COVID-19: Spain death toll breaches 20,000

April 19, 2020

Madrid: The COVID-19 pandemic continued to hit Europe, as more deaths were registered on Saturday in the continent, especially in those worst-affected countries.

Spain became the second European country to have over 20,000 deaths after Italy, while fatalities in France and Britain passed 19,000 and 15,000 respectively.

Across Europe, over 1.08 million confirmed COVID-19 cases and some 97,200 deaths have been reported so far, according to the latest data from the World Health Organization (WHO), Xinhua reported.

Spanish Health Ministry on Saturday confirmed that over 20,000 people in the country have lost their lives because of COVID-19.

The daily information published by the ministry showed that 565 people died in the 24-hour period until 21:00 hours local time on Friday, bringing the death toll to 20,043.

The same period saw 4,499 new cases, pushing the total infections to 191,726.

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said in a televised press conference later that he would ask the Spanish Parliament to extend the current State of Alarm for a further 15 days until May 9.

Spain imposed the State of Alarm over COVID-19 on March 15, which was extended twice until April 25. Sanchez said he had made the decision after “listening to the experts of the Technical Committee” on the crisis.

“We have done the most difficult things and we have left the most extreme moments of the crisis behind with sacrifice and resilience, but these results are still not enough and still fragile,” he said.

“Despite the enormous progress that we have made, it is not possible for us to lift the confinement and move to a phase of scaling down (the lockdown),” said the prime minister.

Meanwhile, with 482 more COVID-19 deaths in the past 24 hours, Italy, the worst-hit country in Europe, now has a total of 23,227 deaths.

The total number of confirmed cases — combining active infections, fatalities and recoveries — rose to 175,925, an increase of 3,491 against Friday, according to fresh figures from Italy’s Civil Protection Department.

According to the Italian government, the lockdown that went into effect on March 10 in the country will continue until May 3, which will be followed by a so-called “Phase Two,” involving “the gradual resumption of social, economic and productive activities.”

In the UK, which reported 888 new deaths in hospitals, the COVID-19 death toll crossed the 15,000 mark to reach 15,464, the Department of Health and Social Care said Saturday.

Meanwhile, 114,217 people have tested positive for the coronavirus as of Saturday morning, marking a daily increase of 5,526, said the department.

The figures were announced amid growing concerns over a serious shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) for frontline medical staff in hospitals. IANS