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Coronavirus in Spain full update (16 May)

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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 12.25pm on Saturday 16 May

CORONAVIRUS in SPAIN – today’s figures

The latest official figures* for Coronavirus (Covid-19) released by Spain’s Health Ministry in Madrid at 12 noon on Saturday 16 May confirm that 27,563 people have now died from the pandemic in Spain, up by 102 on yesterday – the lowest daily increase since 18 March.

Friday had seen an increase of 138 Coronavirus-related deaths over Thursday. Thursday had been an increase of 217 over Wednesday. Wednesday had been 184.

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 Saturday 16 May is 230,698 – an increase of 539 over yesterday.

Friday’s figure for the increase of infections tested only through PCR had been 546 over Thursday. Thursday’s comparative figure had been 506 over Wednesday. Wednesday had been 439.

A total figure also released today by the ministry for those who have tested positive through PCR and antibody testing, however, is 276,505 (230,698 PCR; 45,807 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).

146,446 people have now made a full recovery.

Of the official figures released by the ministry today – and based only on the total 230,698 confirmed cases through PCR testing – there have now been 66,210 cases in the Madrid region (up 38 in 24 hours) and where 8,826 have died (from the total 27,563 across the country). There have been 55,685 cases in Catalonia (up 123 in 24 hours), and where 5,915 people have died.

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

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70% of Spain in Phase One from Monday

From Monday 18 May around 70% of Spain will be in Phase One of the government’s four-phase de-escalation of lockdown plan, that commenced officially on 4 May and is expected to last until the end of June. At the same time, around 14m people will remain for now in Phase Zero, including the two major cities of Madrid and Barcelona.

Spain’s Health Minister Salvador Illa and Fernando Simón, the director of the Coordination Centre for Health Alerts and Emergencies, announced at a press conference on Friday evening the areas of Spain that will now move to Phase One on Monday. These are:

The areas are Málaga and Granada in Andalusia; all the remaining areas of the Valencia region and the region of Castilla La Mancha; nearly all the region of Catalonia, with the exception of the city of Barcelona and metropolitan areas (north and south).

Madrid, meanwhile, will also be remaining in Phase Zero – although certain restrictions will be relaxed in both Madrid and Barcelona as part of a ‘Phase 0.5’. Parts of the region of Castilla y León will also remain in Phase Zero.

Salvador Illa and Fernando Simon
Salvador Illa and Fernando Simon

Fernando Simón also announced that the island of Formentera in the Balearic Islands, as well as the islands of La Gomera, El Hierro and La Graciosa in the Canary Islands, will all move to Phase Two from Monday 18 May.

We have published all the key rules and measures regarding the four phases in a separate report, together with full details of the current ‘phase status’ for each region and province. It is regularly updated as and when new measures are announced. The report can be found here: Lifting of lockdown in Spain – full details of all phases for all regions.

Madrid & Barcelona – Phase Zero

During the conference on Friday evening, Fernando Simón said that, ‘the evolution of the pandemic is very favourable’ and that ‘the Madrid region started out with many more cases than other regions’ – but that it was ‘still the region with the most daily registered cases, together with Catalonia’.

‘The Madrid region must remain for another week in Phase Zero, out of prudence,’ said Simón.

Of the figures released today (see above), there have now been 66,210 cases of Coronavirus in the Madrid region (up 38 in 24 hours) and where 8,826 have died.

Isabel Díaz Ayuso, the right-wing People’s Party (PP) leader of the Madrid regional government, was quick to criticise the decision. She tweeted that, ‘there was no technical explanation [for why Madrid was being kept in Phase Zero]. We are not the region with the highest % contagion. We are prepared. Our businesses are ruined and each week we lose around 18,000 jobs. Madrid has fulfilled.’

The Madrid regional government, controlled by both the PP and Ciudadanos (Cs) party (with also support from the far-right Vox party), has said that the region is being discriminated over other regions, claiming it is also a political issue from Spain’s central government, which is a coalition between the socialist PSOE party (led by prime minister Pedro Sánchez) and the left-wing Podemos group (led by Pablo Iglesias).

The Madrid regional government’s vice-president, Ignacio Aguado of the Cs party, also tweeted late on Friday to claim that, ‘The decision of the Government of Spain has not been technical, but political. They have not presented a single argument that justifies that we cannot pass the phase. We complied and they opposed it. They are condemning thousands of Madrid residents to ruin and destroying Spain’s economic engine.’

It was the second week running that Madrid had requested to move to Phase One. After asking to move to Phase One on Monday 11 May, however, it had provoked controversy, as well as the immediate resignation of the director of public health for the Comunidad de Madrid regional government, Yolanda Fuentes. She had made recommendations that the region should not move at the time.

