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Spain’s strategy to curb the surge in coronavirus infections “is working,” Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said on Sunday as he revealed details of plans to vaccinate a large part of the population next year.
The country has recorded fewer than 400 COVID-19 cases per 100,000 population in the past 14 days, compared to nearly 530 cases earlier this month, he said at a press conference following a two-day online summit of G20 leaders.
This is evidence that last month’s declaration of a state of emergency, which allowed regional governments to impose virus restrictions like night curfews and restrictions on interregional travel, is having an impact, he said.
‘The strategy is working,’ he said, adding that Spain has managed to reduce cases without imposing a second lockdown, as has been done in several other European countries.
Sanchez announced ambitious plans on Friday to vaccinate “a very significant portion” of Spain’s 47 million residents by mid-2021.
He said on Sunday that the campaign would begin in January and include 13,000 vaccination sites across the country.
The Prime Minister recalled that 14 million people had the flu shot in just eight weeks this year, compared with 10 million the previous year.
“The capacity our national health service has to vaccinate in a short period of time is frankly excellent and gives us confidence that we can achieve this ambitious goal,” said Sanchez.
“We still have very difficult months ahead of us, but the roadmap has been drawn up.”
More details of the plan, which has been in development since September, will be revealed after it was approved during a weekly cabinet meeting on Tuesday, Sanchez said.
Spain was hit hard by the pandemic and suffered more than 1.5 million confirmed infections – the European Union’s second highest number after France.
The virus has claimed 42,619 deaths in Spain, the fourth highest number after the UK, Italy and France.
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