Europe, Latest on coronavirus outbreak

COVID-19: Spain deaths top 1,000, cases near 20,000

Government reports 235 deaths over 24 hours, more than 10,500 people currently hospitalized in Spain

Alyssa McMurtry   | 20.03.2020
COVID-19: Spain deaths top 1,000, cases near 20,000

OVIEDO, Spain 

The coronavirus death toll in Spain climbed to 1,002 on Friday, while the number of confirmed cases in the country rose to nearly 20,000, according to a government statement.

The latest figures show a dramatic surge in fatalities as there were 235 deaths reported across Spain over the past 24 hours.

Just a week ago, the death toll in the entire country was 102.

The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Spain also continues to skyrocket, reaching 19,980 on Friday.

More than half of the patients -- 10,542 -- are currently hospitalized and 1,141 are in intensive care units, as per government data.

Spain has been on lockdown since last Saturday night, with people only allowed to leave their houses for essential purchases or necessary work.

“The number of detentions has been increasing. There will be zero tolerance in the face of non-compliance,” José Angel Gonzalez Jimenez, joint director of Spain’s National Police, said on Friday.

He said more than 50 people were detained over the past 24 hours for violating lockdown measures.

Spanish authorities are also monitoring social media platforms for misinformation campaigns and fake reports, including forged government statements.

Every night at 8 p.m. (1900GMT), people across the country are out on balconies and at windows to applaud the country’s health workers dealing with the escalating crisis.

Spain is the second-worst affected country in Europe, where the spread of the virus continues to follow a trajectory similar to Italy.

“Difficult days are coming soon. Please, do not let down your guard,” said Fernando Simón, the director of Spain’s emergency services, at a news conference on Friday.

According to data compiled by the U.S.-based Johns Hopkins University, more than 245,000 cases and over 10,000 deaths have been recorded worldwide since the virus emerged in Wuhan, China, last December.

The data shows more than 86,000 people have recovered after contracting COVID-19.

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