Fernando Simón explained on Friday evening that whilst Madrid has since made great advances to prepare itself as far as healthcare infrastructure is concerned (in the case of a new wave of infections), the region still has issues detecting less-serious cases of Coronavirus.

The Madrid regional government has also been insinuating that there could now also be ‘social unrest’ if the region’s economy is not restarted soon.

For several days running, small protests have been taking place in some areas of Madrid against the ‘state of alarm’ – specifically in the affluent Barrio de Salamanca of the capital. Groups of protestors have been taking mainly to the street of Núñez de Balboa at around 9pm each evening, banging pots and pans. [See our report of 15 May].

Meanwhile, unlike in Madrid, the regional government in Catalonia itself requested that the city of Barcelona and the adjacent metropolitan areas (both north and south), should not move to Phase One, but instead remain in a sort of ‘Phase O.5’ that allows for certain restrictions to be relaxed. This has been agreed by the Spanish Health Ministry.

Of the figures released today (see above), there have been 55,685 cases of Coronavirus in Catalonia (up 123 in 24 hours), and where 5,915 people have died.

Madrid and Barcelona will now both enter a new ‘Phase 0.5’ from Monday 18 May. Details can be found here: Lifting of lockdown in Spain – full details of all phases for all regions.

Spain extends ban on international entry to country – plus 14-day self-quarantine has started

Spain has extended its ban on entry to the country from outside the EU and the Schengen area. The order goes into effect today, Saturday 16 May, and remains in place until midnight on Monday 15 June.

The measure was initially introduced on 21 March and due to expire on Friday. Spain’s Boletín Oficial del Estado (BOE) confirmed the extension, stating that it is following the EU Commission’s recommendation to do so from 8 May.

All nationals of countries outside the EU or the Schengen Area will not be allowed entry into Spain, except for those having a long-term visa for any of those countries and who are heading to the country that issued the visa. Also exempt are cross-border workers, on-duty health workers and cargo drivers, as well as transport crew, diplomats, and those arguing force majeure.

Barcelona airport
An image of Barcelona airport during the current lockdown. (Edu Bayer / Barcelona.cat)

The regulation does not apply to Andorra and Gibraltar.

The extension also comes after Spain imposed a 14-day quarantine for everyone entering its borders, which came into effect on Friday 15 May. That measure will last until the end of the ‘state of alarm’ (midnight 23 May), or any further extensions of it.

Also on Friday, the official gazette further regulated the entry of all people by plane or boat – restricting it to just five airports and eight ports.

The airports in Madrid, BarcelonaGran Canaria, Malaga and Palma de Mallorca are permitted for entry, as well as the ports of BarcelonaBilbao, Las Palmas, Malaga, Palma, Tenerife, Valenciaand Vigo.

Exceptions to the rule include state aircrafts and vessels sailing for humanitarian purposes.

This order is also in force until midnight 23 May or until the end of any new extensions of the ‘state of alarm’.

State of Alarm to be extended further?

Spain has now completed two months in the ‘state of alarm’ that commenced on 14 March – and it could possibly be extended until towards the end of June.

On Wednesday 6 May, the Spanish Congress voted to extend the ‘state of alarm’ for a fourth time – until 24 May.

Spanish Congress
A minute’s silence being held in the Spanish Congress on 22 April 2020 for the victims of Coronavirus. (Photo: congreso.es)

Each time the ‘state of alarm’ has been extended up to now, it has been for two weeks at a time. However, the Spanish government is now considering to propose a four week extension, taking it until 23 June.

Spain’s first deputy prime minister Carmen Calvo has been in touch with several parties in the past few days in search of support for a fifth extension of the exceptional measure, which will otherwise expire at midnight on Saturday 23 May.

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez has insisted that the ‘state of alarm’ is necessary in Spain in order to effectively carry out his government’s four-phase plan to gradually lift the lockdown restrictions over a period of eight weeks, and in order to return the country to a ‘new normality’ by the end of June.

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*Health Ministry data 

From 24 April, Spain’s Health Ministry changed its criteria for Coronavirus statistics. The official daily figure for the number of infections is now for those tested only via PCR (polymerase chain reaction).

All regions of Spain must now also 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 or rapid test.

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

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.

ALSO READ: Welcome to ‘Valencia in English’

Our previous reports on Coronavirus in Spain:

ALSO READ: Spain extends international ban on entry into country until 15 June

ALSO READ: Coronavirus in Spain full update (15 May)

ALSO READ: Coronavirus in Spain full update (14 May)

ALSO READ: Coronavirus in Spain full update (13 May)

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

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1 comment

Clifford Tracy 16th May 2020 at 12:57 pm

Excellent publcation


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