12th August 2020
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Coronavirus in Spain full update (31 March)

Report updated in Spain at 18.30h on 31 March.

Official figures released by the Spanish Health Ministry at 11.40am on Tuesday 31 March confirmed 94,417 known cases of Coronavirus (Covid-19) in Spain, 9,222 more than yesterday. Today’s rise in total confirmed cases marks an 11% day-on-day increase, compared to an 8.1% and 9% rise over the past two days. The rise in figures could also be due to increased testing.

8,189 people have died from the pandemic (up by 849 from yesterday – the worst figure to date for a 24 hour period in Spain).

Monday’s figure in Spain was a rise of 812 deaths compared to Sunday, and Sunday’s figure was a rise of 838 deaths compared to Saturday. Monday had also seen fewer people testing positive for Coronavirus – 6,398 new cases on Monday compared to 6,549 on Sunday.

There are 5,607 people in intensive care. 19,259 people have now made a full recovery, which is 2,479 more than yesterday.

Coronavirus in Spain
Official figures for 31 March 2020.

Of the official figures announced, 27,509 confirmed cases are known to be in the Madrid region, and where 3,603 have died (from the total 8,189 across the country).

There are now 18,773 cases in Catalonia (1,672 deaths), 6,320 in the Basque Country (325 deaths), 5,818 in Andalusia (248), 6,424 in Castilla La Mancha (708) and 5,508 in Valencia (339).

Figures for those infected with Coronavirus in other regions are as follows: Aragón 2,272 (138 deaths), Asturias 1,236 (55 deaths), Balearic Islands 1,069 (42), Canary Islands 1,262 (55), Cantabria 1,171 (37), Castilla y León 6,211 (516), Ceuta 34 (1), Extremadura 1,628 (133), Galicia 4,039 (84), Melilla 54 (1), Murcia 974 (34), Navarra 2,305 (113) and La Rioja 1,810 (85).

ALSO READ: Coronavirus in Spain full update (30 March)

Flags being lowered half-mast in Madrid
Flags being lowered half-mast in Madrid on 30 March 2020, for a minute’s silence for the victims of Coronavirus to date. (Photo courtesy of Isabel Díaz Ayuso, president of the Comunidad de Madrid / Twitter @IdiazAyuso)

GLOBAL OVERVIEW

Lockdowns to try and stop the Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic continue to extend globally, with the death toll in the USA now also over 3,000, with 163,000 known infections. A US military medical ship has arrived in New York to provide a further 1,000 hospital beds and relieve pressure on the city’s healthcare system. A field hospital is also being set up in Manhattan’s Central Park.

The number of confirmed Coronavirus cases around the world has risen above 784,000, with 413,000 of those in Europe.

After weeks of a strict national lockdown in Italy, signs are emerging that the actions taken could finally be slowing the spread of the disease. Whilst the country’s death toll grew by 812 in 24 hours to 11,591, the number of infections climbed just 4.1%.

The lockdowns are causing hardship across the world but also now in impoverished cities in Africa and Asia. Africa’s biggest city, Lagos, started a two-week lockdown from Monday for its 20 million people. Zimbabwe also began enforcing a three-week lockdown.

ALSO READ: Spain publishes list of hotels that will remain open

Healthcare workers at IFEMA in Madrid
Healthcare workers at IFEMA in Madrid. The photo was tweeted by the president of the Comunidad de Madrid on 31 March 2020, with the positive news that 9,300 patients have already been given the all clear in Madrid. (Twitter / @IdiazAyuso)

CORONAVIRUS in SPAIN

As reported yesterday, Tuesday is the first full official day where all non-essential workers in Spain must now also remain at home to ease the strain on the country’s healthcare system, and particularly the intensive care facilities.

Confirmed cases of Coronavirus in Spain are ahead of China since the crisis began.

Spain has also currently banned funeral ceremonies, and ordered that no more than three people can attend burials of family or relatives.

With undertakers in Madrid also overwhelmed, the government has authorised the army’s involvement in the collection and transport of bodies for the duration of the state of alarm. A new morgue already opened last week at the Palacio de Hielo (Ice Palace) shopping centre in Madrid.

A second temporary morgue is to be set up in an unused public building near Madrid airport.

As Fernando Simón, director of the Spanish Health Ministry’s Coordination Centre for Health Alerts, has now tested positive for Coronavirus, the spokeswoman for the health department is María José Sierra. During the press conference on Tuesday morning, Simón appeared on video from his home where he is self-isolating.

María José Sierra said that the rate of growth for Coronavirus cases in Spain was slowing down ‘from 20% to 12%’ – and the rise in Tuesday’s data was because it included a ‘weekend cluster’ only reported on Monday night.

‘It’s true that today we have a slight increase in the number of cases,’ said Sierra – but the downward trend ‘is continuing’, she insisted.

Spain is now on day 18 of what will be at least a four-week lockdown, and the country has been seeking to quickly increase the testing. It is currently sourcing testing kits from around the world in order to test 50,000 people per day, up from the current 20,000.

It has also been ordering millions of euros worth of medical supplies to support its healthcare system, on the brink of collapse following the massive influx of patients, as well as a growing number of medical staff testing positive with the virus.

ALSO READ: Animal rights NGO starts petition against possible state aid for cancelled bullfights

NEW MEASURES TO EASE ECONOMIC IMPACT 

The Spanish government on Tuesday approved a package of economic and social measures to help ease the economic impact of the Coronavirus crisis. The measures were announced at an afternoon press briefing by government spokeswoman María Jesús Montero, promising that the country would overcome the crisis and ‘return to normality on a progressive basis’.

The second deputy prime minister of Spain, Pablo Iglesias, leader of the Podemos group that forms a coalition government with the PSOE socialist party of prime minister Pedro Sánchez, was also present at the press briefing.

