported that a total of 102,548 patients have recovered and been discharged from hospital, a daily rise of 1,673.

Speaking at the government’s daily conference on Tuesday, Fernando Simón, the director of the Health Ministry’s Coordination Center for Health Alerts, said the figures were “very positive.” “The number of cases is falling very quickly, as we expected,” he added.

After reaching a peak of 950 fatalities on April 2, the number of daily coronavirus-related deaths began a slow descent. The figures last week remained stable with 288 on Sunday, 378 on Saturday, 367 on Friday, 440 on Thursday and 435 on Wednesday.

OECD ranking error

The Spanish Health Ministry claimed on Monday that Spain had been ranked eighth on the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s (OECD) list of top 10 countries for coronavirus testing. According to this list, Spain had done more diagnostic tests per inhabitant than Germany.

On Monday, Angel Gurría, the secretary general of the OECD, shared the list on Twitter, and shortly afterwards, the Spanish Health Ministry, retweeted the post with the message: “Spain is among the top 10 OECD countries in terms of diagnostic tests.”

But the figures used to reach this conclusion come from different sources and are not entirely comparable.

For this statistic, Spain provided both the number of PCR tests, which are the most reliable, and fast tests, which detect antibodies in the blood, whereas Germany only counted PCR tests.

English version by Melissa Kitson.

More information

Recomendaciones EL PAÍS
Recomendaciones EL PAÍS