19th October 2020
Pedro Sánchez
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Coronavirus in Spain full update (6 May)

Latest: Coronavirus in Spain figures (21 May)

ALSO READ: Lifting of lockdown in Spain – full details of all phases, regions & provinces, plus what is permitted in each phase

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Report below updated in Spain at 19.30h on Wednesday 6 May

The Spanish Congress has voted to officially extend the ‘state of alarm’ lockdown until 24 May. Votes in favour of the extension were 178, against 75, and with 97 abstentions.

It is now the fourth extension of the lockdown that first started on 14 March.

The coalition (PSOEPodemos) government of Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez succeeded in the vote with the support of the Ciudadanos (Cs) party and the Basque Nationalist Party (EAJ-PNV). The right-wing People’s Party (PP) abstained in the vote. The Catalan pro-independence parties and the far-right Vox party voted against.

The ‘state of alarm’ lockdown will continue until 24 May whilst Spain also continues with the ‘four phase de-escalation plan’ of gradually lifting lockdown restrictions, depending on the progress of each region. Full details of the four phases can be found here: Lifting of lockdown in Spain – full details of all phases.

See ‘Debate in Congress’ below. 

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CORONAVIRUS in SPAIN – today’s figures

The latest official figures* for Coronavirus (Covid-19) released by Spain’s Health Ministry in Madrid at 11am on Wednesday 6 May confirm that 25,857 people have now died from the pandemic in Spain, up by 244 on yesterday.

Tuesday had seen an increase of 185 Coronavirus-related deaths over Monday. Monday had been an increase of 164 over Sunday – the lowest since 18 March. Sunday had also been 164.

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.

Official figures released daily by the Spanish Health Ministry are for the total number of people who have tested positive for Coronavirus only through a PCR test (polymerase chain reaction). That figure for Wednesday 6 May is 220,325 – an increase of 685 over yesterday.

Tuesday’s figure for the increase in infections tested only through PCR had been 867 over Monday. Monday’s comparative figure had been 356 over Sunday. Sunday had been 838.

A total figure also released today by the ministry for those who have tested positive through PCR and antibody testing, however, is 253,682 (220,325 PCR; 33,357 antibody).

The current peak of recorded infections for a 24-hour period in Spain was on 31 March, when 9,222 new cases were registered (including from PCR and antibody).

126,002 people have now made a full recovery.

With regards the official figures released by the central Health Ministry for each region of Spain, there have been discrepancies in the data released independently by some of those regions, particularly for Madrid and Catalonia. Please refer to *Health Ministry data and regional discrepancies below.

Of the official figures released by the ministry today – and based only on the total 220,325 confirmed cases through PCR testing – there are now 63,416 cases in the Madrid region and where 8,466 have died (from the total 25,857 across the country). There are now 50,924 cases in Catalonia and where 5,345 have died.

There are now 13,008 known cases in the Basque Country (1,364 deaths), 12,236 in Andalusia (1,281), 16,144 in Castilla La Mancha (2,647) and 10,537 in the Valencia region (1,291).

Figures for those infected with Coronavirus in other regions are now as follows: Aragón 5,231 (788 deaths), Asturias 2,310 (287 deaths), Balearic Islands 1,921 (199), Canary Islands 2,231 (143), Cantabria 2,213 (199), Castilla y León 17,520 (1,847), Ceuta 109 (4), Extremadura 2,865 (463), Galicia 9,097 (582), Melilla 119 (2), Murcia 1,498 (136), Navarra 4,966 (476) and La Rioja 3,980 (337).

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

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Pedro Sánchez
Spanish PM Pedro Sánchez in the Congress on 6 May 2020. (Photo congreso.es)

CORONAVIRUS in SPAIN – latest updates

Spain officially commenced Phase Zero of the government’s ‘four phase’ de-escalation plans to lift the current Coronavirus lockdown restrictions from Monday 4 May. It has now become compulsory to wear face masks on all public transport in Spain.

