Spain’s Virus Deaths Pass 50,000 Amid Holiday Restrictions

Spain became the fourth European country to record more than 50,000 coronavirus deaths as nations across the region start to roll out a vaccine.

Fatalities from the disease rose to 50,122 on Monday, according to Health Ministry figures. Some 408 people have died from the virus in the past week. Cases diagnosed over the last 24 hours amounted to 2,822, bringing the total to 1.88 million.

Spain is one of the countries in Europe to be hit hardest by the pandemic, forcing the government to impose a state of emergency in March. When it emerged from a strict national lockdown three months later, management of the pandemic was placed in the hands of regional governments.

Spain’s Virus Deaths Pass 50,000 Amid Holiday Restrictions

While some regions ordered restrictions on movement and curfews as cases increase again, Spain hasn’t reimposed a strict lockdown like those seen in the U.K. and France in recent weeks.

The number of people dying from the virus has been slowing since November, according to Fernando Simon, the head of Spain’s medical emergency response center. However, data gathered over the holiday period can have gaps in reporting, he said at a press conference.

“We had a death rate of 1% to 1.5% in the past few weeks and in the last few days we’ve seen a rate of 0.8%, which is a good indicator that we’re making a significant effort to guarantee detection” of the virus, Simon said.

The infection rate is higher than desired, but recent data suggests that the number of cases is stabilizing, as are hospitalizations, Simon said.

Still, authorities are telling Spaniards to avoid travel between regions and gatherings of more than 10 people over the holiday season. Spain’s economy is lagging behind major euro-area peers, with a contraction of 12% expected this year. Debt is mounting and unemployment is expected to remain around 20% for at least the next two years.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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