Spain Revises Chinese Coronavirus Death Count Down by Nearly 2,000

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AFP PHOTO / PIERRE-PHILIPPE MARCOU

Spain has revised down its official death count for the Chinese coronavirus after a series of reporting errors and duplications were found in the tally.

On Monday, the Spanish Health Ministry announced that it removed 1,918 spurious deaths from the official death toll, representing a seven per cent drop in the total deaths reported. The number of victims of the Chinese virus being reported by the government now stands at 26,834 compared to the 28,752 that were reported on Sunday.

The director of the Health Ministry’s Coordination Centre for Health Alerts, Fernando Simón, said that the disparity in the figures came as a result of “several factors”, such as the “elimination of duplicates” and that regional health officials attributed deaths to the Wuhan virus without supposed victims being tested for COVID-19, according to El País.

“The information is more precise to assess what is happening now. Before this, the data did not correspond to what was happening,” Mr Simón said.

The region of Catalonia saw the sharpest decline in the number of deaths, with 59 per cent of fatalities being removed from the count.

The revision in the numbers has thrown the government’s ability to accurately track the rate of infection into turmoil, as the Health Ministry will need to reconstruct the entire data series before being able to track the virus accurately.

In response to the initial outbreak, the Spanish government introduced some of the most draconian lockdown measures in Europe.

On Saturday, a demonstration organised by the right-wing populist party Vox shut down the capital city of Madrid, as some 6,000 cars flooded the streets to protest against the socialist government’s handling of coronavirus.

“Spaniards always turn out at decisive moments. We are here to defend our freedom. The threat to the freedom of Spain is being led by an illegitimate government that has become a criminal government, one that is incapable of protecting its people and is directly responsible for the worst management of this crisis on the whole planet,” said Vox leader Santiago Abascal.

“Have no doubt that we will take them to the courts. They know it and they are afraid of your freedom, which is why they are trying to intimidate us,” Abascal added.

The socialist government has pledged to introduce a €3 billion (£2.67bn/$3.29bn) per year universal basic income scheme that will result in an estimated 850,000 Spanish households being paid by the government.

“Neither the government nor Spanish society is going to look the other way while our compatriots queue up to eat, something we are sadly seeing now in some parts of the country,” said Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez.

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