Spain announces record 838 virus deaths in 24 hours

Officials have pointed to a slower growth rate for both deaths and confirmed cases. (File/AFP)
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Updated 29 March 2020

Spain announces record 838 virus deaths in 24 hours

  • The number of confirmed cases in Spain has now reached 78,797
  • Except for a brief lull recorded on Thursday, Spain’s death toll has been rising daily

MADRID: Spain confirmed another 838 deaths in 24 hours from coronavirus on Sunday, a new daily record bringing the total number of deaths to 6,528, according to health ministry figures.
The number of confirmed cases in Spain has now reached 78,797 — after the one-day increase of 9.1 percent — as the country battles the world’s second most deadly outbreak after Italy.
Except for a brief lull recorded on Thursday, Spain’s death toll has been rising daily.
However, officials have pointed to a slower growth rate for both deaths and confirmed cases and expressed hope that the peak of the outbreak was approaching.
Spain also reported Sunday that 14,709 people had been cured of COVID-19, a rise of 19.7 percent in 24 hours.
Like Italy, Spain on Saturday tightened measures to contain the outbreak, ordering a halt to all “non-essential” activities.
“All workers in non-essential economic activities must stay at home for two weeks,” Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said.
The health, food and energy sectors are among areas considered to be essential.
An emergency cabinet meeting on Sunday was to decide on the details of the new measure.
Currently, people in Spain are authorized to leave home for work if remote work is not possible, to buy food, get medical care or briefly walk their dog.


UK vaccine frontrunner could be available in first half of 2021

Updated 17 min 54 sec ago

UK vaccine frontrunner could be available in first half of 2021

  • Human trials of the vaccine will expand to hundreds more people in the “coming weeks.”

LONDON: A leading British scientist has said a Covid-19 vaccine could be rolled out across the country as early as the first half of next year.

Professor Robin Shattock leads the team working on Imperial College London’s vaccine, one of the UK’s two most promising research programs. He told Sky News: “We anticipate if everything goes really well, that we'll get an answer as to whether it works by early next year.

“Assuming that the funding is there to purchase that vaccine, we could have that vaccine rolled out across the UK in the first half of next year.”

Shattock also warned that there was “no certainty” that any of the vaccines currently being developed would work, but said the risk of that is “very, very low.”

Imperial College London is now conducting human trials of their vaccine, with 15 volunteers having received it so far. Shattock said this will be ramped up in the “coming weeks” to include another 200 to 300 patients.

“I think we're very lucky in the UK that we have two very strong candidates, the one from Imperial, the one from Oxford, and so we’re pretty well placed, but there's still not a certainty that either of those two will work,” he said.

Oxford University is also developing a vaccination for Covid-19, in partnership with British-Swedish pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca.

While Shattock said he hopes Imperial College London’s vaccine will be available for the whole of the UK in the first half of next year, it is unclear how long it would take for it to be available outside of the country.

The UK, European Union and the US have all invested huge sums into vaccine development, and struck deals with pharmaceutical companies worth hundreds of millions of dollars each to ensure first-in-line access to successful vaccinations.

However, international organizations such as the UN, International Red Crescent and Red Cross, and Doctors Without Borders have raised concerns that the world’s poorest countries will be unable to access vaccinations and effective Covid-19 treatments due to rich countries outspending them.