Spain becomes first EU nation with one million virus cases

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Spain becomes first EU nation with one million virus cases

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

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MADRID,Spain(AFP) — Spain has become the first European Union nation to surpass a million coronavirus infections, official data showed Wednesday, as the government mulls fresh restrictions on public life to curb the spread of the disease.

The country recorded 16,973 confirmed cases of COVID-19 over the past 24 hours, the health ministry announced, taking the total to 1,005,295 since its first case was diagnosed on January 31 on the remote island of La Gomera in the Canary Islands.

Of this number, 34,366 people have died, after 156 more deaths were recorded in the previous 24 hours.

Spain, which is home to around 47 million people, is only the sixth country in the world to cross this grim milestone after the United States, India, Brazil, Russia and Argentina, according to an AFP tally based on official figures.

The new wave of contagion has been less deadly than in late March and April and the height of health crisis, when fatalities routinely exceeded 800 per day, as the median age of new infections has dropped.

But with healthcare workers warning the spike could once again overwhelm hospitals, Health Minister Salvador Illa said Tuesday the government is considering several new measures, including night time curfews such as those recently put in place in France and Belgium.

"We are facing very tough weeks ahead, winter is coming, the second wave is no longer a threat, it is a reality across Europe," he told a news conference, adding the government was "open to everything" to contain the virus.


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