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16 Apr 2020 | 07:08 AM UTC

Spain: Government confirms more than 180,000 COVID-19 cases nationwide April 15 /update 15

Health Ministry reports 5183 new COVID-19 cases nationwide in a 24-hour period on April 15; further spread of the virus expected in the near term

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Event

On Wednesday, April 15, as of 21:00 (local time), the Health Ministry confirmed 5183 new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases over a 24-hour period, bringing the total number of cases nationwide to 182,816. Spain remains the country with the second-highest number of infections globally, following the United States. The death toll increased by 551 in the 24-hour time span, reaching 19,130 fatalities, while 74,797 individuals have recovered since the beginning of the pandemic.

The Spanish government relaxed COVID-19 lockdown measures on Monday, April 13, allowing some construction work and manufacturing operations to resume. However, most restrictions will remain in place until at least Sunday, April 21, such as the closure of schools, bars, restaurants, and most shops. All social gatherings continue to be prohibited, and police officers have been deployed to enforce the orders. Residents are being ordered to restrict all movement except for going to work for essential employees, hospitals or health centers, and financial institutions, and shopping for groceries, pharmaceuticals, and other primary necessities. Non-essential employees have been instructed to stay home as a precautionary measure. All foreign nationals have been prohibited from entering the country; only Spanish citizens and residents will be allowed to enter. Land borders remain open for individuals who wish to leave the country.

An ongoing state of emergency is in effect until at least Sunday, April 26. Under the state of emergency, the government is granted exceptional powers to limit the free movement of people and vehicles, and ration goods and services, among other powers.

Further international spread of the virus is to be expected over the near term.

Context

The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (China). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.

Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 a pandemic.

Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and labored breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.

Advice

Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone nonessential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.

To reduce the general risk of COVID-19 transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:

  • Frequently clean hands by using alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water.
  • When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
  • If experiencing a fever, cough, difficulty breathing, or any other symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness, including pneumonia, call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the disease.