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Spain to hold 10 days of mourning for virus victims

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This video grab taken on May 19, 2020 from the website of the World Health Organization (WHO) shows Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez delivering a speech via video link at the closing of a World Health Assembly virtual meeting from the WHO headquarters in Geneva, amid the COVID-19 pandemic, caused by the novel coronavirus. – World Health Organization member states agreed on May 19, 2020 to an independent probe into the UN agency’s COVID-19 response as US criticism mounted over its handling of the pandemic. (Photo by – / various sources / AFP) / 

Spain is to hold 10 days of official mourning for victims of the coronavirus epidemic that has so far claimed nearly 27,000 lives, the government said Tuesday.

The mourning period is to begin on Wednesday when all flags on public buildings will be lowered to half-mast in a country that has suffered one of the most deadly outbreaks of the virus.

Writing on Twitter, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said it would be “10 days, the longest period of mourning in our democracy, in which we will all express our sorrow and pay homage to those who have died.”

The mourning period, which was approved at Tuesday’s cabinet meeting, would also include an official ceremony to honour victims presided over by King Felipe VI, government spokeswoman Maria Jesus Montero said.

“Eight out of 10 victims were older than 70, they were those who helped build the country that we know today,” she said.

China, where the virus emerged late in 2019 and has now officially killed 4,634 people, held a national day of mourning on April 4, while Italy, which has so far suffered almost 32,900 deaths, mourned the victims on March 31.

And this week, the United States lowered its flags to half-mast for three days to remember its dead, who now number more than 98,200, the heaviest toll in the world.

Spain on Monday said the virus had so far claimed 26,834 lives, revising down the death toll by nearly 2,000 following a change in the system of gathering data.

The overall number of cases had topped 235,000 in Spain, officials said.


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