Spain Uses New Guidelines to Count CCP Virus Deaths

April 17, 2020 Updated: April 17, 2020

MADRID—Spain says there are now 19,478 deaths of patients who tested positive for the CCP virus, nearly 350 more than the number reported one day earlier, and 188,068 confirmed infections with over 5,000 new ones.

Health authorities are reshuffling the way to track the pandemic’s impact in the country with new guidelines to count the dead, while an effort to make more tests is counting hundreds of patients cured or without symptoms that weren’t recorded before.

The government says that it’s following World Health Organization guidance and insists on counting only those who die having tested positive for the virus, whether they show symptoms or not and no matter where the death takes place.

The director of the health emergency coordination center, Fernando Simón, says that an effort to rein in a diversity of data from 17 Spanish regions is leading to corrections in past statistics.

“If the data is distorted it becomes difficult to take scientific decisions,” Simón has said in a televised press conference.

Spain is mulling how to safely implement an incremental way out of one of Europe’s strictest lockdowns imposed in mid-March to spread the impact of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) virus.

Help Poorest

Spain is planning to pay a basic monthly income to about a million of the country’s poorest households to help them weather the impact of the CCP virus outbreak, Social Security Minister Jose Luis Escriva said Friday.

Those receiving the basic income, which will be approved by the cabinet in May, will have incentives to find work, such as being allowed to combine the monthly stipend with wages from a new job for a period of time, Escriva told COPE radio station.

“Without incentives to find a job, there is a temptation to exhaust the stipend and not look on the job market,” he said.

Social-Security-and-Migration-Jose-Luis-Escriva
Spain’s Minister of Social Security and Migration Jose Luis Escriva arrives to attend the first cabinet meeting at the Moncloa Palace in Madrid on Jan. 14, 2020. (Susana Vera/Reuters)

It has yet to be decided how much will be paid per month and Escriva declined to say what it would cost the government, though he said it would be funded with new public debt.

He said up to a fifth of Spanish households have an income of less than 246 euros ($266) a month.

The Socialist Party and its far-left coalition partner Unidas Podemos agreed in January to create such a basic income as part of their four-year program, though the CCP virus crisis has changed priorities.

Escriva said it would take weeks for the government bureaucracy to start paying the new benefit.

The Spanish economy shed 900,000 jobs during the first two weeks of a lockdown imposed on March 14 to limit the spread of COVID-19, pushing the number of officially unemployed back up to where it had been three years ago.

Epoch Times staff and Reuters contributed to this report.