Coronavirus death toll in Spain tops 18,000

Tuesday’s figures released by Spain’s Health Ministry showed a slight rise in the number of daily deaths from the coronavirus which have now topped 18,000 in total.

Coronavirus death toll in Spain tops 18,000
A commuters wears a face masks in the subway in Barcelona at the end of a two week “economic hibernation” period. Photo: AFP

The official figure for the deaths within the last 24 hours across Spain was 567, a slight rise on the 517 recorded on Monday but the daily increase in new cases was the lowest recorded since March 20th.


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.

Spain has now seen 172,541 confirmed cases of covid-19 after 3,045 new infections were recorded on Tuesday – a rise of just 1.8 percent. the smallest increase since the country of around 47 million people imposed a nationwide lockdown on March 14th to curb the spread of the virus.

The good news is that 67,504 patients who tested positive have now recovered have been discharged from hospital.

The number of coronavirus deaths in Spain peaked on April 2, when 950 were registered.


Health authorities say Spain has overcome the peak of the coronavirus, after registering its highest death toll of 950 people on April 2nd.   

“The trend is good, in line with what we have seen in recent weeks,” the health ministry's emergencies coordinator, Fernando Simón, told a press conference to discuss the latest coronavirus figures.

But while the fall in the number of new cases means hospitals in hard-hit regions like Madrid and Barcelona are no longer overflowing with people, “beds in intensive care units remain in a situation of high stress,” he added.

Spain tightened its lockdown on March 30th by freezing all non-essential activities like construction and manufacturing for two weeks — a measure that was lifted on Monday despite warnings from some quarters that removing it too soon could trigger a fresh outbreak.

But shops, bars, restaurants and other businesses considered non-essential remained closed and people are only allowed to leave their homes to work if they can not do their jobs from home, or to buy food or medicine or walk their dog.

Transport Minister Jose Luis Abalos said Monday that about two-thirds of people were strictly following the lockdown and “practically do not go outside at all”.

The lockdown is expected to remain in place at least until April 25th.


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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.