Spanish Deaths Rise, Suggesting Virus Not Yet Under Control

Rodrigo Orihuela

(Bloomberg) --

Spain reported an increase in daily coronavirus deaths and new cases, suggesting the government has yet to bring the disease under control.

There were 5,478 new infections in the 24 hours through Tuesday, the highest since Sunday and taking the total to 140,510, according to Health Ministry data. The death toll rose by 743 to 13,798, a larger gain than Monday’s 637 and the most since Saturday. Still, the number of new fatalities was lower than every day last week and the figure is likely inflated by lower levels of data reporting over the weekend.

Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez’s government has struggled to address one of Europe’s worst outbreaks despite weeks of severe restrictions on public life. Hospitals have been stretched to breaking point, with a shortage of intensive care beds, and the army has been mobilized to assist.

Sanchez will chair a cabinet meeting later on Tuesday to discuss a planned two-week extension to the state of emergency that started March 14 and is due to end on April 11. The measure requires parliamentary approval but is expected to receive broad cross-party support.

Sanchez has faced growing criticism from opposition leaders and former allies for his management of the crisis and his proposals to revive the ailing economy. Approval for the government’s performance since the start of the emergency has fallen to 28% from 35%, according to a poll by GAD3 published April 6.

Spain has one of the most stringent stay-at-home regimes in Europe. Unless they are going to work, people are only allowed to leave their homes alone to shop for essentials and exercising in public spaces is banned.

(Updates with context in second paragraph)

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