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Coronavirus in Spain full update (23 April)

Click here for today’s full report: Coronavirus in Spain (4 May)

ALSO READ: Lifting of lockdown in Spain – full details of all phases

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Report below updated in Spain at 17.15h on Thursday 23 April.

LATEST: Up to three children under the age of 14 accompanied by an adult are to be allowed out for an hour a day from this Sunday 26 April.

This was announced on Thursday by Spain’s second deputy prime minister, Pablo Iglesias, who is also the leader of the left-wing Podemos group that forms a coalition government with the PSOE socialist party, together with the Spanish Health Minister, Salvador Illa. 

It comes after the Spanish Congress voted yesterday for an extension to the current ‘state of alarm’ lockdown in the country until 9 May, which includes relaxing some of the confinement restrictions for children.

Children under 14 will not be able to be outside alone and will not be allowed to go further than one kilometre away from the home, and nor will they be able to visit parks or playgrounds. They will be able to exercise and run, however, as long as they continue to respect social distancing.

Pablo Iglesias (right) and Salvador Illa on 23 April 2020. (Pool Moncloa / JM Cuadrado)

The ministers also explained that the daily walk will only be allowed between 9am to 9pm – and that ‘peak hours’ should be avoided.

The adult accompanying the children must be someone who lives with them – either a parent or guardian, or an elder brother or sister who is over the age of 18.

Health Minister Illa believes that 6m children across the country will benefit from the new rules. A ministerial order will be issued this Saturday for the measure to come into effect the following day.

Illa also stressed that whilst these ‘relief measures have been introduced, [the overall lockdown] confinement measures remain fully in place.’

Earlier full report:

The latest official figures* released by Spain’s Health Ministry in Madrid at 11.15am on Thursday 23 April confirm a total of 213,024 known cases of Coronavirus (Covid-19) in Spain, 4,635 more than yesterday.

Wednesday’s figure had seen an increase of 4,211 new infections compared to Tuesday. Tuesday’s figure had been an increase of 3,968 over Monday. Monday had been 4,266.

ALSO READ: Spain votes to extend lockdown to 9 May. Children to be allowed out

The current peak of recorded infections for a 24-hour period in Spain was on 31 March, when 9,222 new cases were registered.

22,157 people have now died from the pandemic in Spain, up by 440 on yesterday.

Wednesday had seen an increase of 435 Coronavirus-related deaths over Tuesday. Tuesday had seen an increase of 430 over Monday. Monday had been 399, which was the lowest daily increase since 22 March. 

The current peak of recorded deaths related to Coronavirus in a 24-hour period in Spain was on 2 April, when 950 deaths were registered.

89,250 people have now made a full recovery, an increase of 3,335.

Of the official figures released by the Health Ministry today, 60,487 confirmed cases of Coronavirus are known to be in the Madrid region and where 7,684 have died (from the total 22,157 across the country).

There are now 44,892 cases in Catalonia and 4,343 deaths there. In Catalonia, however, there has also recently been a change in the method of collating data, so these figures could be higher (please refer to Health Ministry data and regional discrepancies below).

There are 13,436 known cases in the Basque Country (1,167 deaths), 11,845 in Andalusia (1,079), 17,557 in Castilla La Mancha (2,188) and 10,692 in the Valencia region (1,124).

Figures for those infected with Coronavirus in other regions* are as follows: Aragón 5,237 (681 deaths), Asturias 2,453 (223 deaths), Balearic Islands 1,861 (168), Canary Islands 2,113 (121), Cantabria 2,206 (173), Castilla y León 17,402 (1,582), Ceuta 118 (4), Extremadura 3,260 (407), Galicia 8,805 (375), Melilla 106 (2), Murcia 1,721 (124), Navarra 4,994 (409) and La Rioja 3,839 (303).

* Please see ‘Health Ministry data and discrepancies’ below. A full breakdown in Spanish of the data per region, together with age group statistics can be found by clicking here.

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Barcelona City Council workers disinfecting rubbish containers in the city. (Photo Barcelona City Council)


Lockdown extended until 9 May

Spain has officially extended the ‘state of alarm’ lockdown in the country until 9 May, following a tense debate in the Spanish Congress during Wednesday. 269 MPs voted in favour of the extension, 60 voted against, with 16 abstentions.

Certain restrictions are also to be relaxed from Monday 27 April – specifically for children under the age of 14. Precise details, however, will be announced this Saturday by Spain’s health authorities. By then, most children across Spain would have been confined to their homes for over 40 days.

