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Spain’s tragedy was all too predictable

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New York – From the hospitals in Bergamo to the Pope’s prayers in Rome, Italy has become the symbol of the COVID-19 epidemic in Europe. But as the contagion in Italy slows and the daily death toll starts to fall, the eyes of the world have moved to Spain, which is suffering from an equal — if not worse — outbreak.

Spain has more than 130,000 registered cases now and 12,000 recorded deaths. The death toll is lower than Italy in absolute terms, but slightly higher if one takes into account Spain’s smaller population. What’s worse is Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, much like his counterparts in France and the United Kingdom, ignored the health crisis unfolding in Italy and dithered before imposing the kind of draconian lockdown measures that could have saved thousands of lives.

The most reckless decision was allowing a demonstration to take place in Madrid on international women’s day (March 8). More than 120,000 people took to the streets even though Spain already had over 500 confirmed cases. The government only enforced a national lockdown in mid-March,........

© The Japan Times