Health workers in protective gear | File Image | (Photo Credits: AFP)
Madrid, April 1: Spain’s death toll surged over 9,000 Wednesday as infections passed the 100,000 mark, but the rate of new cases continued to slow, suggesting the epidemic had peaked, health chiefs said.
Spain has the world’s second-highest death toll after Italy, with the virus so far claiming 9,053 lives after a record 864 people died over the past 24 hours, while the number of confirmed cases reached 102,136. But on a day-to-day basis, the rate of new infections continued its week-long downward trend. Coronavirus Lockdown in Spain: Government Bans Eviction of Tenants for Six Months.
And most importantly, the number of people in hospital and those in intensive care was falling, suggesting the epidemic had reached its peak, Fernando Simon, head of the health ministry’s emergency coordination unit.
“This is important,” said Simon who himself was diagnosed with the virus this week. “Right now the central issue is not whether we have reached the peak or not, it seems we’re already there, and the numbers are going down.”
The main priority now was to ensure that the health system was capable of guaranteeing adequate coverage for all patients, Simon said. Officials said the figures gave a “very positive” indication that the unprecedented lockdown put in place on March 14, confining Spain’s population of nearly 47 million to their homes, was working.
Crunching the numbers, Wednesday’s figures showed new cases increasing by just over 8.0 percent, compared with nearly 11 percent on Tuesday and 20 percent a week ago. They also showed the death rate increasing at a rate of 10.6 percent compared with 27 percent a week ago, with Dr Maria Jose Sierra from the emergencies coordination unit saying the recent fatalities were those “who were infected two or three weeks ago”. COVID-19: ‘Epicentre – 24 Hours in Wuhan’