MADRID – Spain’s COVID-19 cases pass 500,000-mark

Spain became the first EU country to confirm more than half a million COVID-19 cases since the start of the pandemic, putting it in ninth place globally, behind Mexico and South Africa, EFE reported.

The country passed the grisly milestone of over half a million registered coronavirus cases as health authorities added 26,500 to the national tally over the weekend, bringing it to 525,549. Many of the cases were backlogged from the previous week but 2,440 of them were detected in the last 24 hours.

Last week, Spain recorded 237 new COVID-19 deaths with more than 7,800 people in hospital and over 1,000 in ICU, Fernando Simon, the head of the country’s public health response to COVID-19, confirmed.

“There won’t be enough vaccines to administer to everyone immediately, but it’s very likely that by the end of the year there will be some vaccines to progressively begin vaccinating people,” said Simon, adding that immunisations would first be given to select groups of at-risk people.

In a bid to curb the virus from spreading in Madrid, the region’s authorities decided to cap meetings in public spaces and inside and have only 10 people in attendance, apart from specific activities such as weddings and work activities. Bull-fighting spectacles have also been put on hold.

The city of roughly 6.5 million people accounts for around a third of Spain’s daily coronavirus infections, which mayor José Luis Martínez-Almeida has attributed to the population density and airport arrivals, given that Madrid acts as the country’s business hub.

Another lockdown is not something the city’s authorities were contemplating, the mayor confirmed, though it wasn’t something they had ruled out for the future.

A regional lockdown was “always on the table”, said Simon, but added authorities should first monitor the effects of the new measures.

(EUROEFE with EPA)

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