The Ministry of Health has confirmed its 999th case of Corona Virus in Spain, “a significant increase” since Sunday, when most focus was on the Community of Madrid (with 469 confirmed cases) and the Basque Country (with 149), these were the two areas which are most worrying and where specific measures could be taken. The death toll has risen to 28, after two more deaths were confirmed in Catalonia.

The nine hundred and ninety ninth person infected was reported by the Health Ministry shortly after this morning’s press conference where the director of the Centre for Coordination of Health Alerts and Emergencies, Fernando Simón, spoke of just 904 confirmed cases, the new ones coming to light as he was briefing the media.

Simón appeared in front of journalists after the daily meeting of the Corona Virus Monitoring and Evaluation Committee, which on Monday, for the first time, was chaired by the President of the Government, Pedro Sánchez, and was attended as usual by the Minister for Health, Salvador Illa.

28 people have died in Spain due to corona virus. The highest number of recorded deaths has been in Madrid, at 16, followed by the Basque Country with 6; Catalonia with 3; Aragon with 2 and the Valencian Community with one. In contrast to these grim numbers, about 30 people have also been given the all clear after having fully recovered.

However, Mister Simón reminded everyone that the data is changing all the time, and is dependent on the information provided by the autonomous communities throughout Spain.

Among the known new cases this Monday is that of a five-month-old baby, admitted to the Virgen de la Arrixaca Hospital in Murcia, which, if confirmed, would be the youngest to have been infected so far in Spain. The baby’s mother has also been hospitalised after testing positive for Corona Virus.  The family lives in Madrid and were staying in Murcia for the weekend.

In addition to Madrid and the Basque Country, who have the highest confirmed numbers of infected people, the rest of Spain looks like this: La Rioja (81), Cataluña (75), Andalucía (54), Comunidad Valenciana (37), Castilla-La Mancha (26), Castilla y León (23), the Canary Islands (22), Aragón (13), Cantabria (12), Baleares (11), Asturias (7), Extremadura (7), Galicia (6), Murcia (4) and Navarra (3).

Ceuta and Melilla continue without any confirmed cases of coronavirus.

Simón has said that since this Sunday there has been a “significant” increase in cases, centred mainly on two areas: the Community of Madrid (469 cases) and the Basque Country (149), although “the problem associated with these two communities is different”.

These two areas both have “some kind of community transmission and new measures are being assessed, if deemed necessary,” said Simon, adding that for the rest of Spain “the perception is very different.”

In the Basque Country, outbreaks are concentrated in the province of Álava and the most worrying in a municipality near the Rioja town of Haro (La Rioja alavesa). The health authorities are considering deploying “important” new measures to restrict transmission, Simon said without specifying which measures were likely to be implemented.

In the Community of Madrid there has been an increase of more than 200 cases since this Sunday alone, although it is unknown if the increase is centred on the groups already identified.

The Ministry of Health has been holding inter-territorial meetings by video conference to analyse the increase in cases, which have occurred mainly in the Community of Madrid and the Basque Country.

Simón also explained that for Spain the data being reported this Monday is simply a snapshot of what was happening 4 to 6 days ago, while in Italy, one of the most affected countries, “we are not sure”, whether the control measures being taken are effective “the impact should already be noticeable”. The Health Department coordinator has said that some countries have placed Spain on a list of local transmission areas, so they area now warning that you have to be careful around Spanish citizens.

The Inter-territorial Council of the National Health System, of which the Ministry of Health and the Autonomous Communities are part, have agreed this afternoon on a set of measures for areas that show significant community transmission. At the moment only the Community of Madrid, the city of Vitoria and the town of Labastida are in this situation.

Among others, the following measures of distancing in the educational and labour field:

1. Measures in the educational field

a. Suspension of classroom teaching activity at all educational levels (Universities, Baccalaureate, Secondary Education, Primary and Infant Education, Nursery, Vocational Training and others).

b. Suspension of complementary educational activities.

2. Recommendations in the workplace:

a. Teleworking whenever possible.

b. Review and update of continuity plans for work activity in emergencies.

c. Hourly flexibility and staging shifts to reduce worker concentrations.

d. Promote meetings by videoconference.

On the other hand, the SNS Interterritorial Council has agreed to include a set of protection measures for specific populations throughout the Spanish territory. Between them:

Promote home care for the elderly.

 Express recommendation to all the elderly, who suffer from chronic, multi-pathological diseases or with congenital or acquired immuno-suppression states that they limit unnecessarily leaving their home or residence. In any case, it is recommended to avoid crowded places where it is not possible to maintain the interpersonal safety distance of at least one meter.

And also other measures of a general nature such as:

Avoid trips that are not necessary by appealing to individual responsibility.

People who start respiratory symptoms and / or fever are advised to remain at home avoiding going to health centers, provided their clinical situation allows it, and to their place of work.

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