Spaniards filled the streets Saturday to exercise outside in gorgeous spring weather for the first time in seven weeks, while German children rushed to playgrounds as countries in Western Europe moved ahead with the gradual relaxation of coronavirus lockdown restrictions. Russia and Pakistan, however, reported their biggest one-day spikes in new infections, in a sign the pandemic is far from over. Concern was growing in Moscow that hospitals might become overwhelmed after Russia recorded a new one-day high of 9,633 new infections, a 20% increase over Friday's count, which itself was a new daily record. Russia has now reported 124,054 total cases, with 15,013 recoveries and 1,222 fatalities. True numbers are believed to be higher because not everyone is tested and Russian tests are reported to be only 70% to 80% accurate.
MADRID – The global battle to contain the coronavirus reached a new level of urgency Monday, as governments locked down borders, a new wave of closures and restrictions kept more than 500 million students at home, and pleas went out to funnel masks and ventilators to places struggling with soaring caseloads. The growing sense of crisis rocked global financial markets, particularly on Wall Street, where the Dow Jones Industrial Average plunged 12.9 percent. Investors' fears that the outbreak will throw the global economy into a recession sent the market to its worst one-day loss since 1987. The shifting fronts in the battle were made clear by figures showing that cases outside China -- where the virus originated -- surpassed those inside its borders for the first time. Spain officially became the fourth-most infected country in the world, surpassing South Korea.
The Spanish government is planning to test 80,000 people a day for coronavirus with the roll-out of robot testers. Technology will be used to speed up testing of people in Spain, one of the countries hardest hit by the Covid-19 outbreak, with more than 200 deaths so far. According to Bloomberg, Spanish authorities now plan to increase daily testing from about 20,000 a day to 80,000, by using four robots to apply artificial intelligence (AI) to testing. Speaking at a conference on Saturday 21 March, Raquel Yotti, head of Madrid's health institute, said: "A plan to automate tests through robots has already been designed and Spain has committed to buying four robots that will allow us to execute 80,000 tests per day." Because of the ease that coronavirus spreads from person to person, testing has been identified as one of the best ways to control the disease.
Russia reported 9,623 new coronavirus cases - its highest daily rise since the start of the pandemic - bringing the total to 124,054, mostly in the capital Moscow. The death toll nationwide rose to 1,222 after 57 people died in the last 24 hours, Russia's coronavirus crisis response centre said on Saturday. Concern was growing in Moscow that hospitals might become overwhelmed after recording the new one-day high of infections, a 20 percent increase over Friday's count, which itself was a new daily record. Despite lockdown measures, infection numbers have been rising at an alarming rate for days in the world's largest country by area. Moscow is the worst-affected part of Russia, accounting for about 62,600 cases, about half of the nationwide total.
Madrid – Spain struggled to cope on Wednesday with a mounting coronavirus crisis as its death toll exceeded China's with another 738 lives lost in a single day, and a third senior government minister was diagnosed with the virus. With 3,434 fatalities, Spain now has the second-highest number of deaths globally after Italy's 6,820. Nursing homes across the country have been overwhelmed and a skating rink in Madrid has been turned into a makeshift morgue. Police stood guard on Wednesday outside the rink, normally a popular venue for children's birthday parties, as hearses arrived at the building. Deputy Prime Minister Carmen Calvo became the third cabinet member to test positive for the virus, but the government said she was doing well.