The novel coronavirus outbreak in Spain has seen its lowest daily increase in deaths since March 23, reporting 510 new deaths on Saturday, Spain’s Ministry of Health confirmed in a statement.
The latest record figure comes as the Spanish government plans to ease restrictions in the country, which has been in lockdown mode for several weeks in a bid to help curb the spread of the virus. Some companies, including those within the construction and manufacturing industries, will be allowed to resume work beginning Monday, Reuters reported.
Under the new guidelines issued Saturday by the office of Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez, any companies returning to work are required to provide employees with appropriate protective equipment and ensure they have space to remain at roughly six feet apart.
On Thursday, Sánchez warned that the lockdown in the country is likely to last until May. But he noted that the country was approaching the start of a decline in the outbreak, according to the latest data on virus cases in Spain.
Among the infected in the country are nearly 25,000 medical workers, who form nearly 15 percent of all cases, according to a spokesperson for Spain’s Coordination Centre for Health Alerts and Emergencies, Maria José Sierra.
Around 10 million masks are expected to be distributed at public transport hubs in Spain in the coming days. But their use is recommended and not compulsory, Spain’s Minister of the Interior Fernando Grande-Marlaska said.
Amid concerns that it may be too early to lift any restrictions in the country, Grande-Marlaska said, “We are still in the confinement phase… we haven’t begun any relaxation (of the restrictions).”
The pace of the pandemic in Spain has shown signs of slowing down in recent weeks. Earlier this month, the Spanish health ministry reported 7,472 new cases on April 3, which was a 6.8 percent increase in confirmed infections, one of the smallest jumps reported since the outbreak began. The figure followed an increase of 7.9 percent reported on the previous day, according to Spain’s Ministry of Health.
The number of infections increased by eight percent on March 30, which was a significant drop from a 20 percent increase reported the previous Wednesday.
“We are observing a change in the trend of the average increase in daily cases,” Sierra said at a press conference last month.
“Since the day social distancing measures were rolled out across Spain, between March 15 and 25, the average increase of infections was 20 percent. And from that day onwards (25 March) the average increase is 12 percent,” she added.
“We have to be very cautious with this data… but this is what we expected after the implementation of these important social distancing measures,” she noted.
The novel coronavirus, which was first reported in Wuhan, China, has infected more than 1.7 million people across the globe in at least 185 countries and regions. Over 409,700 people have recovered from infection, while more than 109,600 have died, as of Sunday.
Spain has reported more than 166,000 confirmed cases, including 16,972 deaths, as of Sunday, according to the latest figures from Johns Hopkins University.
The graphic below, provided by Statista, illustrates the spread of COVID-19 across the globe.
Data on COVID-19 cases is from Johns Hopkins University unless otherwise stated.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Advice on Using Face Coverings to Slow Spread of COVID-19
- CDC recommends wearing a cloth face covering in public where social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.
- A simple cloth face covering can help slow the spread of the virus by those infected and by those who do not exhibit symptoms.
- Cloth face coverings can be fashioned from household items. Guides are offered by the CDC. (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/diy-cloth-face-coverings.html)
- Cloth face coverings should be washed regularly. A washing machine will suffice.
- Practice safe removal of face coverings by not touching eyes, nose, and mouth, and wash hands immediately after removing the covering.
World Health Organization advice for avoiding spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19)
- Clean hands frequently with soap and water, or alcohol-based hand rub.
- Wash hands after coughing or sneezing; when caring for the sick; before, during and after food preparation; before eating; after using the toilet; when hands are visibly dirty; and after handling animals or waste.
- Maintain at least 1 meter (3 feet) distance from anyone who is coughing or sneezing.
- Avoid touching your hands, nose and mouth. Do not spit in public.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or bent elbow when coughing or sneezing. Discard the tissue immediately and clean your hands.
- Avoid close contact with others if you have any symptoms.
- Stay at home if you feel unwell, even with mild symptoms such as headache and runny nose, to avoid potential spread of the disease to medical facilities and other people.
- If you develop serious symptoms (fever, cough, difficulty breathing) seek medical care early and contact local health authorities in advance.
- Note any recent contact with others and travel details to provide to authorities who can trace and prevent spread of the disease.
- Stay up to date on COVID-19 developments issued by health authorities and follow their guidance.
Mask and glove usage
- Healthy individuals only need to wear a mask if taking care of a sick person.
- Wear a mask if you are coughing or sneezing.
- Masks are effective when used in combination with frequent hand cleaning.
- Do not touch the mask while wearing it. Clean hands if you touch the mask.
- Learn how to properly put on, remove and dispose of masks. Clean hands after disposing of the mask.
- Do not reuse single-use masks.
- Regularly washing bare hands is more effective against catching COVID-19 than wearing rubber gloves.
- The COVID-19 virus can still be picked up on rubber gloves and transmitted by touching your face.