• Quote: ‘We still have a big problem when it comes to the overloading of our ICUs’

“We’re getting there,” – that was the message from Fernando Simón, head of Spain’s centre for Health Emergencies in the wake of the coronavirus epidemic.

Speaking at a press conference on Saturday, March 28, he said: “We don’t know exactly when we’ll get confirmation, but we’re getting close to the peak of the curve that we’re studying so anxiously.

“In some parts of the country, they probably may even have passed it.” However he warned: “But we need to be cautious with preliminary information.”

The coronavirus outbreak in Spain recorded a single-day death toll of 832, with the number of Covid-19 cases rising from 64,059 on Friday to 72,248 on Saturday. The number dead stood at 5,690. Between Thursday and Friday, March 26-27, 769 people died.

“The increase in cases is coming down in comparison with previous weeks, but it could be that there are cases that aren’t being detected in some regions,” said Fernando Simón.

The reaching milestone of a peak would not ease the pressure on Spain’s overstretched intensive care units(ICUs), predicted to pass beyond full capacity in less than a week’s time.

“We still have a big problem when it comes to the overloading of our ICUs,” said Fernando Simón.

“Patients who pick up the disease today (Saturday) may need a bed in an ICU in seven to 10 days.

“That means that we’re still seeing a lag between the control of transmission and the saturation of ICUs.

“It also means they’re going to be overloaded by the end of next week or the beginning of the following week,” he warned.

Fernando Simón, said extra efforts had to be made – in a bid to try to reduce the pressure on ICUs.

The director of Spain’s Carlos III Health Institute said researchers were studying how plasma from patients, who have recovered from the virus, could be used to treat those in hospital.

“We’ll keep financing projects over the coming weeks,” said Raquel Yotti.

“At the same time, we’ll carrying on working to ensure that Spain has the best diagnostic tests,” they said.

The Spanish government announced it had withdrawn 58,000 Chinese-made coronavirus testing kits from use, after it emerged that they had an accurate detection rate of just 30%, as reported in The Leader.

Other countries are struggling to diagnose and treat the coronavirus, and Spain has looked to China for rapid testing kits equipment and much-needed supplies.

An announcement was made that it would spend €432m (£390m) on tests, masks, gloves and other personal protective equipment.