It has been reported that the new measures will allow one parent to be able to go out for walks with up to three children at one time, for up to 30 minutes a day and up to a kilometre from home. The new measures would include allowing the children to be able to run and walk in nearby parks and open spaces, yet continuing with social distancing.

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez said that life would likely start returning to a ‘new normal’ during the second half of May, during yesterday’s debate held in the half-empty Congress in Madrid.

‘The second half of May offers the prospect of a scaling-back [of the lockdown] and of phase two of the fight’ when the restrictions ‘will be modified’, he said.

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez in the Congress on 22 April 2020. (Photo

Regarding possible plans during the last two weeks of May to stagger the relaxation of restrictions depending on the situation in each region of Spain, it will be the health ministry that decides upon the extent of the restrictions, as well as where people can go and what they can do.

Sánchez said that his request for authorisation to seek an extension to the lockdown came ‘for the first time’ amidst a ‘positive trend’ in the fight against the Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic because ‘we are flattening the contagion curve.’

Sánchez warned that the ‘return to the new normal’ in Spain would be ‘slow, gradual and safe’ and carried out with extreme caution. He also said there could be ‘final decisions’ made later on in order to avoid any mistakes.

He said that lockdown measures would be lifted or imposed again ‘depending on how the pandemic behaves in each territory’ of the country.

The socialist PSOE prime minister said that what was needed in this new phase would be for everyone infected with Covid-19 to be identified through testing, with a ‘total control’ over areas with the highest risk of infection, and a ‘system monitoring people from other areas to prevent imported infections’.

The lockdown ‘will not be lifted until we are prepared for it because we are not going to take any risks,’ said Sánchez, insisting that ‘any optimism must be tempered by prudence’.

Sánchez reiterated previous warnings that Spain could only expect to return to normal daily life once the six requirements laid out by the World Health Organization (WHO) have been met.

The key six recommendations from WHO are a controlled transition and the identification of those infected with Coronavirus – as well as the identification of those that they have made contact with; strict controls for areas with a higher risk of infection; preventive measures at work, schools and universities; and for the public to continue to follow hygiene recommendations as well as social distancing.

Coronavirus will change life as we know it, said Sánchez, adding that it will call for ‘new ways of governing’ and ‘new political models’.

Barcelona restarts its city ‘Bicing’ service

Barcelona City Council is reactivating its Bicing service from Thursday, having stated that all the bicycles ‘have been reviewed and are ready to resume activity’.

The ‘Bicing’ service in Barcelona. (Photo Barcelona City Council / @bcn_ajuntament / Twitter)

They have also told users that it is essential to follow recommendations that include wearing a face mask, putting on gloves and then throwing them away after using the bikes, as well as keeping two metres away from any other cyclists.

As Spain has extended its ‘state of alarm’ lockdown until 9 May, it is assumed that anyone using the Bicing service should only be doing so if carrying out any activity that is currently permitted – such as going to food shops, pharmacies or banks, or to take care of a vulnerable person.

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*Health Ministry data and regional discrepancies

The Spanish Health Ministry has not been giving complete figures for the number of people in intensive care units (ICUs) for over 10 days, because some of Spain’s 17 regions had been using different methods to collate these figures. There had also been discrepancies in how some of the regions had been collating the statistics for the number of deaths from Coronavirus.

In Catalonia, for example, the regional health department had only previously been counting figures for those who had died in hospitals. This was then changed to include data provided by funeral homes, which includes those who have died not only in hospitals but also in nursing homes, social health centres or elderly residences, as well as at home.

Last Friday, following discrepancies in the way that data has been collated, the Spanish government published an order in its Boletín Oficial del Estado (BOE) to clarify the criteria that must be used.

All regions must now report deaths and ICU admissions in the same way. A victim can only be counted in the death tally if they have tested positive for Covid-19 via a PCR (polymerase chain reaction testing) or rapid test. The same applies to confirmed infections.

The Health Ministry has also requested that each region send in the total number of infections divided into symptomatic and asymptomatic cases. In addition, they also require the number of PCR tests carried out from each region, the total number of people that have required hospital treatment, including intensive care, as well as the number of patients who have been discharged.

Salvador Illa, the Spanish Health Minister, has said that, ‘Spain is following a very strict definition of cases in line with international authorities, including the World Health Organization (WHO) and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC). Anyone who tests positive for Covid-19 and then dies is considered a Coronavirus fatality’.

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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.

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:

Our previous reports on Coronavirus in Spain:

ALSO READ: Spain votes to extend lockdown to 9 May. Children to be allowed out

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

ALSO READ: Spanish government: children can go with adults to supermarkets, but not parks

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

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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 (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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