Spain announces 331 new coronavirus deaths and hints at “lengthy lockdown for certain population groups” d
Spain is highly unlikely to lift its State of Emergency on May 10th despite allowing children back on the streets from Sunday, April 26th and promising adults they too will be allowed out to exercise or walk from May 2nd.
Health chiefs have indicated that Prime
Minister Pedro Sanchez will almost certainly ask for a further extension until
May 24th and have warned: “We are not out of the woods yet!”
They have announced details of a future
scenario which will involve long-term social distancing, stringent hygiene
measures, including the use of masks, and the possible length confinement of
certain sectors of the population.
Health Minister, Salavador Illa has
warned: “We must not lose respect for the virus.”
Today’s figures show the death toll from
coronavirus in Spain stands at 23,521, an increase of 331 in the last 24 hours.
Mr. Illa stressed: “We are consolidating
the decline, we are bending the curve. I don’t want to anticipate anything, no
one denies that the evolution of the pandemic is going better but it is a
highly contagious virus. The Government always acts with great caution and it
is a very hasty illusion to think that the State of Emergency can end in
the next 15 days.”
The health minister said that Spain’s rate of
contagion had gone from 35 per cent over the last 40 days of the crisis to 0.8
per cent which “is lower than Germany.”
He explained that after the stage of
transition to the new normal or de-escalated, Spain would enter the third and
last, which will be “learning to live with the virus until we have a
vaccine that allows us to defeat it definitely.”
Spain has also drawn up a plan for the months
ahead which will include identifying as many beds as possible and the
“full or partial” confinement of “large population groups, over
long periods” of time, in order to allow for development of a vaccine that
could take “more than 12 months to be available.”
The aim would be to reduce the number of cases
“to a level acceptable” by the health system, avoiding the risk of
overflowing or “suffering the stress” to which it has been subjected
during the first epidemic wave.
Today, a new testing scheme swings into action
in Spain which will involve 3,600 random families with at least two children.
Data will be collected in small municipalities in 50 provinces level and also
by age and sex . Participation is voluntary.
Salavador Illa said the study will also
provide information on the behaviour of the transmission of the virus within
homes after six weeks of confinement.
The analysis will be carried out in three
waves, with an interval of 21 days between each one, to see “the dynamic
evolution of the disease”, which for the experts, according to the
minister, is highly relevant data. It will also offer partial data on each
“wave” to learn how the epidemic is evolving, he said.