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COVID-19

Spain sees slight hike in daily coronavirus toll with 430 deaths

Spain saw a slight increase in the daily virus death toll on Tuesday, with 430 people dying in the past 24 hours, health ministry data showed.

Spain sees slight hike in daily coronavirus toll with 430 deaths
healthcare worker of the Medical Emergency Services of Madrid (SUMMA 112) UVI-6 unit visits a suspected covid-19 patient. Photo: AFP

So far, 21,282 people have succumbed to the pandemic in Spain, which has suffered the third-highest number of deaths in the world after the United States and Italy.

Officials say the numbers tend to go up slightly on Tuesdays following a slight delay in receiving data from the regions on deaths that have occurred over the weekend.

On Monday, Spain registered 399 deaths overnight in what was the lowest figure in four weeks.

The number of confirmed cases now stands at 204,178, the second-highest number in the world after the United States which has registered more than 750,000 infections.   


The overall number of hospitalizations (blue), admittance into ICU (yellow) deaths (red) and recoveries (green) are shown in the chart below, which reveals that the curve of the number of hospital admittances is flattening. Data: Ministry of Health.

Medical staff have been particularly exposed in Spain given the lack of protective equipment when the epidemic first took hold, with 31,788 cases among healthcare workers — just over 15 percent of the total, the figures showed. 


The graph shows the total number of confirmed cases across Spain.  Data: Ministry of Health.

But the number of people who have gotten over the disease has also risen with Spain counting 82,518 recoveries.

Spanish health officials believe the epidemic peaked on April 2nd when 950 people died over 24 hours, nearly three weeks after the government imposed a strict lockdown, effectively confining almost 47 million citizens at home to slow the spread of the virus.   

The March 14th lockdown has been twice extended with the government saying it would move for a fresh extension until May 9th, although conditions are to be slightly eased on April 27th to allow children to spend some time outside.

READ MORE: When will it be possible to travel to Spain again? 

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COVID-19

Did Sweden’s state epidemiologist really get a big job at the WHO?

For his supporters, it was well-deserved, for his detractors a case of failing upwards. But when Sweden's Public Health Agency announced this month that state epidemiologist Anders Tegnell was taking a job at the World Health Organisation, both sides assumed it was true.

Did Sweden's state epidemiologist really get a big job at the WHO?

Now, it seems, the job might not be there after all. 

At the start of this month, Sweden’s Public Health Agency announced that Anders Tegnell was resigning to take up a post coordinating vaccine work with the World Health Organisation in Geneva. 

“I’ve worked with vaccines for 30 years and have at the same time always been inspired by international issues,” Tegnell said in the release. “Now I will have the chance to contribute to this comprehensive international work.”

During the first and second waves of the Covid-19 pandemic, Tegnell shot immediately from obscurity into the spotlight, gaining such celebrity status in Sweden that one fan had his profile tattooed onto his arm.

Internationally he was hailed by lockdown sceptics for his reasoned arguments against overly restrictive measures to control the spread of the virus. 

His new WHO appointment was reported all over the world. 

But on Tuesday, the Svenska Daglabdet newspaper revealed that the job had not yet been awarded. A spokesperson for the WHO said at a press conference in Geneva that “there is some confusion”, and that “this is an internal question.” 

According to the newspaper, there is even “a certain level of irritation” behind the scenes at the WHO that Sweden acted too soon and dispatched Tegnell to a job that did not actually exist yet. 

“We have received an offer from Sweden, which is still under discussion,” the organisation’s press spokesperson, Fadela Chaib, told the newspaper. 

On Thursday, the Public Health Agency’s press chief Christer Janson conceded that there had been a mistake and that the negotiation had not been completed.  

“We believed it was done, but it wasn’t,” he told Expressen in an interview. “It’s been a much longer process to get this completed than we thought. There’s been a misunderstanding and we regret that.” 

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