Coronavirus in Spain full update (8 May)

CORONAVIRUS in SPAIN – todays figures

The latest official figures* for Coronavirus (Covid-19) released by Spains Health Ministry in Madrid at 12 noon on Friday 8 May confirm that 26,299 people have now died from the pandemic in Spain, up by 229 on yesterday.

Thursday had seen an increase of 213 Coronavirus-related deaths over Wednesday. Wednesday had been an increase of 244 over Tuesday. Tuesday had been 185.

The current peak of recorded deaths related to Coronavirus in a 24-hour period in Spain was on 2 April, when 950 deaths were registered.

Official figures released daily by the Spanish Health Ministry are for the total number of people who have tested positive for Coronavirus only through a PCR test (polymerase chain reaction). That figure for Friday 8 May is 222,857 – an increase of 1,095 over yesterday.

Thursdays figure for the increase of infections tested only though PCR had been 754 over Wednesday. Wednesdays comparative figure had been 685 over Tuesday. Tuesday had been 867.

A total figure also released today by the ministry for those who have tested positive through PCR and antibody testing, however, is 260,117 (222,857 PCR; 37,260 antibody).

The current peak of recorded infections for a 24-hour period in Spain was on 31 March, when 9,222 new cases were registered (including from PCR and antibody).

131,148 people have now made a full recovery.

With regards the official figures released by the central Health Ministry for each region of Spain, there have been discrepancies in the data released independently by some of those regions, particularly for Madrid and Catalonia. Please refer to *Health Ministry data and regional discrepancies below.

Of the official figures released by the ministry today – and based only on the total 222,857 confirmed cases through PCR testing – there are now 64,333 cases in the Madrid region and where 8,552 have died (from the total 26,299 across the country). There are now 51,733 cases in Catalonia and where 5,471 have died.

There are now 13,101 known cases in the Basque Country (1,390 deaths), 12,287 in Andalusia (1,301), 16,237 in Castilla La Mancha (2,713) and 10,619 in the Valencia region (1,309).

Figures for those infected with Coronavirus in other regions are now as follows: Aragón 5,274 (815 deaths), Asturias 2,336 (292 deaths), Balearic Islands 1,935 (202), Canary Islands 2,240 (148), Cantabria 2,232 (201), Castilla y León 17,716 (1,876), Ceuta 109 (4), Extremadura 2,900 (472), Galicia 9,184 (588), Melilla 119 (2), Murcia 1,504 (137), Navarra 5,006 (484) and La Rioja 3,992 (343).

A full breakdown in Spanish of the data per region, together with age group statistics can be found by clicking here. Please also see Health Ministry data and discrepancies below.


The Madrid regional government paid tribute to victims of Coronavirus during the annual Dos de Mayo festival in the city last Saturday 2 May. (Photo Comunidad de Madrid)

CORONAVIRUS in SPAIN – latest updates

Spain started Phase Zero of the governments four phase de-escalation plans to lift lockdown restrictions from Monday 4 May – and which was to last for at least a week.

We have published all the key rules and measures regarding the four phases in a separate report, together with the current phase status for each region. It is regularly updated as and when new measures are officially announced. The report can be found here: Lifting of lockdown in Spain – full details of all phases for all regions.

Madrid to Phase One?

All of Spains regions have now sent their proposals for the next phase of the de-escalation plan to the central Health Ministry.

Most regions have requested to move to Phase One, effective from Monday 11 May. The Health Ministry will have the final say on each region and it is expected to announce the decisions on Friday or Saturday.

Madrid has requested to move to Phase One for the whole region. The decision, however, has been controversial and already provoked the resignation of the director of public health for the Comunidad de Madrid regional government, Yolanda Fuentes.

Madrid is governed by the right-wing Peoples Party (PP) with the Ciudadanos (Cs) party. The regional president, Isabel Díaz Ayuso (PP), had doubts about moving to Phase One, yet vice-president Ignacio Aguado (Cs) insisted that the region was ready. Madrids proposal includes making the wearing of face masks compulsory in closed spaces.

It is being reported in the Spanish media on Friday morning that the Health Ministry is likely to turn down Madrids request to move to Phase One on Monday. We will update on this when we have further details.

Meanwhile, however, Madrid City Council announced on Thursday that several small parks in the capital would reopen on Friday in order to provide more space when people are allowed to go for walks and take exercise.

A total of 170 parks are reopening. The Casa de Campo, El Retiro park and Madrid Río will remain closed.

Barcelona to remain in Phase Zero

The Spanish government initially established plans for the de-escalation of restrictions to be carried out by region and province. However, Catalonia and Castilla y León have proposed that it should be done by healthcare zones. Health Minister Salvador Illa will also study these options.

Alba Vergés, responsible for the Catalan governments health department, said earlier in the week that not all areas of Catalonia would move through the four phases of the de-escalation plan at the same time.

Catalonia has chosen to keep Barcelona, Girona and parts of Lleida in Phase Zero for now. It has instead suggested that three areas move to Phase One on Monday. These are based around Catalonias healthcare zones and include the province of Tarragona and part of Lleida (Terres de lEbre, Camp de Tarragona and Alt Pirineu i Aran), which are at low risk of an outbreak.

Whilst Barcelona remains in Phase Zero, Barcelona City Council has reopened its beaches to the public from Friday morning.

People are only allowed to walk and practise individual sports – and only during the morning permitted exercise hours, between 6-10 am.

The beaches are reserved for accredited professional athletes during the evening exercise time slots of 8-11 pm. No lifeguards are working, and nor are there any showers or changing rooms available.

We are currently updating this report.

ALSO READ: Lifting of lockdown in Spain – full details of all phases for all regions

State of alarm extended to 24 May

On Wednesday Spain voted to officially extend the current state of alarm lockdown in the country until 24 May. It is the fourth time that the lockdown has been extended, after originally starting on 14 March.

The overall lockdown will continue at least until 24 May whilst Spain also continues with the four phase de-escalation plan of gradually lifting restrictions, depending on the progress of each region.

On Thursday, Spains first deputy prime minister Carmen Calvo said in an interview that it was almost certain that Spain would still need some more weeks of lockdown even further than 24 May.

*Health Ministry data

Since 24 April, the Spanish Health Ministry changed its criteria for presenting Coronavirus statistics. The official daily figure for the number of infections is now for those tested only via PCR (polymerase chain reaction).

The ministry has also stipulated to Spains regional health authorities how the overall data should be collated, as some regions had been using different methods to collate their own figures.

In Catalonia, for example, the regional health department had only previously been counting figures for those who had died from Coronavirus in hospitals. This was then changed to include figures for those who had also died in nursing homes, social health centres or elderly residences, as well as at home.

Following discrepancies in the way that data has been collated, the Spanish government published an order in its Boletín Oficial del Estado (BOE) to clarify the criteria that must be used.

All regions must now report deaths and intensive care unit (ICU) admissions in the same way. A victim can only be counted in the death tally if they have tested positive for Covid-19 via a PCR (polymerase chain reaction testing) or rapid test.

Spanish Health Minister Salvador Illa
Spanish Health Minister Salvador Illa

The Health Ministry also requests each region to send in the total number of infections divided into symptomatic and asymptomatic cases. In addition, they also require the number of PCR tests carried out from each region, the total number of people that have required hospital treatment, including intensive care, as well as the number of patients who have been discharged.

Salvador Illa, the Spanish Health Minister, said that, Spain is following a very strict definition of cases in line with international authorities, including the World Health Organization (WHO) and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC). Anyone who tests positive for Covid-19 and then dies is considered a Coronavirus fatality.

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