Last minute | The British strain already accounts for 50% of cases in some areas of Madrid

The coronavirus pandemic is at the gates of 110 million cases worldwide, with more than 2.43 million deaths to date, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University, one of the leading COVID-19 monitoring agencies. A total of 61,879,476 people recovered of coronavirus.

The United States continues to appear as the country most affected in total figures, with more than 27.8 million infections and 490,447 dead, followed by India, with 10.9 million and 156,014 deaths; and Brazil, with almost 9.97 million accumulated positives and 242,090 deaths, respectively.

(GUIDE | Measures in Madrid: curfew, confined areas and limits)

13:47 – BALEARIC ISLANDS | The Epidemiology service of the Balearic Government has notified the Ministry of Health this Thursday 118 new cases and three deaths, according to data released by the Ministry of Health.

In detail, the accumulated number of cases stands at 55,482 coronavirus infections since the beginning of the pandemic in the Balearic Islands, while the death toll amounts to 679 deaths.

13:43 – Calvo criticizes that Ayuso relax restrictions despite keeping in mind Madrid "the worst" figures with Melilla. "What would have to worry Ayuso is that with the figures he has, he intends to make decisions that surely do not improve them," the first vice president of the Government, Carmen Calvo, said in an interview on Cadena Ser.

The vice president has criticized this Thursday that the president of the Community of Madrid, Isabel Díaz Ayuso, has decided to relax the restrictions against the coronavirus despite the fact that the numbers of infections in the region are "the worst in Spain", along with those of Melilla.

13:40 – Andalusia says until after February 28 measures are not considered "opening cut". This has been announced by the Minister of Health and Families, Jesús Aguirre, has pointed out that "the opening measures will be very carefully, with great care", and "at first nothing is considered until after Andalusia day" . "Then we will decide if we take any opening cut measure, giving more freedom to all Andalusians," he added.

In statements to journalists, Aguirre has indicated that the trend this Thursday is in 372.24 and at seven days in 131, "so possibly within 14 days it will be below 250 which is the threshold of great danger", which does not mean that you can lower your guard.

13:38 – BASQUE COUNTRY | Euskadi has detected this past Wednesday 563 new cases of covid-19, which is 64 more than the previous day and an increase in the rate of positives compared to the tests carried out, reaching 5%. In contrast, Basque hospitals have reduced patients admitted to the ward to 413, eight fewer, and patients in the ICU to 153, six fewer.

13:36 – The Galician health service (Sergas) has reported this Thursday of the existence of a covid-19 outbreak linked to the so-called British variant at the Paradai school, in Lugo, in which 60 positives have been detected, among parents, students and teachers, without ruling out that the figure could grow.

Detected an outbreak of the British variant with 60 infections in a school in Lugo


13:30 – CASTILLA Y LEÓN | The community has detected in the last 24 hours a total of 474 cases of coronavirus, with which there are 208,422 infections diagnosed since the pandemic began. Have they died 29 people because of covid-19.

13:21 – LAST MINUTE | The Junta de Castilla y León has decided this morning make some restrictive measures more flexible given the positive evolution in number of infections and it has lifted the provincial perimeter closure, although the regional one is maintained, while increasing the capacity in places of worship.

Specifically, as the vice president of the Board has advanced, Francisco Igea, these are measures that correspond to the president, Alfonso Fernández Mañueco, as delegated authority and, in view of the evolution of the data, it has been decided to relax some of the measures.

Castilla y León lifts the provincial perimeter closure but maintains the regional one

Europa Press

13:01 Congress refuses to create a committee with one member from each party to oversee the vaccination plan. The Congress of Deputies has rejected this Thursday, with 155 votes in favor, four abstentions and 191 against, a motion resulting from urgent interpellation to create a committee of experts with a member of each political party to supervise the Government's Vaccination Plan against coronavirus.

His defender, Isidro Manuel Martínez Oblanca, of Asturias Forum, highlighted this Wednesday, during the parliamentary debate, the importance of this committee that, in case of incidents, delays in the vaccine supply or new immunization needs against aggressive viral variants and mutations, "Make any adjustments to your application schedule".

Change the vaccination schedule: who will be the next to get vaccinated against the coronavirus?


12:55 – LA RIOJA | La Rioja has notified this Thursday two deaths from coronavirus in a day in which, on the other hand, the healthcare pressure continues to decrease with 11 fewer patients admitted, to 86. For its part, active cases fall from 501 to 484 (17 less than yesterday).

According to the data provided today by the Government of La Rioja, the deceased are two men, elderly and with risk factors. None resided in a center for the elderly.

12:45 – The Spanish Society of General and Family Physicians (SEMG) has warned that the current health system, especially Primary Care (PC), "does not have health personnel enough to face a massive vaccination campaign planned for the next few days "against the coronavirus.

"If done with the current template, it will be cost of an increase in work or the abandonment of one's own functions, that they would have to sacrifice to be able to do it with dignity, "they denounce in a statement released this Thursday.

