Spain sinking, exceeds 500 deaths in one day

25Mar 2020
The Guardian
 Spain sinking, exceeds 500 deaths in one day

​​​​​​​THE coronavirus death toll in Spain jumped by 514 within 24 hours yesterday, as the situation in the country quickly worsened.

Official figures showed that 2,696 people had died in the country and close to 40,000 having been infected.

About 5,400 health care workers were among those confirmed cases.

Spain is the worst affected country in Europe after Italy, which as of yesterday recorded more than 6,077 deaths—the highest in the world.

While cases were mostly concentrated in Madrid, Catalonia and the Basque Country, infection numbers were growing in other regions.

Castilia-La Mancha and Castilla y Leon, which border the capital, have seen a big jump in cases. Both regions have large elderly populations.

The capital Madrid continues to be the epicentre of Spain's pandemic, with 1,535 deaths. The north-east region of Catalonia is now also becoming a big cause for concern with 1,939 cases in the past day, higher than Madrid.

Health emergency chief Fernando Simón stressed that almost 3,800 people have now recovered from the virus but 2,636 remain in intensive care.

"This is a tough week and we are all hoping to see if we are managing to reach the peak and start going down, with these very aggressive measures that have been imposed on Spain."

Attention has also turned to the alarming rate of infection among health professionals. Of the 39,763 infected people around the country, 5,400 are healthcare staff - meaning they make up nearly 14 per cent of those with the disease.

The government asked MPs to extend the state of alert to 11 April.

By press time yesterday, a total of 394, 614 cases were confirmed globally with 17,266 deaths and 103, 710 recoveries.

The World Health Organization warned yesterday that the US had the potential to become the global epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak.

Speaking in Geneva, WHO spokeswoman Margaret Harris said there had been a "very large acceleration" in cases in the country.

"We cannot say that is the case yet but it does have that potential" to become the next Covid-19 hotspot, she told reporters, Reuters asserted.

So far, there have been more than 46,000 cases in the US and 593 deaths, according to data collated by Johns Hopkins University.

The African saxophone legend Manu Dibango died in Paris yesterday after catching coronavirus.

Dibango – best known for his 1972 song Soul Makossa – is one of the first global stars to die from Covid-19.

The 86-year-old fused jazz and funk music with traditional sounds from his home country, Cameroon.

“It is with deep sadness that we announce you the loss of Manu Dibango, our Papy Groove,” a statement on his official Facebook page reads.

This is the second death of prominent entertainers after that of Republic of Congo’s Sokous maestro Aurlus Mabele who also succumbed to coronavirus in Paris last week.

The organisers of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games have agreed to a one-year postponement of the event because of the global coronavirus pandemic.

Speaking to reporters yesterday, Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said the International Olympic Committee (IOC) had agreed to the delay.

An Italian priest who gave his respirator away to a younger patient he didn't know died of the coronavirus yesterday.

Father Giuseppe Berardelli, 72, died in a hospital in Lovere, Bergamo - one of Italy's worst-hit cities.

The hospital said Father Berardelli's parishioners from the town of Casnigo had brought him a respirator, but he refused to use it, choosing instead to give it away.

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