Coronavirus: Spain “nears peak” as deaths decline again


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Media captionInside intensive care in one of the largest hospitals in Spain

Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez said the country was on the verge of surpassing the peak of infections, with the number of deaths from coronavirus having dropped for the second day in a row.

Sánchez also extended the lockout until April 25, saying the restrictions “saved lives.”

The death toll of 809 in one day is the lowest in Spain for a week.

Meanwhile, authorities are trying to obtain masks for all citizens as part of plans to possibly ease the restrictions.

It is currently almost impossible to obtain facial masks in Spain. The government previously said they were useless outside hospitals.

However, opinions on wearing masks seem to be changing in Western countries, with US health officials recommending their use in public on Friday. Austria, the Czech Republic, Israel and Turkey have also made the use of masks compulsory in various public places.

  • Live virus updates from around the world

Globally, more than 60,000 people have died in the pandemic and more than 1.1 million have been infected, according to Johns Hopkins University in the United States.

What is the latest news from Spain?

According to officials, 7,026 people have been diagnosed with the coronavirus in Spain in the past 24 hours, compared to 7,472 on Friday.

A total of 11,744 people died, while the total number of cases – 124,736 – is now higher than in Italy.

Addressing the nation, Sánchez said the two-week lockout extension was necessary to give health services time to recover.

“These are the most difficult days of our lives,” he said.

Once the number of new infections is brought under control, a “gradual return to a new normal” will begin to rebuild the economy, he said. New hygiene, detection and tracing measures would be in place.

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Lockout measures will be in effect until April 25

He also called for European unity to deal with the economic consequences of the pandemic. “Europe must not fail this time,” he said.

“It is clear that the Spanish economy will have to go into debt and we will have to take resources from future generations to fight the pandemic,” he added.

So far, the EU has been unable to agree on a plan to share the debt owed by coronaviruses in the form of special bonds – called coronabonds – despite calls from Spain, the ‘Italy, France and others.

  • Coronavirus epidemic plagues EU unity

The Madrid region was the most affected region in Spain. Nursing homes have experienced large-scale outbreaks that have led to a collapse of the workforce. In two establishments alone, almost 90 deaths related to the crisis have been reported.

Last month, the military was called to assist in retirement homes and found abandoned elderly patients and, in some cases, died in their beds.

  • The gloomy retirement home crisis in Europe
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What’s going on in the rest of the world?

  • The UK recorded a record number of deaths in one day – 708 – but the number of new confirmed cases of coronavirus has dropped. The total number of deaths in hospitals is now 4,313.
  • France reports that 6,507 people have died from the virus, including more than 1,400 in nursing homes. The region most affected is the Grand Est region, near the German border, where two thirds of care homes have been overtaken by the pandemic
  • In the Netherlands, the number of deaths increased from 164 to 1,651. The German health institute Robert Koch designated it as an international risk zone, along with other neighbors, Austria and Switzerland and several others countries, including the United Kingdom.
  • Belgium has seen an increase of 140 deaths in the past 24 hours, bringing the total since the start of the epidemic to 1,283.
  • China observed a three-minute silence in memory of more than 3,000 people who died from coronaviruses in the country. In Wuhan, where the virus was first detected, all traffic lights temporarily turned red
  • Kuwait has registered its first death and a 79-year-old woman has become the first person to die from a coronavirus in Georgia
  • US President Donald Trump has said he would challenge a recommendation from health officials to wear a mask in public, saying he did not want to be seen in a
  • In New York State, ventilators will be removed from some hospitals and redistributed in the most affected regions of the state


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