Spain becomes first western European country to hit one million Covid cases

21 October 2020, 18:33 | Updated: 21 October 2020, 19:44

Spain has become the first western European country to hit one million Covid cases
Spain has become the first western European country to hit one million Covid cases. Picture: PA
Nick Hardinges

By Nick Hardinges

Spain has become the first western European country to hit one million cases of coronavirus.

The nation's Covid-19 tally has doubled in the space of just six weeks, taking the total number of infections in Spain to 1,005,295.

A further 16,973 cases were reported on Wednesday, according to the Spanish health ministry.

The rate of transmission in the Iberian country began rapidly climbing in late August, with more than 10,000 daily cases occurring regularly following a slow down in cases.

Over the past week, there have been a further 575 deaths, with the toll in Spain now standing at 34,366.

Experts say the real number of infections and deaths is probably much higher due to insufficient testing, asymptomatic cases and other issues that impede the authorities from capturing the true scale of the outbreak.

Watch: Caller in Spain instructs Brits to 'stop moaning' over mandatory masks

Read more: Downing Street reopens Brexit trade talks with EU

Caller in Spain brings context to proposed UK rules on masks

It comes as the government considers a curfew on the population in order to curb the second wave of coronavirus.

In the capital, where almost a third of all infections have occurred, there has been a stand-off with central government over how best to limit the rising number of cases.

Madrid's regional president Isabel Díaz Ayuso promised “surgical measures to bring together the economy and health” while speaking on Wednesday morning.

She said: “For us, the most important thing is that the economy doesn’t suffer any more.”

Neighbouring France is also nearing the one-million-mark and will likely hit the grim milestone in the coming days.

Following a record daily high of more than 30,000 cases on Friday, there are now 999,744 confirmed infections, while the country's death toll is at 34,072.

As a result, President Emmanuel Macron is extending the coronavirus state of emergency until February 2021.

Scientists discover symptoms which predict Long Covid

Meanwhile, 20 countries across the continent have now set new daily case records, including the UK, which saw another 26,688 positive tests on Wednesday.

The other countries include Armenia, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Greece, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, North Macedonia, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Switzerland and Ukraine.

As the numbers rise in Spain, health policy authorities are already tightening restrictions.

They want to stem the surge that has been building in recent months while avoiding a second total lockdown of home confinements that stemmed the first wave of the virus but left the economy reeling.

Read more: Spain imposes state of emergency in virus-hit Madrid

Read more: France declares state of emergency due to Covid-19

German MEP's scathing attack on Boris Johnson over Brexit

The regional government of northern Aragon announced on Wednesday it has closed the city limits of Zaragoza, Huesca and Teruel.

Neighbouring Navarra, which leads Spain in infections per 100,000 over 14 days, is preparing to become the first Spanish region to close its borders on Thursday. La Rioja will also close its regional borders on Friday.

Spain's health minister Salvador Illa and regional heads of health will meet on Thursday to discuss their virus strategies and to consider employing nightly curfews to target late-night partying as a source of contagion.

"I want to be very clear," Mr Illa said Tuesday.

"Some very hard weeks are coming."

Listen & subscribe: Global Player | Apple Podcasts | Google Podcasts | Spotify

More Latest News

See more More Latest News

A boy, 8, was killed in the incident.

Boy, 8, dies after crash on quiet Wiltshire cul-de-sac

Five of the six victims from the stabbing have been named.

Victims of Sydney stabbings named as heartbroken tributes flood in following attack by knifeman who killed six

The Israeli Iron Dome air defence system launches to intercept missiles fired from Iran

Israel hails ‘success’ in blocking Iran’s unprecedented attack

Rishi Sunak confirmed a number of Iranian drones attacking Israel were shot down by RAF jets.

RAF jets shot down ‘a number’ of Iranian drones attacking Israel, Rishi Sunak says

A demonstrator waves Iranian and Palestinian flags during an anti-Israeli gathering at the Felestin (Palestine) Square in Tehran, Iran

What is the fallout from Iran’s attack on Israel?

Disability advocate Charlotte Anderson advises people on how to apply for PIP.

YouTuber who fills out PIP applications for £650 each says she has ‘only ever lost one claim in six years’

Planning documents show the owners of the pub want to rebuild it in a new location.

Owners of Crooked House agree to rebuild ‘Britain’s wonkiest pub’ - providing it's in a new location

Joe Biden has reaffirmed the US's commitment to defending Israel's security.

Biden reaffirms ‘ironclad support' of Israel as he plans G7 meeting to coordinate ‘diplomatic response to Iran attack’

The IDF said over 300 weapons were fired by Iran.

‘Together we will win’: Netanyahu vows to fight off attacks from Iran after over 300 drones and missiles fired at Israel

Israeli's military have fought off a massive Iranian drone and missile attack - downing more than 200 weapons launched by the hostile state with the help of ace RAF pilots.

Israel fights off massive Iran attack - downing over 200 missiles and drones with help of RAF

Plans have been drawn up for an evacuation of Brits from the Middle East. Defence Secretary Grant Shapps (l) and protesters outside the British Embassy in Tehran (r)

Brits living in the Middle East could be rescued by the Royal Marines in 'Dunkirk-style' evacuation

The knifeman who killed six people in a rampage at a Sydney shopping centre has been named as 40-year-old Joel Cauchi (left)

Pictured: Sydney knifeman, 40, who killed six people before being shot dead by brave policewoman

Iranian drones and missiles have arrived in Israel with explosions in the skies - as officials warn of a "significant response" to the massive attack.

Explosions in skies and sirens across Jerusalem amid Iranian attack - as Israel warns of 'significant response'

USS Bataan which is heading to the Eastern Mediterranean (main) and Joe Biden (r)

US sends amphibious warship and 2,500 Marines into the Eastern Mediterranean after Iran attacks Israel

US and UK forces are helping defend Israel from Iranian drones and missiles after a massive attack was launched.

British and American jets 'shoot down Iranian drones' as Rishi Sunak slams Iran for 'reckless' attack against Israel

President Biden is holding an emergency national security meeting as the US prepares its response to Iran's drone and missile attack on Israel.

President Biden holds high-stakes emergency meeting as Iran launches full-scale attack on Israel