We have published all the key rules and guidance regarding the Four Phases of the Spanish government’s plans for the lifting of lockdown measures in a separate report. It is being regularly updated when new measures are officially announced. The report can be found here: Lifting of lockdown in Spain – full details of all phases

Spanish Congress votes to extend ‘state of alarm’

The Spanish Congress has voted to officially extend the ‘state of alarm’ lockdown until 24 May. Votes in favour of the extension were 178, against 75, and with 97 abstentions.

It is now the fourth extension of the lockdown that first started on 14 March.

The ‘state of alarm’ lockdown will continue until 24 May whilst Spain also continues with the ‘four phase de-escalation plan’ of gradually lifting lockdown restrictions, depending on the progress of each region.

The session in the Spanish Congress on Wednesday started with a minute’s silence for the victims of Coronavirus.

In his opening address, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez announced that Spain would have an official period of mourning once the majority of the regions were in Phase One of the de-escalation plan.

He also said that once the country reached the phase of the ‘new normality’, there would be an official public memorial held for the victims.

Sánchez said on Wednesday morning in Congress that ‘there aren’t any absolutely correct decisions’, but that ‘ignoring the risk posed by the pandemic’ and ‘lifting the state of alarm now would be an absolute, total mistake and unforgivable’.

Sánchez also appealed to the regions of Spain to act with ‘fiscal co-responsibility’ once the central government transfers the Coronavirus relief funds to the regional governments.

Last week the Spanish prime minister announced that his government had been responding to the requests from Spain’s regional governments, and that it was allocating a special fund of €16bn for the regions. From that total, €10bn would be to support healthcare, €1bn on social welfare and €5n to help the economic recovery.

Sánchez is the head of the socialist PSOE party and currently leads a coalition government in Spain with the left-wing Podemos group.

The government succeeded in today’s vote with the support of the Ciudadanos (Cs) party and the Basque Nationalist Party (EAJ-PNV).

The right-wing People’s Party (PP) abstained in the vote. The Catalan pro-independence parties and the far-right Vox party voted against.

During the last debate held in the Spanish Congress on 22 April to extend the lockdown until 9 May,  Sánchez had received fierce criticism for his government’s handling of the Coronavirus crisis.

Pablo Casado, leader of the main opposition party, the right-wing PP, had previously demanded that Sánchez should ‘apologise for his mistakes’ and that the Spanish people were fed up with the government being full of self-pride, ‘incompetence and lies’.

‘Do you think that by not counting the dead [from Coronavirus], that they disappear like when children cover their eyes?’ Casado had said in the last debate to extend the lockdown. ‘Why do you hide the deceased? Why don’t you publish the actual figures? Why do you not recognise any of your errors?’

Casado stated earlier this week that ‘as things currently stand’, his party would not support the lockdown extension. Today in Congress Casado said that Sánchez himself was an ‘absolute mistake’. The MPs of PP finally abstained in this afternoon’s vote.

Inés Arrimadas
Inés Arrimadas, leader of the Ciudadanos (Cs) party, in the Spanish Congress on 6 May 2020. (Congreso.es)

Inés Arrimadas, leader of the Ciudadanos (Cs) party, announced on Tuesday evening that her MPs would be voting in favour of the extension, but with some conditions.

Arrimadas insisted that the government reports weekly on the progress of the de-escalation with her party.

The decision of Arrimadas to support the government quickly led to two of its senior members leaving the Cs party: current MP Carina Mejías and former MP Juan Carlos Girauta.

On Wednesday morning the Basque Nationalist Party (EAJ-PNV) also confirmed its support, in exchange for obliging Spain’s central government to agree upon the de-escalation of lockdown measures with regional governments.

For the first time during the Coronavirus pandemic, all three Catalan pro-independence parties – the Esquerra Republicana (ERC) party, Junts per Catalunya (JxCat) and CUP parties – all voted ‘No’ to the extension.

Santiago Abascal, leader of Spain’s far-right Vox party that also voted against the extension today, had previously accused Sánchez of being responsible for ‘the worst health management’ in the world against Coronavirus.

Spain originally commenced its lockdown for two weeks from 14 March, with measures that confined everyone to their homes apart from leaving to purchase food or medication, or to go to their place of work only if they could not perform their duties from home. After one week, these initial measures were then extended until 12 April, then for a second time until 26 April – and then until 9 May.

