■ GLOBAL:

Orlando Sentinel - - Front Page - By Aritz Parra

Spain en­forced even tighter stay-at-home rules, as the coun­try be­came the na­tion with the third-high­est num­ber of re­ported in­fec­tions in the world.

MADRID — Spain en­forced even tighter stay-ath­ome rules Mon­day for its 47 mil­lion peo­ple, as the coun­try over­took China as the na­tion with the third­high­est num­ber of re­ported in­fec­tions in the world, af­ter the United States and Italy.

Bells tolled in Madrid’s de­serted cen­tral square, and flags were low­ered in a day of mourn­ing as Spain raced to build field hos­pi­tals to treat an on­slaught of coronaviru­s pa­tients.

With a pop­u­la­tion of 47 mil­lion peo­ple to China’s 1.4 bil­lion, Spain saw its of­fi­cial tally of in­fec­tions climb past 85,000.

It also re­ported more than 800 new deaths, for an over­all toll of more than 7,300.

Ex­perts say those fig­ures — and those in ev­ery other coun­try — are much lower than the true num­bers, be­cause of lim­ited test­ing, count­ing ir­reg­u­lar­i­ties and mild cases that have been missed.

Many coronaviru­s deaths in Spain and Italy that hap­pen at home or at nurs­ing homes are not counted.

Italy re­ported that more than 800 peo­ple had died in the past day, bring­ing the coun­try’s death toll to nearly 11,600. It added over 4,000 new in­fec­tions, but also a record 1,590 cured.

“We are sav­ing lives by stay­ing at home, by main­tain­ing so­cial dis­tance, by trav­el­ing less and by clos­ing schools,” said Dr. Luca Richeldi, a lung spe­cial­ist.

WHO’s emer­gen­cies chief said the caseloads in Italy and Spain might be lev­el­ing off.

“It is our fer­vent hope that that is the case,” Dr. Michael Ryan said. “But we have to now push the virus down, and that will not hap­pen by it­self.”

At least six of Spain’s 17 re­gions were at their limit of in­ten­sive care unit beds, and three more were close to it, author­i­ties said. Crews of work­ers were fran­ti­cally build­ing more field hos­pi­tals.

Nearly 15% of all those in­fected in Spain, al­most 13,000 peo­ple, are health care work­ers, hurt­ing hos­pi­tals’ ef­forts to help the mul­ti­tudes of peo­ple gasp­ing for breath.

But the new stricter mea­sures on peo­ples’ move­ment, which con­fused many Spa­niards, came un­der at­tack from busi­ness lead­ers who say the gov­ern­ment is hurt­ing the econ­omy be­yond re­pair, and op­po­si­tion par­ties who ac­cuse it of im­pro­vis­ing in its re­sponse to the out­break.

The gov­ern­ment’s de­ci­sion to im­pose a two-week halt ef­fec­tive Mon­day to all nonessen­tial eco­nomic ac­tiv­ity came even as author­i­ties asserted that the pre­vi­ous two weeks of con­fine­ment were start­ing to pay off with a slower pace of the pan­demic’s ex­pan­sion,

The pres­i­dent of Spain’s main busi­ness associatio­n, CEOE, warned that the stricter mea­sures would cre­ate “a very grave eco­nomic prob­lem that can lead to a so­cial prob­lem” through po­ten­tial job and in­come losses.

Three-quar­ters of a mil­lion peo­ple around the world have be­come in­fected and more than 37,000 have died, ac­cord­ing to a run­ning count kept by Johns Hop­kins Univer­sity. Nearly 165,000 have re­cov­ered.

BARCELONA CITY HALL/GETTY-AFP

Fire­fight­ers work on a new tem­po­rary hos­pi­tal setup Mon­day at the Guinardo Mu­nic­i­pal Sports Cen­tre to treat pa­tients in­fected with the novel coronaviru­s, in Barcelona.

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