12:43 – The president of the Junta de Extremadura, Guillermo Fernández Vara, defended this Thursday that the easing measures that are being taken in recent days in the region "little by little" and guided by "prudence and dialogue."

As Fernández Vara has highlighted, the Junta de Extremadura has "tried to act from minute one" guided by "moderation and prudence, and we will continue to do so, and dialogue," he said.

12:39 – ANDALUSIA | Andalusia has added this Thursday, February 18 1,803 coronavirus cases, almost half of the 3,506 infections from seven days ago, according to data published in the Andalusian Institute of Statistics and Cartography (IECA), which counts 83 deaths in the last 24 hours, six less than the day before and 21 less than last Thursday.

In addition, the cumulative incidence rate in Andalusia has dropped this Thursday to 372.2 cases per 100,000 inhabitants in the last 14 days, which is 39 points lower than the one recorded on Wednesday (411.2) and 259.1 points less than seven days ago (631.3).

12:33 – The 82.9% of Spaniards trust the coronavirus vaccine or, at least, want to get the dose when it is their turn. This is shown by the latest survey of the Sociological Research Center (CIS) dedicated to the management of the pandemic to find out the opinion of citizens in this regard.

CIS | Confidence in vaccines rises and almost 83% of Spaniards wait their turn for the dose

Berta Tena

12:32 – LAST MINUTE | The Department of Health of the Government of Aragon has announced that, due to the good evolution of epidemiological data, the perimeter confinement of Zaragoza city and Calatayud. The measure will take effect this Friday. This was indicated in a press conference this Thursday by the Minister of Health, Sira Repollés, accompanied by the general director of Public Health, Francisco Javier Falo.

11:45 – Some small governments in Europe are looking to China for the Covid-19 vaccine, as European Union purchasing setbacks and production difficulties for Western vaccine manufacturers make it difficult for the continent to fight the pandemic. The trend could increase China's influence in the region, and China is campaigning to present itself as a reliable ally in the fight against the coronavirus that was first detected in its territory.

Vaccine diplomacy: how China extends its influence in Europe

The Wall Street Journal Bojan Pancevski

11:29 – The Minister of Health of the Community of Madrid, Enrique Ruíz Escudero, has stated that epidemiological data show a decrease in the accumulated incidence in the region, which shows that there is "certain measures that can be relaxed", like the delay to the curfew until 23:00. Decisions to lift mobility restrictions are made, according to Escudero, with scientific and technical criteria.

However, Escudero has admitted that the British strain continues to spread in the Community and there are some basic health areas in which it is is the predominant and it already reaches more than 50% of the cases detected, as is the case of Collado Villalba.

11:17 – GALICIA | Covid-19 patients hospitalized in Galicia continue to decline and are at 863, which is 61 less than the previous day. Also active cases of coronavirus maintain the downward trend and drop to 10,908.

This is clear from the data updated on the morning of this Thursday by the Ministry of Health with records until 6:00 p.m. this Wednesday, in which it is indicated that there are 180 people with covid in ICU -seven less than the previous day – and 683 in other hospitalization units -54 less-.

11:16 – The Diocese of the Canary Islands has decided suspend acts of worship or piety outside the temples or on the public thoroughfare of Lent and Holy Week.

11:14 – The Administrative Litigation Chamber of the Superior Court of Justice of Navarra (TSJN) has refused to suspend very cautiously (urgent) the regional order issued by the Navarrese Executive on January 20, which, among other measures, decreed the closure of the interior of the hotel and restaurant establishments and imposed capacity restrictions on the terraces in the face of the advance of the pandemic .

11:11 – The South African variant could considerably reduce the protection of the Pfizer vaccine, according to a study. Pfizer and BioNTech have announced the results of an 'in vitro' study that provides data on the ability of sera from people immunized with their vaccine to neutralize the South African variant of the coronavirus. This study, conducted by Pfizer and the medical branch of the University of Texas (United States), suggests that this South African strain can reduce vaccine antibody protection by two thirds.

The study, published in the scientific journal 'The New England Journal of Medicine', investigated the full set of South African variant mutations (also known as lineage B.1.351) of the spike. For this, three genetically modified recombinant viruses were produced. One of the viruses had the full set of spike glycoprotein mutations found in the South African variant and the other two had subsets of these mutations. Viruses were tested against a panel of sera from 15 participants in the phase 3 trial already conducted and who had been immunized with the vaccine.

'Covid trackers': Coronavirus variants trigger concern

Pablo pombo

11:10 – ARAGON | The Government of Aragon has notified 254 new cases of coronavirus and four deaths in the autonomous community this Wednesday, February 17, according to the provisional data collected on the web. The number of people registered has been 971.

By provinces, in Saragossa, 194 infections, two deaths and 694 discharges have been reported; in Huesca, 18 positive, one deceased and 50 discharged; and in Teruel 40 infections, one deceased and 218 people discharged.

