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COVID-19

Spain’s daily coronavirus death rate shoots up again

Spain's daily coronavirus death rate shot up to 743 on Tuesday after falling for four straight days, lifting the total toll to 13,798, the health ministry said.

Spain's daily coronavirus death rate shoots up again
Photo: AFP

The number of new infections in the world's second hardest-hit country after Italy also grew at a faster pace, rising 4.1 percent to 140,510, it added. 

The number of new cases had risen by 3.3 percent on Monday.   

Health ministry officials have said deaths occurring on the weekend are often registered a few days later, which may explain the rise.

However, it emphasised that the rise was due to weekend deaths being tallied and that the overall “downward trend” is continuing.   

The new figure represents a 5.7 percent increase over the 637 deaths recorded on Monday, the lowest number of fatalities since March 24 in the world's second hardest-hit country after Italy in terms of deaths.

The number of new infections also grew at a faster pace, rising 4.1 percent to 140,510, the health ministry said. The number of new cases had risen by 3.3 percent on Monday.

 

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 while Tuesdays bucked that trend and showed an increase of 5,478 cases.

The “slight” rise was due largely to the fact that many deaths and new infections which occur over the weekend are only now being tallied, said Maria Jose Sierra of the health ministry's emergencies coordination unit.

 

“In reality the downward trend is what we continue to observe in the reports we have received in recent days,” she told a daily news conference to discuss the figures.


The overall number of hospitalizations (blue), admittance into ICU (yellow) deaths (red) and recoveries (green) are shown in the chart below, which reveals that the curve of the number of hospital admittances is flattening. Data: Ministry of Health

The percentage increase in the number of new deaths is far lower than the 32.63 percent leap recorded as recently as March 21st.   

Mari Angels Rodriguez, a nurse at the Hospital Josep Trueta hospital in Girona in northeastern Spain, said the volume of work in the intensive care unit had fallen “a lot”.

“The collapse in the first few days was brutal, everyone was coming to emergency services, all the usual causes as well as all the possible cases of COVID-19,” she told AFP.

“What wears me out the most is seeing young and middle aged people, without chronic conditions, who arrive in moderate shape and quickly end up in the intensive care unit (ICU).”

“The other day a 17-year-old girl was admitted to hospital and the next day she was in the ICU. It is full of young people. Psychologically you are not ready for this,” she added.

“It hits you the speed with which a patient gets seriously ill. When they start to get bad, it is like they are drowning, in half an hour they are intubated or are dead.”

 

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The breakdown of cases, hospitalizations, deaths and recoveries is outline in the tweet below:

 

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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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