SPAIN has seen its new coronavirus cases double in 24 hours as experts warned the country’s fragile economy faces being the world’s worst impacted by a second wave.
The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) issued the warning as fears loom of Covid-19 returning with a vengeance to a reopening Europe.
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Spain was one of the world’s most impacted countries by the virus, but is now beginning to come out of lockdown and hopes to throw the door open for tourists ahead of the summer.
It has seen new coronavirus cases plummet from highs of nearly 10,000 a day, coming through the pandemic with 27,136 deaths and a case count total of 289,360.
However, the figures worryingly have been creeping up – going from 48 new cases on Sunday, to 84 on Monday, and then almost doubling to 167 on Tuesday.
Spanish officials have said they will use “surgical” restrictions to keep the coronavirus under control as the final lockdown measures ease by the end of June.
And they will be keeping in mind a dire warning from the OECD that Spain faces being the most badly damaged country economically if the pandemic comes back.
OECD experts have warned the country could see its economy contract by 14.4 per cent if it is hit by a second wave – a slump of around 210billion euros.
It came as the OECD said the world faces a “tightrope walk” to recovery following the pandemic – which has infected almost 7.5million people worldwide and killed nearly 420,000.
Britain currently is the hardest hit based on a single wave scenario, with a contraction of 11.5 per cent.
But the UK would fare better than Spain in a second wave with a slump of 14 per cent.
France would be the world’s second worst impacted with a contraction of 14.1 per cent, and Italy would also see a slump of 14 per cent.
Spain has been hopeful of using tourism to kick-start its post-Covid-19 economy – but widespread international travel puts it at risk of a second wave.
Madrid officials are due to reopen the borders on July 1 to foreign tourists – with resorts along the Costa Del Sol already preparing to get the party started again.
Brits however hoping to holiday in Spain still face a 14-day quarantine period when they return home.
And on Tuesday, Spanish officials denied they were discussing opening a “travel corridor” between the nation and the UK.
Salvador Illa, Spain’s health minister, and Fernando Simón, the country’s chief epidemiologist, have warned future outbreaks of Covid-19 are inevitable, reports the FT.
Mr Illa said they plan to use mini-lockdowns and compulsory quarantines for specific groups to control the virus when emergency powers lapse on June 21.
Earlier this month, Dr Hans Kluge, director for the WHO European region, warned a second a more deadly coronvairus wave will hit the continent in the autumn.
He stressed that while cases are mostly falling, it does not mean the pandemic is coming to an end.
The top official said that countries should be braced for a surge in infections – and use this time wisely to bolster health services.
He said: “We know from history that in pandemics the countries that have not been hit early on can be hit in a second wave.”
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OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría said: “Uncertainty is clearly extreme in the current context, but the implications of that for macroeconomic policies are not symmetric. Policy-makers were right not to be too slow to introduce emergency measures, and they should now guard against being too quick to withdraw them.
“How governments act today will shape the post-Covid world for years to come.
“This is true not only domestically, where the right policies can foster a resilient, inclusive and sustainable recovery, but also in terms of how countries co-operate to tackle global challenges together.
“International co-operation, a weak point so far in the policy response, can create confidence and have important positive spillover effects.”
Footage shows empty beaches as Brits in Benidorm get ordered away by lunchtime as part of strict social distancing rules