- Catalonia continues to be the community causing most concern with outbreaks in Lleida and L’Hospitalet
Communities continue to report new outbreaks of coronavirus, which have now reached more than one hundred across Spain, those of greatest concern continuing to be in Lleida, where there are around twenty outbreaks, Galicia and the Basque Country, where on Sunday, despite fears of the risk of added contagion, over a million people were expected to turn out to vote in regional elections.
The number of active sources of the virus was confirmed on Saturday by the Minister of Health, Salvador Illa, who was speaking at the National Council of the PSC, the Socialist Party of Catalonia conference, saying that outbreaks will be inevitable “as long as there is no vaccine or available treatment.”
He particularly called for caution in Catalonia which is currently the community that is most affected by the pandemic.
There, the Government has extended the confinement in care homes across the entire health region of Lleida, while it has reported a worrying rise in infections in L’Hospitalet de Llobregat, a densely populated city close to Barcelona that is currently suffering from an outbreak of more than a hundred cases.
In Lleida, where there are about twenty outbreaks, twelve of them in fruit and vegetable companies and four in nursing homes. A spokesman for the Arnau University Hospital in Vilanova de Lleida, which is already under severe strain, said he is concerned that during the next week the pressure of the disease could saturate the city’s health services.
In total there are 89 people in hospital with covid-19 in the most affected region of Lleida, Segrià, where, on Friday 280 new cases were diagnosed, the highest number since the confinement of the 210,000 inhabitants across the area’s 38 municipalities.
And in L’Hospitalet de Llobregat, 107 new cases have been diagnosed in the last week, many of them in a nursing home in the town.
The situation in Galicia and the Basque Country is also of concern. The Galician region now has 259 active cases of the virus, where the province of Lugo suffers the bulk with 203 cases, 186 of which are in the partially confined area of A Mariña, a town of 80,000 people, which in reporting the story last week was inexplicably mistaken by the British press for La Marina, San Fulgencio.
The Basque Country is the other region with an outbreak that has also focused attention in recent days, in Ordizia, where on Saturday there were 70 infections.
In both Galicia and in the Basque Country, those infected with the virus were prohibited from voting in Sunday’s Regional elections, a decision that was endorsed on Saturday by the Supreme Court, in the case of Galicia, and the Central Electoral Board, in the case of the Basque Country.
Infected voters have been told that they will commit a crime against public health if they go to the polls. Healthy voters, meanwhile, have been told that they must wear face masks and keep safety distances.
The mandatory use of masks is also being increasingly adopted in other communities. Catalonia, the Balearic Islands, Aragón and Extremadura have already ordered their compulsory use and other communities such as Asturias, Cantabria, Murcia and Andalusia, whose president is going to propose the measure to the regional technical committee on Monday, are considering doing the same.
The province of Alicante has registered five new cases of coronavirus in the last day, although it is still free of outbreaks. Across the Valencian Community, 24 new cases have been confirmed, the vast majority in the province of Valencia, where there is also one new outbreak, a family of seven in the town of Foios.
In the outbreak in the city of Castellón, 4 new cases have been confirmed, bringing the total number of people affected to 35, although the traceability of all cases is known.
In the outbreak of the Rafelbunyol meat company, of the 117 latest tests carried out, 112 tests are clear while there are five other results still pending.
The Community has now seen three consecutive days without any deaths from the virus although 1,476 people are infected, of which 512 are in the province of Alicante. However of those only 18 are currently hospitalised, 4 in ICU, with the remaining 494 confined to their homes.
At the present time there are no active cases in the province’s 100 care homes.
Three coronavirus outbreaks are also currently active in Murcia. The largest of the three has led to 38 cases and is linked to a person from Bolivia, which was spread to a fruit picking company. The other two were reported on Thursday.
What is an outbreak?
An outbreak is defined by the ministry of health as a group of three or more infections with an epidemiological link. It is considered active if there has been transmission within the last 14 days. In the case of infections detected in care homes, one positive case is considered an outbreak, even if the patient is asymptomatic, due to the high level of risk.