Spanish death toll starts rising again after 743 lose fight to coronavirus

Spain’s coronavirus death rate has started increasing again after falling for four consecutive days.

Another 743 patients have lost their lives over the past 24 hours, bringing the total number of fatalities in the country to 13,798. The health ministry said total number of Covid-19 cases rose to 140,510 from 135,032 yesterday.

Although Spain has had the highest number of deaths in the world after Italy its figures were beginning to fall last week. On Thursday the daily rate peaked, with 950 people succumbing to the disease.

Over the weekend Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez extended the country’s state of emergency to April 15 to give the country’s healthcare system some breathing space and he is set to ask parliament to lengthen it again. Care homes for senior citizens in the region of Catalonia have been hit particularly hard by the pandemic, with 338 deaths recorded since Friday and 909 since the outbreak began.

As well as an unexpected upturn in the number of single-day deaths, 5,478 new cases were recorded in the past 24 hours compared 4,273 the day before. However this was down slightly on the 6,023 announced on Sunday.

Deputy emergency health director Maria Jose Sierra insisted Spain was still on the right track despite the rise.

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Blaming it on an accumulation of cases which had not been reported from the weekend, she said: ‘The increase in cases is 4 per cent on yesterday. This is due to the weekend adjustment. It is still a downwards tendency.

‘The regional health authorities tell us they’re starting to see a reduction in the pressure on hospital intensive care units.’

Spain’s Parliament is expected to approve a two-week extension of the state of emergency to April 26 on Thursday.

Hard right-wing party Vox has said it will refuse to back the Prime Minister’s attempt to extend the country’s four-week lockdown by voting against it or abstaining.

But two mainstream opposition party leaders, including Pablo Casado who heads the right-wing Popular Party, have already said they will support it.

Sanchez has asked the presidents of the country’s 17 autonomous regions to send him a list by the end of this week of private and public centres that could be use to house Covid-19 patients who do not need hospital treatment.

It is unclear at this stage whether government ministers will be able to force people to quarantine in the buildings, which are expected to include hotels which would normally have been housing tourists at this time of the year.

Additional reporting by Natalia Penza.

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