Measures announced today include those who are self-employed being allowed to suspend their social security payments for six months, with no interest penalties incurred.

Iglesias announced  a series of measures to help tenants affected by the Coronavirus crisis, which includes a six-month freeze on any evictions for tenants in vulnerable situations.

The new decree also states that tenants of properties belonging to banks, investment funds, or large rental companies could be entitled to up to 50% debt relief, or a restructuring of debt to pay back over three years.

Those renting from small landlords – about 90-95% of the total – will be able to apply for microcredits: very small, commission-free, 0% loans from the public bank, the Official Credit Institute (ICO). These loans will have to be paid back within six years, with the possibility of a four-year extension.

Those who cannot afford to get the microcredit will be entitled to apply for government support towards their rent, for up to 900 euros per month.

Property rental contracts that are due to expire will be extended for six months from the end of the current state of alarm.

The government also approved a wider mortgage holiday for the self-employed who have no income due to the state of alarm. The measure includes delayed payment on mortgages for commercial premises and offices for the self-employed. The government had already offered a mortgage freeze for employees whose income had fallen due to the crisis or if they had been made unemployed.

It was also announced that utilities such as water, electricity and gas would be guaranteed during this crisis period, and that no one in Spain would see any of those services cut off. Further measures approved include new social benefits for anyone who has been left in a vulnerable situation due to losing their job or seeing their income reduced.

Temporary workers whose contracts have been terminated will receive a 440 euro payment, and any house cleaners already signed up to Spain’s social security system ‘would also receive a payment, and cannot be forgotten’ said Pablo Iglesias.

JAILED CATALAN LEADERS

Two of the Catalan leaders who are in prison for their role in the 2017 Catalan independence bid, have called on Spain’s Constitutional Court to suspend the prison sentences they were given.

Former Catalan vice president Oriol Junqueras and former minister Raül Romeva asked the high court for an ‘urgent’ resolution to the case. All of the nine jailed Catalan leaders had already been granted leave before the Coronavirus outbreak – but the confinement restrictions across Spain mean that all prison leave has also been suspended.

Junqueras and Romeva argue that keeping them in prison during the Covid-19 pandemic puts them at risk and ‘seriously affects’ their basic rights. In their appeal, they also argue that given the current state of alarm in Spain, there is no risk of them fleeing abroad.

Click here for all articles and updates the Catalan Trial, verdicts and sentencing

Another jailed leader, activist Jordi Cuixart, made a similar appeal to the Constitutional Court last week, asking that he be confined to his home as long as the health crisis lasts.

Early on Tuesday afternoon the Spanish Supreme Court issued a brief statement warning that allowing the jailed independence leaders home during the confinement period would constitute the crime of ‘breach of official duty’.

Below are the numbers to call for each region of Spain for information and assistance in the event of possible cases of Coronavirus – as issued by the Spanish health authorities.

Numbers to call
The numbers to call for each region of Spain.

Click here for further information (in Spanish) regarding Coronavirus from the Spanish Health Ministry.

Up-to-date WHO advice and facts (in English) about the Coronavirus epidemic can be found here: www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/technical-guidance.

Our previous reports on Coronavirus in Spain:

ALSO READ: Coronavirus in Spain full update (30 March)

ALSO READ: Coronavirus in Spain full update (29 March)

ALSO READ: Coronavirus in Spain full update (28 March)

ALSO READ: Coronavirus in Spain full update (27 March)

ALSO READ: Coronavirus in Spain full update (26 March)

ALSO READ: Animal rights NGO starts petition against possible state aid for cancelled bullfights

ALSO READ: Spain publishes list of hotels that will remain open

ALSO READ: Coronavirus in Spain full update (25 March)

ALSO READ: Coronavirus in Spain full update (24 March)

ALSO READ: Video of boy training as goalkeeper in isolation goes viral

ALSO READ: The new restrictions at Spain’s airports, ports and land borders

ALSO READ: Coronavirus in Spain full update (23 March)

ALSO READ: Madrid starts receiving patients at IFEMA exhibition centre ‘hospital’

ALSO READ: Confirmed: lockdown extended until at least 11 April

ALSO READ: Coronavirus in Spain full update (22 March)

ALSO READ: Walking a goat or a Vietnamese pig is not allowed

ALSO READ: Coronavirus in Spain – full advice for British travellers seeking to return to the UK

ALSO READ: Coronavirus in Spain full update (21 March)

ALSO READ: Coronavirus in Spain full update (20 March)

ALSO READ: ‘This virus we will stop together’ – video 

ALSO READ: Coronavirus in Spain full update (19 March)

ALSO READ: Despite lockdown, Spaniards applaud health workers from balconies every evening

Editor’s note: 

At Spain in English we’re always keen to also publish positive stories and features about life in Spain – not just the current news. With all cultural and sporting events currently on hold, as well as travel and gastronomic excursions, we welcome on-going contributions from all of you who’d like to send us articles for publication. Although we are unable to currently pay for contributions, we will certainly credit you and share the articles across our social media network (if of interest) – and/or also link to your own blogs or other sites. We currently welcome upbeat, positive and fun articles – perhaps how you’re coping with the ‘lockdown’ in your own area of Spain – or how your community is responding, or recommendations of help to others. We have a dedicated ‘Opinion, Blogs & Spanish Experiences‘ section where your articles will appear. We will edit for clarity and length only – and we reserve the right to not publish. Articles should be sent via email to editorial@spainenglish.com (preferably with a photo and credit details), and should be around 500 words (800 to 1,000 max). We will try to respond to everyone, but please be patient with us. We’re a very small team but with big ambitions! Please stay safe. Thank you for reading and following us.

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