11:06 – Spain will receive this Thursday 396,000 doses of the coronavirus vaccine of AstraZeneca, which will begin to be distributed to the communities at the beginning of next week, as announced yesterday by the Minister of Health, Carolina Darias, after the Interterritorial Council of the National Health System.

In this way, between those of AstraZeneca and the 483,000 doses that arrived last Monday from the pharmaceutical company Pfizer and that have already been distributed to the communities, Spain will have 879,000 doses this week.

10:43 – The World Health Organization (WHO), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) have carried out a study in which they indicate that there is a "high risk" of the coronavirus spreading to people from the fur industry, which is mainly made up of mink.

The WHO qualifies as "high risk" the transmission of covid-19 from animals for fur farming

Europa Press

10:42 – CATALONIA | The epidemic curve in Catalonia, which has been decreasing since January 13, has slowed this fall and for the second day in a row the speed of spread of the virus increases, while the ICU patients have rebounded and 1,862 new infections and 59 other deaths from covid have been added in one day.

According to the epidemiological data updated this Thursday by the Health Department, the number of patients hospitalized for coronavirus is 2,117, a total of 64 less than yesterday, although the critical patients in the ICU are 616, four more than the day before.

09:57 – Navarra registered this Wednesday 78 new positive cases of covid-19, a figure higher than the previous day (60), although the positivity rate remains below 5%.

Yesterday a total of 1,886 tests were carried out in the Autonomous Community, between PCR and antigen tests, of which 78 were positive and which gives a positivity rate of 4.1%.

09:42 – LAST MINUTE | What if a single dose could be enough? Ask to delay second dose of Pfizer vaccine after discovering you already have one 92.6% efficiency only with the first puncture. According to scientists Danuta Skowronski and Gaston De Serres in a study published in the journal 'The New England of Medicine', the Pfizer company's coronavirus vaccine already provides an efficacy of 92.6%, which is why its authors They urged the government to delay the second injection until the main risk groups have received at least the first.

The investigation, according to those who sign it, stems from the documents that the Pfizer company has submitted to the US drug regulator.

A single dose of Pfizer might be enough: study gives you 92.6% protection

P. B.

08:56 – Mandatory quarantines begin for those returning from South Africa and Brazil. Persons arriving by flight from any airport located in Brazil or South Africa to any airport located in Spain, with or without intermediate stops, must keep quarantine for ten days following your arrival, or throughout your stay in the country if it is less than that period.

This is established by the order published this Thursday in the Official State Gazette (BOE), which states that this period may end earlier, if on the seventh day the person undergoes a diagnostic test for acute infection with a negative result.

08:34 – China registers 31 cases on the last day, 11 of them with symptoms and 20 asymptomatic, none of them of local origin. The Chinese health authorities have indicated that in the last 24 hours a new suspicious case has also been recorded from abroad in Shanghai, while no deaths from the disease have been regretted, so the total number of fatalities remains at 4,636.

Shanghai, China (EFE)

08:33 – South Korea has added this Thursday 621 new cases in the last day, in which he also regretted six more deaths due to the pandemic, after an increase in infections in recent days.

Among the new registered infections, 590 are local infections, 179 of them detected in Seoul and 237 in Gyeonggi province. In addition, in Incheon, 40 kilometers west of Seoul, an additional 16 cases have been reported.

08:31 – Germany confirms more than 10,000 cases and 500 deaths for coronavirus during the last day. The German authorities have confirmed more than 10,000 cases and 500 deaths from coronavirus during the last day, a slight rebound compared to Wednesday, according to data collected by the Robert Koch Institute, the government body in charge of infectious disease control.

The agency has indicated through its website that during the last 24 hours it has been detected 10,207 cases and 534 deaths, which places the totals in 2,360,606 and 66,698, respectively, since the start of the pandemic.

Vaccination at the 'Velodrom' stadium in Berlin. (Reuters)

08:03 – The Community of Madrid delays from this Thursday the start of the curfew from 10:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. and allows the closure of the hotel business at that same time instead of at nine, as has happened until now, although bars and restaurants will not be able to admit new customers after ten at night.

The measures will be in force from 00.00 on Thursday February 18 until 00:00 on Monday, March 1, according to a decree and order published in the Official Gazette of the Community of Madrid (BOCM) last Saturday.

'Covid trackers': Variants go faster than vaccines

Pablo pombo

08:02 – Since the start of vaccination on December 27, almost 1,120,000 people have completed the regimen of the three vaccines, the 2.3% of the population in Spain; In total, the communities have administered 2,690,457 doses against covid-19, 65,945 in the last 24 hours.

08:00 – Good morning! The Minister of Health, Carolina Darias, appears in Congress to give an account of the evolution of the pandemic and vaccination plan in which the following priority groups have been classified by age: people of 70 to 79 years, those of 60 to 69 and high-risk patients under 60, and the population aged 45 to 55 who will be targeted by the AstraZeneca vaccine.