Spanish gov’t: cultural behavior should be adjusted to contain Covid-19 cases

Madrid, Apr 3 (efe-epa).- Spanish health authorities on Friday said the population could learn from societal traits in other countries like Japan to maintain the progress being made in containing transmission rates, which continued their downward trend.

Spain leapfrogged Italy to become the second country in the world in terms of overall coronavirus cases after the United States as of Friday morning, when the health ministry said 7,472 new infections overnight brought the tally to 117,710, of which roughly 76,000 are active.

But the percentage daily increase has dropped to seven percent, down from 11.3 percent a week ago.

There were 932 Covid-19 related deaths in Spain in the last 24 hours, the first daily drop registered in several days, bringing the total tally since the outbreak began to 10,935.

Fernando Simón, who leads the country’s emergency public health department, said: “The trend is continuing in the right direction.

“New cases are stabilized, we have unfortunately surpassed Italy, but the trends are correct.

“We are achieving our targets of ensuring that hospitals and ICUs do not become saturated over the weekend.”

The epidemiologist underpinned his positive message with a warning that progress in containing the transmission rate could be lost if the restrictive measures in place across the nation until at least 12 April were lifted too soon.

Those restrictions were tightened last weekend to limit the impact of the virus on the country’s already overstretched ICUs, which expected a surge this week.

He added, however, that if Spain stayed on top of the transmission rates, then authorities could look at relaxing the lockdown in certain areas.

Simón said social norms would have to be adapted to ensure progress on the disease, and suggested Japan’s approach to a health crisis, with its ample use of personal protective equipment and limited contact between people, as a possible example to follow.

Some 56,637 people have required hospitalization in Spain since the outbreak began and 6,416 of those patients have been treated in ICUs, but the country was now seeing 10 percent daily increases in admissions compared to previous weeks, when that percentage was closer to 30 points per day.

In Madrid, the worst-hit Spanish region, the number of ICU admissions fell Friday for the first time since the outbreak took hold. A total of 4,483 people have died in the capital, 308 of those in the last 24 hours.

Additionally, 30, 513 people have recovered from Covid-19 across the nation, 26 percent of the total number of infections.

María José Sierra, a doctor at the public health emergency department, said it made little scientific sense to compare Spain’s infection numbers with Italy, where numbers as of Thursday stood at 115,242 total infections.

Italian authorities release their data in the early evening.

Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez visited a surgical mask factory in the Madrid suburb of Móstoles on Friday morning, where he shared a message that the country would “defeat the virus together.”

The outbreak has spurred political division among Spain’s leading parties, with right-wing opposition outfits using social media to criticize the Socialist Party-led government response to the crisis.

Unidas Podemos, a partner in the coalition government, on Friday called on MPs to take a 50 percent wage cut during the health crisis. EFE-EPA


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