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Coronavirus in Spain update – 8 March

ALSO READ (latest report): Coronavirus in Spain update – 10 March

Sunday 8 March:

Coronavirus (COVID-19) has now killed more than 3,500 people and infected over 105,000 across 95 countries, since it was first detected at an animal market in the central Chinese city of Wuhan late last year.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) described worldwide virus cases passing the 100,000-mark as a ‘sombre moment’.

As of Sunday evening, there have been a total of 17 deaths from the outbreak in Spain and over 600 people are known to be infected since last Sunday’s figure of over 70.

Italy’s total COVID-19 death count on Sunday is now 366, up from 233 on Saturday, more than any other country outside China. The 57% increase is the steepest daily rise in deaths in Italy since the outbreak came to light. The total number of confirmed cases in the country now stands at 7,375 – up from 5,883 on Saturday. Iran also recorded another 49 deaths – its highest toll for a single 24-hour period.

A quarter of Italy’s population are now also in lockdown after the Italian government took action on Sunday to try and stop further spread of the deadly Coronavirus.

ALSO READ [last Sunday’s report]: Over 70 Coronavirus cases in Spain, as WHO also raises risk alert

The lockdown in Italy will remain in place until 3 April, barring people from entering or leaving vast areas of northern Italy without good reason, according to a decree published online.

The quarantine zones are home to more than 15 million people and include the regions around Venice and Milan. Cinemas, theatres and museums will be closed nationwide.

At 12 noon on Sunday, the Spanish Health Ministry tweeted the confirmed 589 cases of Coronavirus by region, showing 202 cases in Madrid, 102 in the Basque Country, 55 in La Rioja, 49 in Catalonia, 37 in Valencia and 35 in Andalusia.

Fernando Simón, director of the ‘Coordination Centre for Health Alerts and Emergencies’, which reports to Spain’s Health Ministry, confirmed on Friday 6 March that around 90% of those infected in Spain are ‘either imported or have been infected by an imported case’.

The first death in Spain from COVID-19 was a man who died of pneumonia in Valencia on 13 February after returning from Asia – and later tested positively posthumously. The second death was an 82 year man in the Basque Country. The third was a 99-year old woman in Madrid who died at La Paz residence in Madrid. Ten other residents and a nurse at the centre have since tested positive for the virus.

ALSO READ [report from 25 Feb 2020]: Coronavirus detected in Tenerife and Catalonia – via Italy

Salvador Illa (left), Pedro Sánchez (centre) and Fernando Simón meeting on 4 March 2020. (Photo @salvadorilla / Twitter)

On Friday the Madrid regional government ordered 213 private and public senior centres to be closed in a bid to avoid any further spread of Coronavirus. The government justified the measures on the basis that the elderly are more vulnerable to the COVID-19 disease.

An 87-year-old woman with a pre-existing condition became the first Coronavirus fatality in Catalonia, health authorities announced on Friday evening.

The woman had been admitted to the Germans Trias i Pujol Hospital in Badalona, north of Barcelona, on Thursday, in a serious condition, with severe respiratory problems and a fever. Tests confirmed she had COVID-19.

It was also revealed that more than a hundred healthcare professionals are in isolation in Catalonia due to contact with Coronavirus cases, but all health services remain operating as normal.

ALSO READ: Mobile World Congress cancelled due to Coronavirus fears

Pedro Sánchez and Fernando Simón on 4 March 2020. (Pool Moncloa / Borja Puig de la Bellacasa)

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez, accompanied by his Minister for Health, Salvador Illa, visited the Coordination Centre for Health Alerts and Emergencies on Wednesday, and received first-hand information from the centre’s director, Fernando Simón.

Sánchez underlined the need to strengthen cooperation between public authorities for tackling the epidemic and highlighted the obligation to work in a coordinated fashion with the other countries affected, especially in Europe, to curb its spread.

Click here for official up-to-date information about Coronavirus (in Spanish) from the Spanish Health Ministry.

Up-to-date WHO advice and facts (in English) about the Coronavirus epidemic can be found here:

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