A locked-down Spain continued to edge closer to Iran as health officials announced Wednesday more than 2,500 coronavirus cases were recorded overnight, bringing up the tally well past 13,000.
Health officials reported there were 2,538 additional COVID-19 cases across Spain since Tuesday, bringing the rally to at least 13,716. There have been at least 558 deaths nationwide.
That’s up from the at least 11,178 cases and 309 deaths in the country announced Tuesday by Spanish health emergency center director, Fernando Simón.
CORONAVIRUS CASES TOP 200,000 WORLDWIDE, DEATH TOLL PASSES 8,000
Spain remains the fourth most coronavirus infected-nation, edging closer to Iran in third with at least 16,169 cases recorded Wednesday morning. At least 1,135 people have died in the Islamic Republic.
The total number of confirmed cases of coronavirus worldwide surpassed 200,000 on Wednesday, according to Johns Hopkins University. The death toll topped 8,000.
The Johns Hopkins Center for Systems Science and Engineering’s online tally also showed more than 82,000 people have recovered.
In a similar move with other world leaders, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez called on Spaniards Wednesday to band together to wage “war” against the novel virus by taking necessary precautions, involving staying indoors.
He made the comments addressing a nearly empty Parliament – where only 28 lawmakers, compared to the usual 350-member assembly, sat apart from one another to limit the risk of infection.
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“We have never lived through anything like this. And our society, which had grown used to changes that expand our possibilities of knowledge, health, and life, now finds itself in a war to defend all we have taken for granted,” Sanchez told Parliament Wednesday, according to CNA.
Meanwhile, Sanchez’s wife, Begoña Gómez, tested positive with COVID-19 and is “following prevention measures established by the health authorities” inside La Moncloa prime ministerial palace in Madrid.
Spain’s minister for territorial policy, Carolina Darias, and the equality minister, Irene Montero, have also tested positive for the virus. They both had attended a Madrid march in honor of International Women’s Day last week.
The Spanish government received criticism for allowing the marches across the country, which involved large gathering amid the outbreak.
Spanish health minister Salvador Illa announced Monday the government would be seizing all private hospitals and health care providers, requisitioning medical supplies such as COVID-19 tests and masks, The Guardian reported. He added that fourth-year medical students in Spain would be asked to help the national health service, Politico reported.
Following Italy’s lead last week, Spain declared a national emergency and imposed a country-wide lockdown, closing schools and most public places and ordering its 46 million population not to leave home unless they were visiting the grocery, hospital or pharmacy.
The World Health Organization has declared Europe the new epicenter of the global pandemic of the coronavirus, which originated in the city of Wuhan in China’s Hubei province.
The European Union announced Tuesday it was sealing its borders for its 26 member states as well as Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland, banning travel from the bloc for 30 days, the BBC reported. That came the same day France announced a nationwide lockdown, following suit from Italy and Spain, as part of an effort to curb the spread of infection.
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Italy entered its second week of a nationwide lockdown by implementing new measures Tuesday that require Italians to fill out a police-issued self-declaration form before going outside. Residents must state who they are, where they intend to go, and for what reason. The form also requires residents to disclose that they have not tested positive for COVID-19 and are not currently taking part in a 14-day quarantine.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.