Spain passes 1 million coronavirus cases

Spain became the first country in Western Europe to accumulate more than 1million confirmed COVID-19 infections on Wednesday as the nation of 47m struggles to contain a resurgence of the virus, news wires reported. The health ministry said that its accumulative case load since the start of the pandemic reached 1,005,295 after reporting 16,973 more cases in the past 24 hours. The ministry attributes 34,366 deaths to COVID-19.

Experts say that, as in most countries, the real numbers of infections and deaths are probably much higher because insufficient testing, asymptomatic cases and other issues impede authorities from capturing the true scale of the outbreak.

Despite the higher number of asymptomatic cases found through improved testing, the pressure is being felt in Spain’s hospitals. Over 3,900 patients have required hospitalization over the past week, with 274 needing intensive care, the ministry said. Almost 40% of Madrid’s ICU units are occupied by COVID-19 patients.

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

France is not far behind in Western Europe with over 930,000 reported cases. Russia has reported over 1.4m cases. The US leads the world with over 8m reported cases, according to the Johns Hopkins tally.

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