Over three million Spaniards have likely had Covid-19 – three times the current official estimate – Spanish PM Pedro Sanchez has claimed, calling for the reinstatement of anti-contagion measures with the “least economic impact.”
The official caseload in the country currently stands at 1.03 million – the sixth highest in the world and the biggest in Western Europe.
“We have to put in place the measures needed with the least economic impact. We must avoid at all cost going back to home confinements as we did in the spring,” Sanchez said at a press conference on Friday. “The next few weeks and months, now that we enter the winter, will be difficult, very difficult.”
The “real” total Covid-19 infection toll in the country – which, according to the Spanish PM, exceeds three million – is based on the findings of a nationwide study conducted back in July, that measured antibody response.
The study attempted to estimate the percentage of people in Spain exposed to Covid-19, accounting for asymptomatic cases and limited testing. Over 60,000 Spaniards were administered antibody tests during a two-week period in April and May as part of the study. The researchers concluded that roughly five percent of the Spanish population were exposed to the virus at that time, which amounted to 2.35 million people. The official total at the time stood at 241,000 confirmed cases.
Spain has been one of the hardest-hit countries in the world during the pandemic, despite the government acting quickly by enforcing a lockdown back in March. The lockdown was one of the strictest in Europe, with citizens mandated to stay home except for essential shopping or emergencies. All non-essential businesses were closed.
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Ever since the most severe restrictions were lifted throughout June and July, the progression of the pandemic has accelerated drastically, with over 20,000 cases registered on Thursday – an all-time high by a good margin.
Madrid and Catalonia are by far the biggest hotspots in Spain. Together, they account for almost half of the country’s total caseload. A state of emergency was announced in Madrid on October 9.
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