Spain's daily death toll drops to 410 new fatalities

Spain’s daily death toll drops to 410 new fatalities as the government plans to unleash disinfectant-spraying DRONES to fight the outbreak

  • Spain recorded sharp drop in daily death toll from coronavirus with 410 fatalities
  • Total number of fatalities in Spain has now reached 20,453, with 195,944 cases
  • It emerged Spanish government plans to use drones to disinfect virus hotspots
  • But the Ministry of Defence denied it will use military aircraft to fog huge areas
  • Learn more about how to help people impacted by COVID

Spain today registered a sharp drop in its daily death toll from coronavirus with 410 new fatalities – the lowest in almost a month.

The total number of fatalities in Spain, the third hardest-hit country in the world after the United States and Italy, has reached 20,453, the health ministry said. 

The figures come as it emerged the Spanish government plans to use drones to spray disinfectant over virus hotspots.

Spanish media reported spraying could be carried out using military planes over cities in a bid to battle the outbreak.

Rumours also swirled on social media that the Spanish government has authorised the army to use firefighting aircraft to drop huge amounts of disinfectant indiscriminately. 

Emergency technicians Marisa Arguello de Paula and Itxaso Garcia Giaconi disinfecting themselves in Galdakao, Spain, today 

These claims were sparked by the publication by the Spanish government of a document which detailed its strategy to tackle the contagion, called ‘Operacion Balmis’.

In one section it stated the ‘use of aerial means’ could be used to carry carry out disinfection.

But the Ministry of Defence said at a press conference today that this did not refer to the use of aircraft and instead meant aerosols would be used, including via drones, to target specific areas, according to Maldita. 

Miguel Angel Villarroya, chief of the Defense General Staff, said it was ‘completely false’ to say aircraft would be used and compared the chemicals used to that of ‘an insecticide in a room in the home’.

He said: ‘The order published by the Ministry of Health enables the armed forces to use aerosols, not aircraft.’ 

Two members of Sabadell local police flying a drone using a loudspeaker warning the population to respect the confinement and stay home in Sabadell, Barcelona, last week

Coronavirus patient Maria Josefa Arias, 76, being lifted into an Ambuiberica ambulance by her son Ander Maria Dominguez Arias and emergency technician Marisa Arguello de Paula in Llodio, Spain, today

China already uses aerial drones to spray disinfectant over streets and buildings. 

Spanish army specialists in protective suits have sprayed disinfectant at ground-level in train stations and other public areas, while ground-based robots have also been used.

Police in the country have used drones to send public messages via megaphones, telling people to go home during the lockdown.

Infections in Spain today rose to 195,944, with 4,218 new cases in the past 24 hours, an increase of just 2.4 per cent.

But Health Ministry emergencies coordinator, Fernando Simon, admitted the daily fall could be explained by the lower registration of fatalities over the weekend. 

Such a drop is often followed by a rise at the start of the week.

Simon said: ‘It’s a number that gives us hope. It’s the first time we are under 500 dead since the daily tolls began to climb.’

Nevertheless, he said that the number of deaths, hospital and intensive care admissions were on a downward trend ‘which clearly indicates that the transmission of the disease has substantially decreased.’

El Oso y el Madrono (The Bear and the Strawberry Tree) at a deserted Puerta del Sol square during the coronavirus lockdown in Madrid today

Health Minister Salvador Illa also said Spain had achieved its objective of ‘flattening the curve’ of transmissions.

The latest figures have given some relief to the country’s overwhelmed health system.

In Madrid, regional president Isabel Diaz Ayuso said a makeshift morgue set up at an ice rink would close on Wednesday.

And one unit of a field hospital that was set up inside Madrid’s conference centre to treat up to 1,500 people with coronavirus was closed on Friday.

The Spanish authorities believe the country reached the peak of the pandemic on April 2 when they had counted 950 deaths in 24 hours. But they are not ready to recommend a lifting of the nationwide lockdown, one of the tightest in Europe.

Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez on Saturday announced he would ask parliament to extend the lockdown by two weeks to May 9.

The restrictions currently in place would however be loosened slightly to allow children time outside from April 27, Sanchez said.

Italy is the second hardest-hit country, with 23,660 dead, then Spain follows with 20,453, then France with 19,718 and Britain with 16,060.

With 103,255 deaths, Europe is the hardest-hit continent, while the United States has the most deaths of any country with 40,585 fatalities.

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