Almost 400 confirmed cases of coronavirus have now been reported in Spain on Saturday morning.
The number of deaths connected to the outbreak in Spain rose to eight late on Friday night, after five fatalities in a single day.
All of those who have died were elderly and had pre-existing health conditions.
The most recent death was that of an 87-year-old woman who died in hospital in Badalona after being admitted earlier with other health conditions. This was the first death connected to Covid-19 in Catalonia.
An 87-year-old man from Zaragoza in eastern Spain became the fifth person to die from coronavirus in the country earlier on Friday, while an elderly man who was living at a residential home in Madrid was the fourth Spanish victim.
The man was living at the home in Valdemoro in the Spanish capital where 20 other residents have also been diagnosed with the virus. Four of these are being treated in the intensive care unit of a nearby hospital.
The regional government of Madrid on Friday closed 213-day centres for elderly people to avoid the spread of coronavirus.
An 82-year-old man in the Basque Country and a 69-year-old man from Valencia also died from Covid-19 in recent days.
Health authorities in Madrid were drawing up plans to care for elderly people living in residential homes where all the fatalities have happened so far.
Bankia, the state-owned bank, sent about 80 staff from its Madrid office to work at home after one employee tested positive for coronavirus.
“The workers who work on the same floor where this person works will continue their work at home,” said the bank in a statement.
About 1,500 people work at Bankia’s Madrid headquarters.
Spain has also issued guidelines advising companies to impose “work from home” conditions or ‘teletrabajo’ as it is in known in Spain in offices where there is thought to be the risk of contagion, such as if someone has tested positive for the virus or has recently been in contact with someone who has.
Numbers continue to rise across Spain with the province of Madrid the worst affected.
There are also currently two concerning hotspots where authorities have been unable to trace the ‘patient zero’.
These are Torrejón de Ardoz, a municipality 20km east of Madrid and the city of Vitoria in the Basque Country where some 200 people are in quarantine including 100 medical staff.
Authorities in the Basque Country are drafting in extra doctors to cope with the outbreak after so many of them were forced into isolation to prevent contagion.
Ebro Foods has ramped up production of pasta and rice in Western Europe and the United States in the past couple of weeks to meet the growing demand by consumers worried by the coronavirus crisis, a company spokeswoman for the Spanish company said on Friday.
Consumers around the world have been stockpiling non-perishable food and household items as the coronavirus spreads on fears they may end up in quarantine at home.
“To follow the peak in demand, we have increased our overall production in Italy, France, United States, Germany, Britain and Spain by 15 per cent to 25 per cent,” the spokeswoman said.
Published The Local 28 March 2020