World, Europe

Spain mulls curfew as infections increase nearly 14K

11% of hospital beds, 21.5% of intensive care units occupied by COVID-19 patients

Alyssa McMurtry   | 20.10.2020
Spain mulls curfew as infections increase nearly 14K

OVIEDO, Spain

Coronavirus infections in Spain continue to accelerate, with health officials reporting 13,873 new cases Tuesday.

The number of confirmed cases tends to increase as the week progresses, and it is the highest-ever infection figure for a Tuesday. Overall, it is the third-largest daily surge during the pandemic.

Hospitalizations have also reached a new high in the second wave -- with 13,288 COVID-19 patients using 11% of hospital beds and 21.5% of intensive care units.

Another 218 people have died, bringing the number of lives lost to COVID-19 to 34,210.

According to US-based Johns Hopkins University, Spain’s total death toll has surpassed Peru’s to rank seventh highest in the world.

Faced with “hard weeks ahead,” in the words of Health Minister Salvador Illa, Spanish authorities are mulling stricter measures.

In Madrid, where a state of emergency is set to expire later this week, the regional health minister said a curfew is being considered from midnight to 6 a.m. local time (2200GMT to 0400GMT).

Illa said Tuesday that the Ministry of Health was also considering a curfew for Madrid and beyond, but said a state of emergency would be needed to make the restrictions legal.

To maintain a nationwide state of emergency, Spain’s minority coalition government needs the backing every 15 days from Spanish Parliament, which proved complicated during the first wave.

When the central government unilaterally declared a state of alarm in Madrid on Oct. 9, regional officials and political opponents called the move “totalitarian.”

Illa said that the government will not ask parties to back a prolonged state of emergency in Madrid this week.

Top Spanish health officials will meet regional leaders Thursday to discuss a way forward.

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