Spain ‘Goes Socialist’ to Fight the Coronavirus, Seizes All Private Health Care

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MADRID – Spain became the fourth most coronavirus-infected nation in the world on Monday, surpassing South Korea as the arc of contagion rises. Spain recorded at least 7,753 cases on Monday, marking a 34.7 percent jump from the 5,754 cases recorded Saturday and a 161 percent jump from the 2,965 cases Friday, according to the World Health Organization, Fox News reported.

China, where the novel virus allegedly originated, remains the country with the most cases. Italy came in second, recording 24,747 cases on Monday. That number was a 16.9 percent jump from the 21,157 cases Sunday, and a 63.7 percent jump from the 15,113 cases Friday. Iran came in third.

Spain also came in fourth for the number of recorded deaths — at least 288. At least 3,218 people in China, 1,809 people in Italy and 724 people in Iran have died from the virus. The latest figures prompted the Spanish government to take over its private health care sector, as well as requisition materials such as face masks and COVID-19 tests, The Guardian reported.

Spain had already declared a state of emergency on Saturday and implemented a lockdown, ordering people to stay indoors unless they needed to leave to buy food or medicine, go to the hospital or report to work. Transport minister, José Luis Ábalos, said it was likely the measures would be extended past the initial 15-day period.

At least 6,470 people worldwide have died of the novel virus as of Monday morning. At least 164,470 cases have been recorded around the globe. France, Spain and the Netherlands have followed Italy in enforcing nationwide lockdowns amid the global pandemic, closing schools, restaurants, bars, as well as imposing travel restrictions, and canceling sporting events, effectively shutting down most public life.

At least 20,000 people in Italy have been fined for violating the lockdown measures, The Guardian reported. Authorities in the Spanish capital of Madrid fined at least 199 people and arrested one person for breaking the quarantine, Mayor Jose Luis Martinez Almeida told state television TVE.

If the numbers are taken into account, including the size of the population, as well as the percentage of deaths among those affected, China has shown it’s probably the most effective in fighting the COVID-19. Given its massive population and tens of thousands of patients, it had only twice as many deaths as Italy. And the epidemic is already dying down in China, while it’s still to reach its peak in Europe.

Neoliberal capitalism has shown its sheer inefficiency during the coronavirus crisis, with many Western and Western-allied countries facing a borderline collapse of the entire system. This applies not just to the profit-driven health system, but also all other public services. While China was able to build two hospitals in less than 10 days and put tens of millions in quarantine, the US took weeks just to decide what to do.

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