Left Menu
Development News Edition

Spain extends coronavirus lockdown, in 'war' to buy medical supplies

Reuters | Updated: 27-03-2020 04:11 IST | Created: 27-03-2020 04:11 IST
Spain extends coronavirus lockdown, in 'war' to buy medical supplies

Spain extended its coronavirus lockdown on Thursday and said it was fighting a "real war" over medical supplies to contain the world's second-highest virus death toll, turning to China for many critical products, where officials reported fraud and massive price increases. A further 655 people died overnight, pushing Spain's toll from the respiratory disease to 4,089, second only to Italy and further beyond China where the outbreak began.

Elderly nursing home residents have been particularly hard hit. In Madrid, the region worst affected by the virus, authorities pledged to assess each residence and take urgent action as infections and deaths among their vulnerable population mounted. "Old people have been abandoned in an astonishing way," said Carmen Flores, head of patients' rights group Defensor del Paciente.

In Madrid, Spain's capital and biggest city, located in the country's worst-affected region, an ice rink has been converted into a morgue and 13-time Champions League winners Real Madrid said their Santiago Bernabeu stadium would be used to store medical supplies. Coronavirus cases rose by 18% to 56,188, a slower rate than in the past few days. Health emergency chief Fernando Simon said the start of mass testing would reveal more infections, even as Health Minister Salvador Illa cautiously told parliament the data "make us think we are starting a stabilization phase."

With the world's fourth-highest number of cases, Spain is feeling the pinch of a global shortage of protective equipment. "We are in a real war to get hold of ventilators, face masks and quick test kits," Budget Minister Maria Jesus Montero told Telecinco television. "All the countries are fighting to secure domestic production, fighting to get supplies from China," she said.

Spain has ordered 432 million euros ($471.4 million) of goods from China, asked NATO for help and pledged to support factories adapting their production lines to make more goods at home. Separately, the government returned a batch of faulty Chinese-made rapid tests to the Spanish firm that supplied them. China's Embassy in Madrid wrote on Twitter that the manufacturer did not have a licence to sell. Spain countered that the products had European certification.

A diplomatic source told Reuters that prices had gone up 10-fold in some cases and Chinese firms were demanding payment upfront. A health authority source said there were queues of aircraft in some Chinese airports just to buy such supplies and middlemen often defrauded buyers. The officials did not name those sellers, saying only they were usually smaller, private firms.

EMERGENCY EXTENDED Parliament extended until April 12 emergency measures, including the lockdown that has confined people to their homes except to buy food or medicine and to work.

"It is not easy to extend the state of emergency," Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez told parliament. "I am convinced the only efficient option against the virus is social isolation." Although the main opposition conservative People's Party supported the measure, its leader, Pablo Casado, chastised Sanchez for what he called a late and inadequate response.

While Spain's death toll is still well below Italy's 8,165, it has been rising faster, and has soared 10-fold since Spain declared the state of emergency on March 14. ($1 = 0.9164 euros)

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

Download The Devdiscourse News App for Latest News.


TRENDING

OPINION / BLOG / INTERVIEW

Ayurveda for COVID 19: Professionals owe the responsibility to protect it from quacks and fake news

Indian Ayurveda professionals are lagging behind their foreign counterparts in handling quacks and protecting credentials of the Ayurveda at the time of COVID 19 pandemic. The professionals of Ayurveda cannot abjure the responsibility to co...

Education post-coronavirus: Schools to rush for more digitalization

Digital education would undoubtedly boom in the post-coronavirus world, supported by educational institutions that have discovered its efficiency during the crisis, but it is still not expected to outshine traditional classroom learning....

Public health care post-COVID 19 to go for revamping, not rebooting

Until now, the economies used to classify healthcare sector under social expenditure. However, the devastation caused by COVID 19 pandemic has upgraded public healthcare on topmost priority and core economic activity for controlling future ...

Coronavirus lockdowns to speed up long-pending revamping of supply chains

With millions of production lines impacted, business disruptions to some extent are unavoidable and the lessons learned from this turbulence will leave an everlasting impact on both global and local levels of supply chains....

Videos

Latest News

Virus cases rise to 74, Nizamuddin link to a chunk of it surfaces

Seven people tested positive for coronavrius in Tamil Nadu on Tuesday with the total number rising to 74 and at least 32 confirmed cases having links to a recent religious congregation held in Delhis Nizamuddin West. The state government sa...

Naqvi slams Tablighi Jamaat over coronavirus spread

Union minister and BJP leader Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi lashed out at the Tablighi Jamaat on Tuesday after authorities blamed a meeting organised by it for spreading coronavirus infection, saying the organisation has committed a Talibani crime an...

EU warns Hungary not to flout democracy with coronavirus laws

The European Unions executive warned Hungary on Tuesday that emergency measures adopted by governments to fight the coronavirus crisis must not undercut democracy.The Hungarian parliament on Monday granted nationalist prime minister Viktor ...

Motor racing-Mercedes DAS system banned for 2021 despite cars staying same

Formula One world champions Mercedes will not be allowed to use their innovative steering system next year even though the cars are staying the same, the governing FIA said on Tuesday.The dual-axis system DAS allows a driver to change the t...

Give Feedback