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Coronavirus in Spain full update (23 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 19.15h on Saturday 23 May

CORONAVIRUS in SPAIN – today’s figures

The latest official figures for Coronavirus (Covid-19) released by Spain’s Health Ministry in Madrid at 7pm on Saturday 23 May show that 28,678 people have now died from the pandemic in Spain, an increase of 48 in the past 24 hours.

Friday’s figures showed an official increase of 56 Coronavirus-related deaths over Thursday (without including data from Catalonia). Thursday’s figure was an increase of 48 over Wednesday (again without including any data from Catalonia). Wednesday had been an overall daily increase (for the whole of Spain) of 95.

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 23 May is 235,290 – an increase of 361 over yesterday.

Friday’s figure for the increase of infections (excluding Catalonia) only through PCR testing had been 446 over Thursday. Thursday’s comparative figure (excluding Catalonia) had been 344 over Wednesday. Wednesday’s figure (for the whole of Spain) had been 416.

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).

The Health Ministry has not released a figure for the number of people who have made a full recovery.

Of the official figures released by the ministry today – and based only on the total 235,290 confirmed cases through PCR testing – there have now been 67,610 cases in the Madrid region and where 8,956 have died (from the total 28,678 across the country). There have been 57,114 confirmed cases in Catalonia and where 6,663 people have died (figures still to be verified).

There are now 13,467 known cases in the Basque Country (1,487 deaths), 12,597 in Andalusia (1,389), 16,855 in Castilla La Mancha (2,934) and 11,051 in the Valencia region (1,389).

Figures for those infected with Coronavirus in other regions are now as follows: Aragón 5,627 (858 deaths), Asturias 2,377 (307 deaths), Balearic Islands 2,039 (222), Canary Islands 2,321 (157), Cantabria 2,287 (209), Castilla y León 18,737 (1,961), Ceuta 125 (4), Extremadura 3,048 (507), Galicia 9,098 (610), Melilla 121 (2), Murcia 1,575 (149), Navarra 5,205 (509) and La Rioja 4,036 (357).

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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Walkers maintaining social distancing on Barcelona beach front. (Isaac Planella /


Pedro Sánchez – televised address

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez held another televised address on Saturday, in which he announced that tourists should start to prepare for the summer season in Spain and that La Liga matches can restart from 8 June (see below).

Sánchez announced that ‘the hardest part’ of the Coronavirus pandemic ‘was over’ and that the country was now ‘seeing light at the end of the tunnel’.

He praised the response from citizens and that ‘everyone had fulfilled their mission … to come together to deal with the epidemic.’

‘The Spanish people have forced the virus to retreat,’ said Sánchez.

‘From Monday [25 May],’ he said, referring to the fact that all areas of the country would either be in Phase One or Phase Two of the de-escalation of lockdown restrictions, ‘we can see family and friends again, businesses will open and the streets will recover their vibrancy.’

‘We are a step from victory,’ he said, but also warned that the virus, ‘is still lurking. It is essential that we don’t relax. A new outbreak is far from impossible. There is a high percentage that there will be a new outbreak. Prudence must be the key to how we proceed.’

Sánchez also stressed that there was still approximately a month of the de-escalation phases to go. ‘It is still necessary to maintain limitations on mobility, as will as limits to meetings. These will be for very few weeks, but still necessary,’ he said.

‘The time has come for several everyday activities to return,’ said Sánchez, before announcing that from 8 June football matches in La Liga can be played again (see below). There are 11 matches still to be played in the current season and they will be played behind closed doors.

Sánchez also said that from Tuesday 26 May – with all areas of the country out of Phase Zero – there would be a formal declaration of an official period of mourning for the victims of Coronavirus, lasting 10 days, and that flags would fly at half mast. He said there would be an official ceremony, presided by King Felipe VI.

Spanish PM Pedro Sánchez in a previous televised address. (Pool Moncloa / Borja Puig de la Bellacasa)


Sánchez also announced that international tourism to Spain will be able to start again from July.

