SHARE
COPY LINK

COVID-19

‘Pressure is easing’: Spain records third daily drop in coronavirus deaths

Spain saw its third consecutive daily decline in the number of people dying from the coronavirus pandemic as the country recorded another 674 fatalities on Sunday.

'Pressure is easing': Spain records third daily drop in coronavirus deaths
Labourers build a field hospital outside the La Fe Hospital to admit patients suffering from the COVID-19 coronavirus in Valencia on April 5, 2020. AFP

 

Empar Loren, a nurse at a hospital in Lerida, Catalonia, added: “The situation is more stable. The number of patients in intensive care is not growing much anymore, and we are starting to discharge quite a few.”

Authorities are beginning to plan for a gradual end to the quarantine in the hope of avoiding a resurgence of the virus.

Health Minister Salvador Illa said one million COVID-19 tests had been sent to regional authorities, and he asked them to map buildings where residents test positive.

“Our basic goal in this phase of winding down is to ensure that anyone presenting symptoms be diagnosed early and placed in isolation,” Sierra said.

She said she was “very seriously” considering a requirement that everyone wear masks when they go out.The health ministry said total deaths were now 12,418, the highest in the world after Italy, since the pandemic emerged in China in December.

The 674 fatalities, which were sharply down on the record 950 recorded on April 2, represented an increase of 5.7 percent over the last 24 hours, compared to a 30 percent leap in one recent day. 

The number of infections rose 4.8 percent to 130,759, indicating a slowdown in the spread from 8.2 percent on April 1 and 14 percent 10 days ago.

“The sense that we're getting from the regions is that the pressure is easing,” said María José Sierra of Spain's health emergency centre.

“It's what we expected after three weeks of distancing measures.”

The number of people declared to have recovered has increased by 11 percent, rising above 38,080.

The authorities say they believe they have stabilised the spread of the virus but have decided to extend until midnight April 25 a strict lockdown imposed on Spain's 46.6 million people since March 14.

jhEmpar Loren, a nurse at a hospital in Lerida, Catalonia, added:”The situation is more stable. The number of patients in intensive care is not growing much anymore, and we are starting to discharge quite a few.”

Authorities are beginning to plan for a gradual end to the quarantine in the hope of avoiding a resurgence of the virus.

Health Minister Salvador Illa said one million COVID-19 tests had been sent to regional authorities, and he asked them to map buildings where residents test positive.

“Our basic goal in this phase of winding down is to ensure that anyone presenting symptoms be diagnosed early and placed in isolation,” Sierra said.

She said she was “very seriously” considering a requirement that everyone wear masks when they go out.

 

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.

COVID-19

Spain rules out EU’s advice on compulsory Covid-19 vaccination 

Spain’s Health Ministry said Thursday there will be no mandatory vaccination in the country following the European Commission’s advice to Member States to “think about it” and Germany’s announcement that it will make vaccines compulsory in February.

Spain rules out EU's advice on compulsory Covid-19 vaccination 
A Spanish man being vaccinated poses with a custom-made T-shirt showing Spain's chief epidimiologist Fernando Simón striking a 'Dirty Harry/Clint Eastwood' pose over the words "What part of keep a two-metre distance don't you understand?' Photo: José Jordan

Spain’s Health Minister Carolina Darias on Thursday told journalists Covid-19 vaccines will continue to be voluntary in Spain given the “very high awareness of the population” with regard to the benefits of vaccination.

This follows the words of European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen on Thursday, urging Member States to “think about mandatory vaccination” as more cases of the Omicron variant are detected across Europe. 

READ ALSO: Is Spain proving facts rather than force can convince the unvaccinated?

“I can understand that countries with low vaccine coverage are contemplating this and that Von der Leyen is considering opening up a debate, but in our country the situation is absolutely different,” Darias said at the press conference following her meeting with Spain’s Interterritorial Health Council.

According to the national health minister,  this was also “the general belief” of regional health leaders of each of Spain’s 17 autonomous communities she had just been in discussion with over Christmas Covid measures. 

READ MORE: Spain rules out new restrictions against Omicron variant

Almost 80 percent of Spain’s total population is fully vaccinated against Covid-19, a figure which is around 10 percent higher if looking at those who are eligible for the vaccine (over 12s). 

It has the highest vaccination rate among Europe’s most populous countries.

Germany announced tough new restrictions on Thursday in a bid to contain its fourth wave of Covid-19 aimed largely at the country’s unvaccinated people, with outgoing Chancellor Angela Merkel speaking in favour of compulsory vaccinations, which the German parliament is due to vote on soon.

Austria has also already said it will make Covid-19 vaccines compulsory next February, Belgium is also considering it and Greece on Tuesday said it will make vaccination obligatory for those over 60.

But for Spain, strict Covid-19 vaccination rules have never been on the table, having said from the start that getting the Covid-19 jabs was voluntary. 

There’s also a huge legal implication to imposing such a rule which Spanish courts are unlikely to look on favourably. 

Stricter Covid restrictions and the country’s two states of alarm, the first resulting in a full national lockdown from March to May 2020, have both been deemed unconstitutional by Spain’s Constitutional Court. 

READ ALSO: Could Spain lock down its unvaccinated or make Covid vaccines compulsory?

The Covid-19 health pass to access indoor public spaces was also until recently consistently rejected by regional high courts for breaching fundamental rights, although judges have changed their stance favouring this Covid certificate over old Covid-19 restrictions that affect the whole population.

MAP: Which regions in Spain now require a Covid health pass for daily affairs?

“In Spain what we have to do is to continue vaccinating as we have done until now” Darias added. 

“Spaniards understand that vaccines are not only a right, they are an obligation because we protect others with them”.

What Spanish health authorities are still considering is whether to vaccinate their 5 to 11 year olds after the go-ahead from the European Medicines Agency, with regions such as Madrid claiming they will start vaccinating their young children in December despite there being no official confirmation from Spain’s Vaccine Committee yet.

READ MORE: Will Spain soon vaccinate its children under 12?

Spain’s infection rate continues to rise day by day, jumping 17 points up to 234 cases per 100,000 people on Thursday. There are now also five confirmed cases of the Omicron variant in the country, one through community transmission.

Hospital bed occupancy with Covid patients has also risen slightly nationwide to 3.3 percent, as has ICU Covid occupancy which now stands at 8.4 percent, but the Spanish government insists these figures are “almost three times lower” than during previous waves of the coronavirus pandemic.

SHOW COMMENTS