MADRID — Spain announced 8,578 new cases on Thursday, raising its total to 56,188 with 655 more deaths from the coronavirus in the past 24 hours.
Although the new fatalities lifted Spain’s toll past the 4,000 threshold, the increase was not as steep as the previous days of 20 percent exponential growth, suggesting the first slowdown since the outbreak began.
The Health Ministry reported that 7,015 people have recovered from covid-19, the disease caused by the virus, and have been discharged from hospitals. At least 3,679 patients were still being treated in intensive care.
Fernando Simon, who heads the country’s health emergency response, said 12.5 percent of the cases had been cured and that it was a number “that goes up each day.”
“Unfortunately, we still have a larger number of deaths than we would like,” Simon said, highlighting that 67 percent of fatalities are in patients 80 years old or older.
The figures were released hours after the Spanish parliament approved the cabinet’s decision to extend the national lockdown through April 12.
Meanwhile, medical workers continued to decry the lack of protective supplies and an overwhelmed health industry.
“All of the administrations are untiringly working to get health material,” said government spokeswoman María Jesús Montero on Spanish television channel Telecinco. “It is a real war to get masks, fast tests and ventilators.”
Simon explained that the National Epidemiological Center tested the first batch of 9,000 fast tests before distributing and found that the sensitivity and specifications did not comply with E.U. quality guidelines. The unreliable tests were returned to the provider, who will replace them.
“We are doing 15 to 20,000 tests daily, which is a very important figure compared to other countries,” Simon said.