Spain PM says virus battle plan 'is working'

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Spain PM says virus battle plan 'is working'

Sunday, November 22, 2020

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MADRID,Spain(AFP)— Spain's strategy to curb a rise in coronavirus infections "is working", Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said Sunday as he unveiled details of plans to vaccinate much of the population next year.

The country has recorded less than 400 COVID-19 cases per 100,000 inhabitants over the last 14 days, compared to nearly 530 cases at the start of the month, he told a news conference after a two-day online summit of G20 leaders.

This is proof that the declaration of a state of emergency last month, which allowed regional governments to impose virus restrictions such as nighttime curfews and limitations on inter-regional travel, is having an effect, he said.

"The strategy is working," he said, adding Spain has managed to reduce cases without imposing a second lockdown as has been done in several other European nations.

Sanchez on Friday announced ambitious plans to vaccinate "a very substantial part" of Spain's population of 47 million by mid-2021.

He said Sunday that the campaign would start in January and involve 13,000 vaccination points across the country.

The prime minister recalled that 14 million people received the flu shot in just eight weeks this year, compared to 10 million last year.

"The capacity which our national health service has to vaccinate in a short amount of time is frankly outstanding and gives us confidence that we can achieve this ambitious goal," Sanchez said.

"We still have very difficult months ahead but the road map has been drawn up."

More details of the plan, which has been in development since September, would be unveiled after it is approved on Tuesday during a weekly cabinet meeting, Sanchez said.

Spain has been badly hit by the pandemic, suffering more than 1.5 million confirmed infections -- the European Union's second-highest number after France.

The virus has also claimed 42,619 lives in Spain, the fourth highest toll after the UK, Italy and France.


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