Spain on Sunday (19 April) recorded 410 fatalities from the novel coronavirus, its lowest daily death toll since 22 March. EURACTIV’s partner EFE reports.
“Today we have 410 deaths, clearly below the 500 we’ve had on average. It offers hope, although we have to be careful,” said Fernando Simón, the head of Spain’s public health emergency department told a press briefing.
“The fatalities, it is sad, they represent people who were infected some time ago,” he added.
Spain now registers a total of 20,453 COVID-19 related deaths since the outbreak began, making it the third-worst country globally in terms of fatalities behind the US and Italy.
When it comes to new infections, they reached 4,218 from Saturday to Sunday, which brings the total of COVID-19 cases to 195,994 as of Sunday (19 April). Meanwhile, 77,357 patients have recovered.
The daily infection rate increased in Spain after the government boosted testing numbers and required regional authorities to hand over more detailed information, including the number of asymptomatic cases, at the end of last week.
According to the Spanish government, this change in criteria could lead to fluctuations in the data in the coming days.
Among those first in line are health workers. Joaquín Díaz Domínguez, the chief surgeon general at one of Madrid’s main hospitals, La Paz, died from coronavirus, city authorities said on Sunday.
Although Simón was unable to confirm how many health workers had died from coronavirus, he nonetheless confirmed that more than 30,600 health workers had contracted the virus.
Extending the lockdown
Spain’s Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez spoke to regional leaders on Sunday (19 April) to discuss a proposal to extend the nation’s lockdown until 9 May, and announced that €14 billion will be distributed across regional governments.
Although he would need the backing of lawmakers in parliament, the Socialist Party leader told the nation in an address late on Saturday that the restrictive measures that have kept much of Spain’s 47 million people housebound since 14 March would be extended into the next month, adding that the country would look into gradually relaxing the rules from mid-May.
And from 27 April onward, children would be allowed to leave the house accompanied by parents, the PM added. Sánchez, who governs with left-wing coalition partners Unidas Podemos, has been pressured to loosen restrictions for children, who have not been able to leave the house for 35 days.
Spain’s lockdown is one of the strictest in Europe and citizens are only allowed to leave to buy food and pharmaceuticals or attend doctor’s appointments.
[Edited by Daniel Eck and Frédéric Simon]