Soldiers take to the streets in bid to speed up coronavirus tracking
Soldiers have taken to the streets of Spain for the first time since the height of the coronavirus crisis.
Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez last week
offered the services of some 3,000 military personnel and destinations on the
mainland, as well as on the holiday islands, accepted.
The soldiers are now flying in to locations
such as Valencia, the Canaries, Balearics and Ceuta.to provide expert help,
primarily to track contacts of people who have tested positive for Covid-19.
They have received specialist training and will remain on the streets *as long
as they are needed”.
The move comes as Spain hits an accumulated
figure of 554,143 positive cases of coronavirus and 29,699 deaths.
The Ministry of Health today (Thursday)
announced 10,764 new coronavirus infections, 4,137 in the previous 24 hours, as
well as 249 deaths in the last week, more than a third in Madrid, although at
the same time it has observed a slowdown in growth rates of new positives.
Director of the Centre for the Coordination of
Health Alerts and Emergencies, Fernando Simón, said that in half of the
provinces, a stabilisation of the number of new infections has been detected,
if not a decrease.
He stressed that “without celebrating too
early”, the fatality rate of the disease was already very low in Spain,
one of the lowest with Germany in the entire EU, because most cases were mild
and there had been improvement of treatments for the disease.
The rate of positives in the last 14 days in
Spain as a whole is 234 per 100,000 inhabitants, led again by Madrid, with 535
positives, followed by La Rioja and the Basque Country, with more than 370.
To help with tracking, Mallorca and Ibiza
asked for 100 soldiers who begin their work on Friday (September 10th), with
the team incorporating a psychologist to help anyone suffering from trauma.
Some of the tracking involves trying to
contact dozens of people who have been near patients tested positive.
In Gran Canaria, one so-called super-spreader
is believed to have infected at least 140 people which has multipied the task
of finding all possible contacts.
The soldiers will also be at work in the
Canary Islands, including Tenerife, and in other locations on the mainland,
including 300 in Valencia.
Pedro Sanchez said they would be playing a
vital role so communities could act “more effectively in the face of the
He called for “the unity of all, of the
political forces, of the institutions and of the whole of Spanish society
against the common enemy, which is the virus.”