Spain already has one of the world’s highest death tolls from the coronavirus pandemic.
But data indicating the true number of fatalities could be much higher is fueling public anger and could cause problems for Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez’s fragile government.
Spain’s total deaths rose to 20,852 yesterdayday. But the figure fails to account for those who were more than likely killed by the virus but never tested.
Fernando Simon, the national coronavirus emergency response chief, has acknowledged that the “real number of deaths is hard to know”.
The government has defended its count, which only includes those tested, and said that tracking confirmed deaths allows it to better study the outbreak’s evolution, in line with WHO practice which only counts confirmed cases.
The leader of the main opposition PP, Pablo Casado, has demanded that “the truth be told” about the numbers of dead, while an MP from the far-right Vox tweeted: “No smokescreen will cover the deaths you try to hide”.
The Bank of Spain has estimated that the economy will shrink by up to 13% this year.
The National Bank claims the economy has shrunk by 4.7% already from the period of January to March.
They predict that for the year as a whole, the best case scenario would be a drop of 6.6% but that the worst case scenario could see figures as high as 13.6%.
Heatlh experts have told the Spanish government that the next step in lifting COVID-19 restrictions should be to allow for outdoor exercise.
According to government sources, the deescalation calendar is looking to allow outdoor sports at some point in the first 15 days of May.
That will not include team or contact sports or court-based games like tennis, but individual activities, such as running or cycling.
The Spanish government says it has reached a deal with the country’s football league and federation for teams to return to training after officials met for nearly eight hours at the weekend.
The government has not provided a timetable about when it would resume.
It says it will depend on the evolution of the coronavirus pandemic and on decisions by health authorities.