The coronavirus death toll in Spain has risen by 619 overnight to 16,972

The coronavirus death toll in Spain has risen by 619 overnight to 16,972, the health ministry has said.

The number of deaths rose from 16,353 recorded the previous day, breaking a three-day streak of daily declines.

The pope’s Easter “Urbi et Orbi” (to the city and the world message) delivered from an empty St. Peter’s Basilica instead of to the usual crowd of tens of thousands in the square outside, was by far his most pressing and political since his election in 2013.

Saying the message of this year’s “Easter of solitude” should be a “contagion of hope,” he heaped praise on doctors, nurses and others risking their lives to save others and hailed those working to keep essential services running.

Not everyone is happy, however. Denmark’s prime minister, Mette Frederiksen, enjoyed a surge in public support during the initial stages of the crisis when she closed borders, as well as theatres, museums and shopping centres — and schools.

But as infection rates fall, she has been attacked by parents for insisting that primary and nursery schools reopen on Wednesday. More than 35,000 have joined a Facebook group claiming that her Social Democratic minority government is using children as guinea pigs — a charge it denies.

The government has also carried out random sampling which suggests that as many as 2.5 per cent of people in Stockholm have been infected. 

That implies a higher figure of around 60,000 in the Stockholm region, suggesting that many people have had the virus without being added to the official count.

He also warned the European Union that it risked collapse if it did not agree on how to help the region recover.

This is from the Reuters report of the pope’s address:

“This is not a time for indifference, because the whole world is suffering and needs to be united in facing the pandemic,” he said in the message, almost entirely dedicated to the pandemic’s effects on personal and international relations. “Indifference, self-centredness, division and forgetfulness are not words we want to hear at this time. We want to ban these words forever!” he said.