Spanish virus deaths jump 32% in one day

Members of the Military Emergency Unit disinfect Nuevos Ministerios subway station in Madrid on March 20. (AP pic)

MADRID: The coronavirus outbreak continues to accelerate in Spain despite a weeklong national lockdown, with deaths jumping more than 30% for a second day.

Fatalities rose by 324, or 32%, to 1,326 from the day earlier, according to Health Ministry data released Saturday, after an almost 31% gain the previous day.

Confirmed coronavirus cases rose by about 25% to 24,926, a far bigger jump than the 16% jump reported Friday.

The new data comes as the Mediterranean nation enters its second week of a state of emergency that has confined most people to their homes and has police patrolling the streets to enforce the lockdown.

With the pandemic straining the country’s health service, the regional government of Madrid, the epicentre of the outbreak in the country, has announced it will use hotels as makeshift hospitals.

To mitigate the economic impact of the virus, the Spanish government has introduced measures including an aid package for the tourism and transport industries and is guaranteeing up to €100 billion of loans to help banks free up credit for small- and medium-sized companies.

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