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Spain sees 900 new deaths in 24 hours as death toll nears 11,000 fatalities

Spain is currently dealing with over 117,000 confirmed cases of the virus.

Health workers wear protective suits to protect from coronavirus work at a nursing home in Madrid, Spain.
Health workers wear protective suits to protect from coronavirus work at a nursing home in Madrid, Spain.

MORE THAN 900 people have died in Spain over the past 24 hours for the second day running, government figures showed today, although the rate of new infections and deaths continued to slow. 

Spain has the world’s second-highest death toll after Italy with the virus so far claiming 10,935 lives – 932 in the past day – from 117,710 confirmed cases.

But health ministry figures confirm a consistent downward trend in the rate of new cases and fatalities. 

The latest numbers show the rate of infection up by 6.8%, compared with 7.9% on Thursday and 20 percent in the middle of last week. 

And the daily rise in deaths also slowed to 9.3% today, down from 10.5% on Thursday, and a big drop from the 27% increase on 25 March.

Spain is the second-worst hit European country after Italy which has seen 14,000 deaths as a result of the virus. 

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte continued to call for supports from the EU.

Today, he extended his feud about coronavirus money with EU Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen in the pages of a newspaper.

“Dear Ursula,” he wrote in a letter to La Repubblica, “I hear ideas (from you) not worthy of Europe. The decisions we make today will be remembered for years.”

He called for “more ambition, more unity and more courage” from the EU, in response to a letter from von der Leyen in the same paper on Thursday where she had promised more support for Italy.

Conte wants the whole bloc to share the risk by issuing billions of euros in so-called coronabonds, helping Italy to borrow more cheaply to fight a pandemic that has killed nearly 14,000 people and shattered the country’s economy.

Von der Leyen has sided with Germany and some other northern European countries, who argue that pooled risk could raise their borrowing costs.

She prefers an EU-wide guarantee that could raise €100 billion for the specific purpose of helping national unemployment schemes.

Conte said he “welcomed” the EU’s initiative but made it clear that he still wanted the coronabonds.

“When fighting a war, you must do everything possible to win and equip yourself with all the tools needed for the reconstruction,” Conte wrote.

This required “innovative tools such as the European Recovery Bonds”.

He said the bonds were “useful to finance the extraordinary efforts that Europe will have to put in place” and “are in no way aimed at sharing the debt that each of our countries has inherited from the past”.

EU leaders failed to find a common response last week and gave their finance ministers until next Thursday to agree on something useful.

Von der Leyen’s Latvian deputy Valdis Dombrovskis told La Repubblica newspaper Friday that nothing was being ruled.

“We are open to every option,” Dombrovskis wrote. “We need an ambitious, coordinated and effective response.”

Italy’s toll from the new disease reached 13,915 yesterday, more than any other country.

Its three-week lockdown to stop the spread has been extended through at least mid-April and its economy is expected to suffer its biggest peacetime shock since World War II.

Civil protection service chief Angelo Borrelli told RAI television that Italians would probably “have to stay at home for many more weeks”.

© – AFP 2020

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