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COVID-19

Spain flattens the curve with coronavirus deaths down for fourth day in a row

Spain saw a fourth consecutive daily drop in the number of coronavirus-related deaths with 637 fatalities recorded over the past 24 hours, official figures showed on Monday.

Spain flattens the curve with coronavirus deaths down for fourth day in a row
Patients at the temporary hospital located at Madrid's Ifema.

The health ministry said the number, the lowest in 13 days, brought the total number of deaths to 13,055, second only to Italy.   

The number of new infections also slowed, rising 3.3 percent to 135,032, down from a rise of 4.8 percent the day before.

The downward trend, and the flattening of the curve seen in the chart above, is apparent when comparing the data from the last four days. 

Sunday had seen an increase of 6,023 confirmed cases over Saturday – which had seen an increase of 7,026 confirmed cases over Friday. 

The figure for Friday was an increase of 7,472 over Thursday.

Monday's figures showed an increase of 4,273 over the day before. 

In all. 59,662 people across Spain have required hospital treatment for coronavirus and there are currently 6,931 still in intensive care. 

But the number of people who have recovered from covid-19 is steadily rising. By Monday 40,437 people have made a full recovery, with 2,382 cases being recorded as cured in the last 24 hours.

Madrid is still the worst hit region where 5,136, from a total 13,055 across the country, have died.

The full breakdown of data from each region is published in the tweet below. 

 

“These figures confirm again this downwards tendency which we have been observing,” said Maria Jose Sierra of the health ministry's emergencies coordination unit.

With deaths and new infections falling the Spanish government is studying how to gradually ease the lockdown imposed on the country of 47 million people on March 14. It has been extended until April 25th.

The government plans to ramp up testing to be able to isolate people who are infected but not showing symptoms and is mulling requiring all people to wear face masks in public to curb the spread of the disease.

Four Spanish firms are currently producing 245,000 coronavirus tests per week, Foreign Minister Arancha Gonzalez Laya said during a television interview on Monday.

“During the coming weeks we will multiply by three the capacity of our companies to supply the market” with tests, she added.   

As for face masks, the minister said “we will probably all have to learn to use them as a prophylactic, at least until there is a vaccine” against Covid-19.

 

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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.

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