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Spain coronavirus death toll passes 10,000

02 April, 2020

MADRID: Spain has passed another grim coronavirus milestone after the number of deaths exceeded 10,000.

The country, the second-worst hit in terms fatalities, has also lost nearly 900,000 jobs. The US, too, has registered 6.6m new jobless benefit claims – a record.

The unemployment figures are another sign of the dire impact the pandemic is having on businesses in many countries.

Worldwide, confirmed coronavirus infections are nearing one million.

That’s according to Johns Hopkins University, which tracks virus figures globally. Its tracker also recorded more than 47,000 deaths; some 195,000 people have recovered.

Covid-19 – the disease caused by coronavirus – has now claimed 10,003 lives in Spain as 950 new deaths were reported in the last 24 hours, the health ministry said.

The number of confirmed cases rose from 102,136 on Wednesday to 110,238, an 8% rise that is similar to the rate recorded in previous days. Authorities believe the virus is now peaking and say they expect to see a drop in figures in the days ahead.

“We continue with an increase of around 8%. This points, as we have already seen, to a stabilisation in the data that we’re registering,” María José Sierra, from the Spanish health ministry’s emergency co-ordination unit, said at a news conference.

This, she said, is resulting in an “important lowering” in the increase in the number of people being taken to intensive care units, already under pressure across the country.

March’s unemployment figure is the highest monthly jobless rise ever recorded in the country, which already had one of the eurozone’s highest jobless rates.

Spain banned all but essential outings and shut most businesses in mid-March.

The data shows 898,822 people have lost their jobs since the start of the lockdown, including about 550,000 temporary workers. Spain’s official unemployment figure rose to 3.5 million, the highest level since April 2017.

“This is an absolutely unprecedented situation,” Labour Minister Yolanda Díaz told a news conference. The tourism and construction sectors were the hardest hit.

The numbers come amid dire predictions about the possible economic impact of the measures imposed to fight the virus. A UN report estimated that up to 25 million jobs could be lost around the world.

The number of new claims for unemployment benefit filed in the week ending 28 March, 6.65 million, was double the previous week’s claims of 3.3 million, according to Labor Department figures.

The latest numbers were far higher than analysts’ expectations and reflect the growing impact of businesses forced to shut down as lockdowns are imposed in more US states.

The Labor Department’s report cited the impact across hospitality, manufacturing and retail.

There are fears that the number of jobless could reach 20 million, or 15% of the workforce – higher than during the Great Recession of the 1930s. (Agencies + Int’l Monitoring Desk)

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