Talk:First COVID-19 cases

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The COVID-19 pandemic in Spain. First wave: from the first cases to the end of June 2020

Monographs from the National Atlas of Spain. New content


Thematic structure > The COVID-19 pandemic in Spain > First COVID-19 cases

The first COVID-19 case was reported in Spain on 31 January 2020 in La Gomera [Canary Islands (Canarias)], imported from Germany. The second case was reported on 9 February 2020 in Majorca (Mallorca) [Balearic Islands (Illes Balears)], imported from France. The third case was reported on 24 February in Teneriffe (Tenerife) [Canary Islands (Canarias)], imported from Italy. The following cases were reported on 25 February: three in Teneriffe (Tenerife) who were relatives of the previous case, two in Madrid, one in the Region of Valencia (Comunitat Valenciana) and one in Catalonia (Cataluña). By 2 March, 114 cases had been reported in Spain. The most remarkable increase was detected on Monday, 9 March, when the number of cases doubled within 24 hours, i.e. from 527 recorded up to 8 March to 999 identified up to 9 March 2020.

Once the information on each individual case was updated, it was possible to analyse cases for this study grouped by symptom onset date and province of residence. If the symptom onset date was not available, the diagnosis date minus 6 days was used (this period is the median time between symptom onset and diagnosis).

This analysis identified a small number of COVID-19 cases reported in late February and early March, which started symptoms between 31 January and 2 February, in the provinces of Madrid, Barcelona, Tarragona, Castellón, Valencia, Pontevedra, Ourense, León, Cáceres, Seville (Sevilla), Cádiz, Granada and Santa Cruz de Teneriffe (Santa Cruz de Tenerife). Incidence was particularly widespread in Madrid and Barcelona from 23 February, according to the symptom onset date. As of 8 March, the day before the number of recorded cases doubled (see above), more than 250 cases had begun to show symptoms in Álava, La Rioja, Navarre (Navarra), Valencia, Alicante and Málaga, whilst Barcelona had more than 1,500 cases and Madrid had 5,774. The increase in the number of cases was highest in the most populated provinces with the greatest intra-national and international links. Madrid and Barcelona were therefore consolidated as the two main hotspots in Spain in absolute terms. In relative terms, the incidence measured in cases per 100,000 inhabitants in the total period up to 8 March was higher in inland Spain, especially in the provinces of Álava, La Rioja, Soria, Madrid and Ciudad Real.

In the map of First hospital admissions due to COVID-19, the data refer to the diagnosis date and province of residence; if the diagnosis date is not available, the date of declaration to the regional authorities is used. The first hospital admission, dated 18 January in Madrid, was diagnosed retrospectively in March, based on a stored sample. At the end of February, the first hospital admissions due to COVID-19 also appeared in Burgos, La Rioja and Santa Cruz de Teneriffe (Santa Cruz de Tenerife). From 1 to 8 March, hospital admissions were recorded in almost all the coastal provinces in the North and East as well as in many inland provinces, with a remarkable increase in Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia, Álava, Saragossa (Zaragoza), Málaga and the Balearic Islands (Illes Balears). All provinces had a fairly low cumulative incidence during this period (less than five cases per 100,000 inhabitants), except for Madrid, Álava and La Rioja. In addition, no hospital admissions were yet recorded in several provinces during this period.

The first death from COVID-19 took place in Valencia on 13 February. However, this death was diagnosed later, in mid-March. This was somebody who had recently travelled to Nepal, whose pneumonia rapidly worsened and whose clinical suspicion of COVID-19 did not emerge until almost a month later. Thus, the first deaths from COVID-19 were reported on 8 March: fifteen in Madrid, two in Barcelona, Biscay (Bizkaia), Álava and Saragossa (Zaragoza), and one in Ciudad Real.


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Co-authorship of the text in Spanish: Carmen Bentué Martínez, María Caudevilla Lambán, Carlos López Escolano, Elena Vanessa Martínez Sánchez, Raúl Postigo Vidal, María Sebastián López, María José Sierra Moros, Fernando Simón Soria y María Zúñiga Antón. See the list of members engaged

Adaptation of the text and translation into English for this international version: Andrés Arístegui Cortijo (Translator in chief)


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You can download the complete publication The COVID-19 pandemic in Spain. First wave: from the first cases to the end of June 2020 in Libros Digitales del ANE site.

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