Spain on Thursday paid a solemn tribute to the more than 28,000 victims of Covid-19 in the presence of EU leaders amid a rebound in the epidemic in one of the European countries most affected by the disease.
“Today symbolically, we say goodbye to mothers, fathers, children, brothers, friends. We take their hands, we caress their cheeks, we kiss their foreheads, we record their looks in our hearts “, said, in a moving speech, Hernando Calleja, brother of a famous Spanish journalist, José María Calleja, died of Covid .
Under a bright sun, in front of the Royal Palace in Madrid, this ceremony was presided over by King Felipe VI and brought together the highest authorities of the Spanish State and leaders of the EU and international organizations, all masked and seated on chairs spaced apart to respect safety distances.
The President of the European Council, Charles Michel, the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, the Director of the World Health Organization (WHO), Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, and the Secretary General of NATO, Jens Stoltenberg , were notably present.
“We will never forget the victims. You are not alone in the face of your pain, “said the king to the relatives of the deceased.
“It is a pain that we share, your mourning is ours,” he added.
Reconfinement of an area in Catalonia
This state tribute to the victims of the Covid comes against the backdrop of the rebound of the epidemic in the country, almost a month after the end of a very strict confinement.
While the population has resumed its life and the borders have reopened with Europe and a dozen countries outside the EU, Spain has experienced an increase in contamination in recent days.
Authorities are closely monitoring more than 120 active households. The one that worries them the most is located in Catalonia (north-east), around the city of Lleida where around 160,000 inhabitants were reconfigured on Wednesday.
Residents of three neighborhoods in a Barcelona suburb, L’Hospitalet de Llobregat, were also asked to stay at home.
In this region and many others, regional governments have tightened the screw by strengthening the mandatory nature of the mask, even when the safety distance can be maintained.
The government of socialist Pedro Sanchez, bombarded with criticism by the opposition for its management of the crisis, had already decreed at the end of May ten days of national mourning for the victims, the longest mourning since the restoration of democracy in the country, in 1977.
Spain, the seventh country in the world with the highest number of deaths from coronavirus, officially recorded more than 28,400 deaths. But according to the National Institute of Statistics and a public research organization, the country has recorded since mid-March an excess mortality of 43,000 to 44,000 deaths.
The government claims that this figure includes other causes of death as well as suspected cases of Covid that could not be confirmed by PCR tests, an essential condition for inclusion in the official balance sheet.
The executive of Mr. Sanchez, who had declared a state of alert from March 14 to June 21 in order to be able to impose the containment of the population, has so far excluded from re-establishing such an emergency regime and claims that the regions, competent in health matters, have sufficient tools to control the epidemic.