Spanish Congress
A minute’s silence being held in the Spanish Congress before the start of the session on 9 April 2020. (Photo Spanish Congress / congreso.es)

During the overall lockdown period, from Monday 30 March until after Easter, further measures were introduced ordering all non-essential workers in Spain to also remain at home. Following the Easter break, industrial and construction workers, as well as non-essential employees in sectors where working from home wasn’t possible, started a gradual return to work.

With the relaxing of restrictions for children from Sunday 26 April – after 43 days confined at home – they were allowed out for an hour accompanied by a parent, guardian or elder sibling. From Saturday 2 May – after 48 days in confinement – adults across Spain were allowed out to walk and exercise during set time slots. Now Spain is in the initial Phase Zero of the Spanish government’s ‘four-phase de-escalation plan‘ to relax lockdown restrictions over a maximum 8-week period.

Coronavirus – impact on employment

Latest figures released this week show that the number of unemployed people in Spain is now 3,831,203 – representing an increase of 7.87% and 282,891 more people during April.

Compared to the same month last year the number rose by 667,637 people, a jump of 21.10%.

But the data still doesn’t include those who have temporarily lost their jobs as their employers are still paying their social security contributions under the scheme known as a Temporary Employment Regulation File (ERTE).

Those out of work had already risen by 302,265 in March, a 9.31% increase on February, overtaking a previous record of around 200,000 in January 2009, at the height of the financial crisis.

There have been several very frightening predictions about the impact the coronavirus lockdown will  have on Spain economy, ranging from 8 percent drop in GDP by the IMF to 13.6 percent by the Bank of Spain.

Tourism and the hospitality sector are the worst affected, providing 12 percent of Spain’s GDP and almost a fifth of jobs.

Coronavirus – impact on Spanish economy

Last week it was also reported that Spain’s GDP fell by 5.2% in the first quarter of 2020 compared to three months before.

According to figures released by Spain’s Statistics Agency (INE) last Thursday, the quarterly drop was of 4.1% on last year.

This is the biggest GDP decrease since 1970, the first year that INE records for this data wee available.

The drop in the first three months of 2020 is significantly more dramatic than any single quarter of the years after the 2008 financial crisis. The biggest fall during that period was the first quarter of 2009, when Spain’s GDP was 2.6% less than three months before.

In the first and second terms of 2009, the year-to-year GDP fall was of 4.2% and 4.3% respectively, slightly higher than the current 4.1%.

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

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*Health Ministry data 

Since 24 April, the Spanish Health Ministry changed its criteria for presenting its Coronavirus statistics each day, to only include the number of infections of those tested via PCR (polymerase chain reaction).

Previously, the ministry had also stipulated to Spain’s regional health authorities how the overall data should be collated, as some regions had been using different methods to collate their own figures.

In Catalonia, for example, the regional health department had only previously been counting figures for those who had died from Coronavirus in hospitals. This was then changed to include figures for those who had also died in nursing homes, social health centres or elderly residences, as well as at home.

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 intensive care unit (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.

Spanish Health Minister Salvador Illa
Spanish Health Minister Salvador Illa

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, 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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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 (5 May)

ALSO READ: Opinion: It’s common sense … isn’t it?

ALSO READ: Coronavirus in Spain full update (4 May)

ALSO READ: Coronavirus in Spain full update (2 May)

ALSO READ: Coronavirus in Spain full update (1 May)

ALSO READ: Children enjoy first ‘hour of freedom’ in 43 days

ALSO READ: Opinion: why bullfights should stay cancelled after Covid-19

ALSO READ: Pedro Sánchez seeks cross-party ‘Moncloa Pact’ for recovery programme

ALSO READ: Co-Vida: an inspiring community action project

ALSO READ: One day more, one day less

ALSO READ: ‘Up on the Roof’ – surviving lockdown from above

ALSO READ: Open Arms refugee NGO helping to combat Coronavirus

ALSO READ: When can La Liga restart?

ALSO READ: Coronavirus in Spain: unemployment figures worst on record

ALSO READ: FC Barcelona players agree to 70% pay cut, and will ensure staff receive 100%

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

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

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