Spain overtakes China in coronavirus infections
MADRID: Spain overtook China in the number of those infected with coronavirus on Monday, as the government tightened restrictions on a population entering its third week under one of the strictest lockdowns in Europe.
Business leaders criticized Spain’s actions over the weekend to ban all non-essential work until mid-April and to extend for another two weeks a nationwide shutdown that has paralyzed industries like car manufacturing and tourism.
“If you stop the country, we’ll have a huge social problem within five months,” Antonio Garamendi, president of Spain’s business association, said in a television interview.
The total number of infections rose to 85,195 on Monday, above the 81,470 registered in China where the disease originated. An overnight death toll of 812 people brought fatalities in Spain from the virus to 7,340.
Still, the daily infection increase has slowed since the introduction of lockdown measures, falling to 12% on average in the past five days from around 20% in the preceding 10 days, said health emergency spokeswoman Maria Jose Sierra, brought in to substitute for her predecessor who has tested positive for the virus.
Madrid held a minute of silence for the victims of the disease, and Samuel Barber’s Adagio for Strings was played from loudspeakers at the town hall while the regional, Spanish and European Union flags flew at half mast. – Reuters