Spain's COVID-19 cases top 1 mln

Joanna Estrada
October 22, 2020

Spain has recorded more than one million coronavirus cases, becoming the first western European country to pass that landmark figure.

Health ministry data showed total cases had reached 1,005,295, rising by 16,973 from the previous day. The Mediterranean country doubled its tally in just six weeks despite the government's fresh restrictions on public life to curb the spread of the disease.

Tuesday's total of 20,468 brought the national figure to more than 973,000 while nearly 34,000 people have died after catching coronavirus.

Spain's coronavirus infection rate began to climb rapidly in late August, and began hitting 10,000 cases a day after a slowdown in positive tests over the summer.

Spain now becomes only the sixth nation to reach the one million mark and the first in Europe, the others being; United States with 8.1 million infections and 218,641 deaths, India with 7.6 million infected people (115,914 deaths), Brazil with 1.4 million infected and 154,176 deaths, Russian Federation with 1.4 million and 24,635 deaths, and Argentina, 1,002,662 infected and 26,716 deaths which, according to the World Health Organization, only passed the million mark on Tuesday.

The new wave of contagion has been less deadly than in late March and April and the height of the health crisis, when fatalities routinely exceeded 800 per day, as the median age of new infections has dropped. "Some very hard weeks are coming".

Health Minister Salvador Illa confirmed that the country is in dripped under the pandemic again, and if "tough measures" are not enacted, the second wave could be worse than the first phase of pandemic.

Spain, along with most other parts of Europe, is facing a second wave of the pandemic. La Rioja will also close its regional borders on Saturday.

As infections have picked up, Spanish regional authorities started imposing fresh restrictions.

Earlier this month, Madrid's centre-right authorities successfully had a partial lockdown imposed on the capital overturned in court. Over 3900 patients have required hospitalisation over the past week, with 274 needing intensive care, the ministry said.

"Health care staff are exhausted and angry, many doctors feel that more should have been done in June, July and August to not let the public health system become overburdened as it is now", she added.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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