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Covid-19: European death toll passes 100,000 as Spain faces three more weeks of lockdown

Since 14 March, Spanish people have been living under severe restrictions on their movement.

A woman at her granddaughter’s birthday in Grinon, Spain.
A woman at her granddaughter’s birthday in Grinon, Spain.
Image: Manu Fernandez/PA images

Updated Apr 18th 2020, 8:12 PM

SPAIN IS TO extend its nationwide lockdown by an additional two weeks, as the country’s death toll surpassed 20,000 and Europe’s surpassed 100,000. 

Since 14 March, Spanish people have been living under severe restrictions on their movement.

The lockdown was first extended until 25 April but this has now been extended again until 9 May, Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez has announced.

Restrictions on movements would be loosened slightly to allow children time outside, from April 27, he added.

The move came as it was announced that deaths in Spain had exceeded 20,000 making it the country hardest hit by the pandemic after the United States and Italy.

A total of 20,043 people have now succumbed to the disease, which killed 565 people in Spain in the past 24 hours, slightly down on the 585 reported yesterday.

These deaths, along with those elsewhere in the continent, mean that the coronavirus has killed more than 100,000 people in Europe, nearly two thirds of the overall global death toll. 

With a total 100,501 deaths out of 1,136,672 infections, Europe is the hardest-hit continent by the Covid-19 pandemic, which has killed 157,163 worldwide.

The tallies are collated using date collected by AFP from national authorities and information from the World Health Organization (WHO).

Cases

Spain’s number of declared cases has risen to 191,726, the country’s health ministry said.

However, the increase in infections has slowed in recent days while the number deemed cured has risen to nearly 75,000.

Health officials say Spain has passed the peak of the Covid-19 outbreak, which killed up to 950 people on 2 April , and pressure has eased on hospitals.

But the toll, which covers only people who tested positive for the virus, is increasingly contested in some regions.

Officials there say thousands more people have died after showing symptoms of the disease without having been tested because there are not enough tests.

For example, Catalonia has reported that more than 7,800 people have died while the national toll for the region referred Saturday to more than 3,800.

Since 14 March, Spain has been under a strict lockdown that was extended until 25 April and is likely to run longer, though possibly with some measures lightened.

Spanish health official Fernando Simon told a daily press briefing: “Restrictions must be prolonged,” while adding that “they could be adapted” according to the situation.

The government has suggested however that certain economic sectors might not rebound before the end of the year, with crucial tourism the biggest question mark at the moment.

Madrid Mayor Jose Luis Martinez-Almeida told radio Onda Cero Saturday that no “mass gatherings” such as concerts or sports events would be held in Spain this summer.

© – AFP 2020

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