September 23, 2020

Coronavirus: Spain sees record rise in unemployment amid lockdown

Spain has cut almost 900,000 jobs since it imposed strict measures to fight the coronavirus, another sign of the economic impact of the outbreak in Europe’s second worst-hit country.

March’s figure is the highest monthly rise in unemployment ever recorded in the country, which already had one of the eurozone’s highest jobless rates.

Spain banned all but essential outings and shut most businesses in mid-March.

It has marked another grim milestone as the number of dead passed 10,000.

Around the world, the number of confirmed infections is nearing one million with more than 47,000 deaths recorded, according to Johns Hopkins University, which tracks virus figures globally. Some 195,000 people have recovered.

What is the latest from Spain?
The data shows 898,822 people have lost their jobs since the start of the lockdown, including about 550,000 temporary workers. Spain’s official unemployment figure rose to 3.5 million, the highest level since April 2017.

“This is an absolutely unprecedented situation,” Labour Minister Yolanda Díaz told a news conference. The tourism and construction sectors were the hardest hit.

The numbers come amid dire predictions about the possible economic impact of the measures imposed to fight the virus. A UN report estimated that up to 25 million jobs could be lost around the world.

Meanwhile, 10,003 people in Spain have died from Covid-19 – the disease caused by the coronavirus – as 950 new deaths were reported in the last 24 hours, another daily record, the health ministry said.

The number of confirmed cases rose from 102,136 on Wednesday to 110,238, an 8% rise that is similar to the rate recorded in previous days. Authorities believe the virus is now peaking and say they expect to see a drop in figures in the days ahead.

“We continue with an increase of around 8%. This points, as we have already seen, to a stabilisation in the data that we’re registering,” María José Sierra, from the Spanish health ministry’s emergency co-ordination unit, said at a news conference.

This, she said, is resulting in an “important lowering” in the increase in the number of people being taken to intensive care units, already under pressure across the country.

Italy has the world’s biggest death toll – 13,155 – and more than 110,000 confirmed cases. The country was the first in the West to impose stringent measures to curb the virus, and the government has warned of a “severe” recession.

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