Are Spain’s restrictions winning the battle to flatten Covid-19 second wave?

Are Spain's restrictions winning the battle to flatten Covid-19 second wave?
Photo: AFP
The latest data shows a positive trend but Spain is still a long way from having the pandemic under control.

The latest data from Spain’s Ministry of Health appears to show that the infection rate is stabilising with most regions reporting a fall in the 14-day cumulative incidence of new cases per 100,000 people.

Spain’s tally of coronavirus cases rose by 38,273 on Monday from Friday’s level, health ministry data reported, representing a significant drop in the number of new cases from a weekend peak of more than 55,000 on November 2nd.

 

But the overall increase brings Spain’s total of infections since the start of the pandemic to 1,496,864, the second highest in Europe after France.


Chart above shows the number of daily cases recorded across Spain since lockdown ended. (Spain's Health Ministry)

Although moving in the right direction – in just a week the rate has fallen from 529.43 new infections per 100,000 – the figure is still eight times the magic number of  60 which is when the EU considers a pandemic under control.

Fernando Simón, Spain’s health emergency chief who leads the Health Ministry press conferences insisted that there was still need for caution.

“We continue to see a slightly declining trend in the number of infections… but it’s still at 470 cases per 100,000. That’s a lot of cases, a lot,”  he said on Monday evening.

Simón said that in 17 out of Spain’s 19 autonomous regions and cities, new infections were either stabilising or declining.

All regions bar Asturias and Cantabria showed a slowdown in the number of new infections.

 

The data also reported 484 fatalities from Covid-19 over the weekend, bringing Spain’s official death toll to 41,253, although the true number is thought to be much higher.

However, the pressure on hospitals has continued to rise, with nearly a third of intensive care beds now occupied by COVID-19 patients, a trend Simon expected to persist for at least a few more days.

Madrid, which lifted restrictions on 10 healthcare zones on Monday, is the only region where the incidence has been consistently decreasing over the last four weeks.

On October 19th, the cumulative number of cases per 100,000 inhabitants was 439.33, whereas on Monday the figure had dropped to 310.52.

Each of Spain's regions have taken their own approach within the guidelines that fall under the State of Alarm declared on October 25th. Some have imposed perimeter restrictions around their region as well confining residents to their own municpalities. Other regions such as Catalonia, Andalusia and Castilla y Leon took the decision to close all bars and restaurants.

Meanwhile, a curfew is in place across the whole of Spain except the Canary Islands and social groups are limited to a maximum of six people. 

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