Spain's coronavirus death toll overtakes China's




Spain\
Spain\'s coronavirus death toll overtakes China\'s  

By Sonya Dowsett and Belén Carreño

MADRID (Reuters) - Spain's coronavirus death toll jumped by 738 overnight to exceed that of China, where the disease originated, as the country struggled to cope with an accelerating health crisis and another senior government minister was diagnosed with the virus.

With 3,434 fatalities, Spain now has the second highest number of deaths globally after Italy's 6,820. Nursing homes across the country have been overwhelmed by cases and a skating rink in Madrid has been turned into a makeshift morgue.

Police stood guard on Wednesday outside the rink, normally a popular venue for children's birthday parties, as hearses arrived at the building.

The government said Deputy Prime Minister Carmen Calvo had tested positive for coronavirus - the third cabinet member to be infected - but was doing well.

Broad avenues in Madrid and Barcelona were virtually deserted, as were towns and villages across Spain, while fire engines and tractors sprayed disinfectant to clean streets.

Authorities began to carry out mass testing for public workers in a requisitioned fairground in Madrid, one of the worst-hit regions.

Spanish medical staff, who themselves account for thousands of infected cases, have taken out lawsuits against the government, complaining of the lack of basic protective equipment like masks, scrubs and gloves.

The Spanish army has asked NATO for ventilators, protective gear and testing kits, Armed Forces Chief Miguel Villarroya said on Wednesday.

The government had ordered 432 million euros ($467 million) worth of masks, gloves, testing kits and ventilators to be delivered over the next eight weeks, with the first large batch expected this week, Health Minister Salvador Illa said.

In an example of how companies are changing assembly lines to produce medical products, a shoe factory in northern Spain has switched to making simple protective masks - first for its own personnel and then for distribution.

"Now we are working hard to ... make something a little more sophisticated for it to reach medical use," Basilio Garcia, chief executive of the Callaghan shoe factory, told Reuters.

Spain is on Day 11 of a 15-day nationwide lockdown which is likely to be extended to 30 days. Schools, bars, restaurants and most shops are shuttered. Social gatherings are banned. People are confined to their homes.

"We have achieved a near total reduction in social contact," health emergency chief Fernando Simon told a news conference, adding that Spain was nearing the peak of the epidemic.

The number of coronavirus cases increased by a fifth overnight to 47,610 on Wednesday. The total number could be much higher as the government reported 130,000 sick leaves associated with the virus, encompassing workers who are either infected or in preventive isolation. The number does not include retirees.

Aside from the devastating health impact, the lockdown has dealt a punishing blow to the Spanish economy, with tens of thousands of workers temporarily laid off as sectors like retail, tourism and manufacturing grind to a halt. One of Spain's biggest employers, El Corte Ingles, said it would temporarily lay off 22,000 workers at its department stores.

At Malaga airport in southern Spain, a gateway to the Costa del Sol tourist region, thousands of travellers waited for flights home, many sleeping on seats or on the floor.

The Bank of Spain said on Wednesday that there had been severe disruption on the economy since early March and a sharp contraction in consumer spending.


(Reporting By Clara-Laeila Laudette, Inti Landauro, Jesus Aguado and Belen Carreno; Writing by Sonya Dowsett and Andrei Khalip; editing by Philippa Fletcher, Kirsten Donovan)

COMMENTS

More Related News

Italy, Spain, and France reported declines in daily coronavirus death tolls. Their governments don
Italy, Spain, and France reported declines in daily coronavirus death tolls. Their governments don't plan to lift national lockdowns and social distancing rules anytime soon.

"We are suffering very much. It's a devastating pain," Italy's Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said on Sunday.

Europe sees more signs of hope as Italy
Europe sees more signs of hope as Italy's virus curve falls

Europe saw further signs of hope in the coronavirus outbreak Sunday as Italy's daily death toll was at its lowest in more than two weeks and its infection curve was finally on a downward slope. Angelo Borrelli, the head of Italy's Civil Protection agency on Sunday, said there were 525 deaths in the 24-hour period since Saturday evening. Italy now has a total of 15,887 deaths and nearly 129,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases.

US braces for more virus deaths; Europe hopes crisis peaking
US braces for more virus deaths; Europe hopes crisis peaking
  • World
  • 2020-04-05 05:09:58Z

The U.S. warned of many more coronavirus deaths in the days ahead as the global pandemic muted traditional observances from family grave-cleaning ceremonies in China to Palm Sunday for many Christians. Italy and Spain, the two hardest-hit European nations, expressed hope that the crisis was peaking in their countries, though Italian officials said the emergency is far from over as infections have plateaued but not started to decline. A chaotic scramble for desperately needed medical equipment and protective gear engulfed the United States, prompting intense squabbling between the states and federal government at a moment the nation is facing one of its gravest emergencies.

Spain Virus Cases Pass Italy, Where Daily Deaths Are Falling
Spain Virus Cases Pass Italy, Where Daily Deaths Are Falling

(Bloomberg) -- Spain's Covid-19 cases surpassed Italy as Europe's two main epicenters continue to struggle to curtail the virus, with Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez announcing plans to extend the country's lockdown until April 25.Spain's confirmed cases increased by 7,026 to 124,736 over the past 24 hours, while deaths rose by 809 to 11,744. Total cases are now higher than Italy's 124,632, where the country reported the fewest number of new deaths since March 26. In France, the total number of fatalities rose to 7,560 and the U.K. reported its deadliest day yet with an increase of 708 deaths.The virus has crippled Europe at different times with most countries now in some form of lockdown,...

Death Toll Over 60,000; Cruise Ships Still Sailing: Virus Update
Death Toll Over 60,000; Cruise Ships Still Sailing: Virus Update
  • World
  • 2020-04-04 14:50:11Z

(Bloomberg) -- More than 60,000 people have died globally from Covid-19 and the number of fatalities in the U.K. climbed to more than 4,300. Spain is planning to extend its state of emergency after the number of coronavirus cases surpassed those in Italy.In the U.S., fatalities rose to more than 7,000

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply

Comments

Top News: Latin America