Spain suffers deadliest day of Covid second wave with 239 deaths as WHO warns of ‘very serious situation’ in Europe

Spain suffers deadliest day of Covid second wave with 239 deaths as WHO warns of ‘very serious situation’ in Europe

September 17, 2020

SPAIN has suffered its deadliest day of its second coronavirus wave as the World Health Organisation warns that a "very serious situation" is unfolding in Europe.

The country has confirmed that 239 deaths were recorded yesterday, the highest single-day toll since cases first began to rise again at the start of July.

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The news comes after Europe last week saw more than 300,000 people test positive across the continent, more cases than were being diagnosed each week during the initial peak of the pandemic in March.

Speaking today at a briefing on the current efforts to contain the virus, Hans Kluge, WHO regional director for Europe, said that current infection rates were "alarming".

Spain's daily death toll remains far below its overall peak of 961, seen on April 2, but its case count yesterday reached 11,193, its highest level since the start of the pandemic.

Its previous peak fell on March 20, when 11,193 positive tests were recorded.

The country's biggest concentration of cases is in Madrid, which has accounted for around one third of daily new infections over the past week.

Around one in five beds in the city's hospitals are currently occupied by coronavirus patients.

For intensive care beds, the figure jumps to 38 percent.

Madrid's regional deputy health chief Dr. Antonio Zapatero said that the impact on hospitals was "sustainable at the moment" but that "we have to make that line of infections decrease".

He said it was particularly important that the city was able to "flatten the curve before the arrival of autumn and the complications that cold weather could bring".

He also urged people to adhere to guidance on limiting the size of social gatherings and to quarantine if they experience any symptoms of the virus.

Countries across Europe also continue to see cases rise after easing their lockdowns.

France is currently seeing around 8,500 people being recorded each day, high than the peak of 7,578 seen on March 31.

Speaking at today's briefing, Kluge said: "We have a very serious situation unfolding before us.

"Weekly cases have now exceeded those reported when the pandemic first peaked in Europe in March.

"In the spring and early summer we were able to see the impact of strict lockdown measures.

"Our efforts, our sacrifices, paid off. In June cases hit an all-time low.

"The September case numbers, however, should serve as a wake-up call for all of us."

He said that more than half of European countries had seen the number of people being diagnosed rise by more than 10 percent over the past two weeks.

Of those, seven have seen positive tests double.

He said the figures were higher now compared to March in part because of higher levels of testing, but said they still show "alarming rates of transmission across the region".

Europe has so far seen more than 4.2million people diagnosed with coronavirus and at least 214,542 deaths, although the current death rate remains below levels seen earlier this year.

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