Spanish Coronavirus Death Toll Jumps by 235 in Past 24 Hours

(Bloomberg) --

The novel coronavirus has claimed 235 lives in Spain over the past 24 hours as the death toll surged past 1,000 almost a week into a nationwide lockdown.

The grimmest day yet of the Spanish outbreak raised the total death toll by 31% to 1,002, Health Ministry official Fernando Simon said at a briefing Friday. The number of confirmed cases increased by 17% to 19,980. Although the day-on-day rise was smaller than on Thursday, that may be down to limited testing.

“It’s quite possible that the data underestimates reality,” Simon said.

Spain has introduced measures including an aid package for the tourism and transport industries and is guaranteeing up to 100 billion euros ($107 billion) of loans to help banks free up credit for small- and medium-sized companies. The government imposed a state of emergency on March 14, confining people to their homes for all but essential errands.

The government has indicated that the lockdown, scheduled to last for two weeks, may be extended as cases continue to rise.

The number of people admitted to intensive care rose to 1,141 on Friday, putting a strain on the country’s public health care system. In Madrid, epicenter of the Spanish outbreak, the regional government has begun using hotels as makeshift hospitals.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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