‘We’re sending everyone a message today. Spain will be waiting for you from July,’ he said.

He said that Spanish hoteliers should start planning for a return to business and activity now, with an eye on receiving international visitors this summer.

‘I am announcing to you that from the month of July, entry for foreign tourists to Spain will resume in secure conditions,’ he said.

‘Spain needs tourism, and tourism needs safety in both origin and destination. We will guarantee that tourists will not run any risks,’ said Sánchez, ‘and nor will they bring any risk to our country.’

ALSO READ: Ryanair plans to restore 40% of flights from 1 July

At the moment, hotels and all tourist accommodation can start to open during Phase One, but communal areas must still be sealed off.

Sánchez said on Saturday that, ‘the Spanish government has been working on safety protocols for the tourism and accommodation sector. I encourage all Spaniards to start planning their holidays already’ – from end of June onwards.

Spain recently imposed a 14-day quarantine for everyone entering its borders, which came into effect from Friday 15 May. That measure will last until the end of the ‘state of alarm’ – and which has now been extended until 7 June.

Please note – we are preparing a separate full report on the return of tourism in Spain.

ALSO READ: Spanish Congress votes to extend ‘state of alarm’ until 7 June

La Liga can start from 8 June

La Liga matches can return from 8 June, Pedro Sánchez said on Saturday.

All professional football matches in Spain were provisionally suspended on 12 March, although clubs in the top two divisions have since returned to training.

La Liga president Javier Tebas had previously said that he hoped the season would be able to start again from Friday 12 June.

ALSO READ: La Liga players back in training

‘Spain has done what it needed to do and now new horizons can open for everyone. The time has come to recover many of our daily activities. From 8 June La Liga will be able to return,’ Sánchez said on Saturday.

Lionel Messi (Miguel Ruiz / FC Barcelona)

Clubs have 11 games left to play to finish the season, with the proposed final round to be completed by the end of July.

A condensed calendar will mean that clubs will be playing matches both in midweek and at weekends. Fixtures will be held behind closed doors, with only 197 people allowed to attend, according to a protocol prepared by La Liga.

Players will undergo tests for Coronavirus the day before each game and also have their temperatures taken before being allowed to enter stadiums.

La Liga’s players were allowed to start training individually at their clubs’ grounds from 4 May, which then expanded into groups of up to 10 players.

Phase Two starts from Monday 25 May

The Spanish Health Ministry has announced the areas that move to a next phase (including to Phase Two) from Monday 25 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. We are regularly updating it as and when new announcements are made. The report can be found here: Lifting of lockdown in Spain – full details of all phases for all regions.

‘State of Alarm’ extended until 7 June

The Spanish Congress also voted during the week to extend the current ‘state of alarm’ in the country until Saturday 7 June.

It is the fifth time the ‘state of alarm’ has been extended. It will remain in place as Spain also continues to lift lockdown restrictions with its four-phase de-escalation plan.

For further details of the vote in the Spanish Congress, as well as the background to the ‘state of alarm’ and lockdown extensions to date, please read: Spanish Congress votes to extend ‘state of alarm’ until 7 June.

Face masks compulsory from Thursday

It also became compulsory from Thursday to wear face masks in Spain in closed spaces (including shops and stores), as well as on the street and in public places, if a 2-metre ‘social distance’ cannot be maintained.

For full details of the new measures and the exceptions allowed in wearing a face mask, please read our report here: Face masks compulsory in close space and outside if not at as 2-metre social distance.

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Our previous reports on Coronavirus in Spain:

ALSO READ: Coronavirus in Spain figures (22 May)

ALSO READ: Spanish Congress votes to extend ‘state of alarm’ until 7 June

ALSO READ: Face masks to be compulsory in closed spaces and outside, if not at 2-metre distance

ALSO READ: Coronavirus in Spain figures (21 May)

ALSO READ: Coronavirus in Spain figures (20 May)

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

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

ALSO READ: Ryanair plans to restore 40% of flights from 1 July

ALSO READ: La Liga players back in training, with games to possibly restart on 20 June

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