Spain's coronavirus cases almost double overnight to 999

A woman wears a protective face mask while travelling on the subway in Barcelona, Spain, on March 8, 2020. PHOTO: REUTERS

MADRID (BLOOMBERG) - The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Spain almost doubled overnight, with acute concentrations in the capital Madrid and the Basque country, an industrial hub.

The number of cases jumped to 999 on Monday (March 9) from 589 on March 8, the Health Ministry said. Some 26 people have died as a result of the virus, ABC reported.

While Spain has not adopted the same measures as Italy which has closed down all schools and imposed travel restrictions in the north of the country, the city of Vitoria in northern Spain ordered a shutdown of all schools for 15 days to try to contain the outbreak.

The rapid spread of the virus that originated in China, combined with Saudi Arabia's oil price war, has triggered a dramatic day in financial markets. The biggest question facing Spain's government is what kind of radical steps it will take, and more importantly whether they will work. Italy's effort to impose a lockdown over the weekend has struggled to take hold.

The Spanish Health Ministry was holding an emergency meeting with the Madrid regional government around noon to discuss possible reasons for the spike in cases in and around the capital.

In Madrid alone, confirmed cases increased by about 200 between Sunday and Monday.

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