June 19, 2020 / 12:20 PM / 24 days ago

Spain revises COVID-19 deaths upwards to above 28,000

MADRID (Reuters) - Spain’s health ministry raised its coronavirus death toll to 28,313 on Friday after ironing out database inconsistencies, and said the disease was under control in Spain’s nine remaining active clusters as it prepared to reopen to tourism.

A physical therapist adjusts her protective face shield before a physiotherapy session at the Hospital Vall d'Hebron facility, a hastily converted sports centre, in Barcelona, Spain, June 10, 2020. REUTERS/Nacho Doce

The death toll had not been updated since June 7, when Spain reported 27,136 deaths while it was implementing a new methodology for logging cases and deaths.

The new tally includes 53 fatalities over the past week till Thursday.

Spain is preparing to end its state of emergency on Sunday, allowing free travel across the country and opening up its borders to much-needed European tourism.

Health Minister Salvador Illa said all arriving passengers would have their temperature taken, submit information on whether they have had the virus - which could prompt further tests - as well as provide their whereabouts in Spain.

Illa also told a news conference around 34 coronavirus clusters had been detected in the past six weeks, but that number had now fallen sharply.

“Nine clusters are still active, but all are under control,” Illa said, adding that nursing homes and slaughterhouses were among the venues where they were detected.

Amid repeated changes in recent weeks on when and how to open its borders to foreign tourists, Spain said on Tuesday it might impose a quarantine on British travellers in response to a similar policy announced by Britain.

A foreign ministry source said on Friday Spain expected a decision very soon in its talks with Britain on whether to establish a travel corridor to facilitate tourism and avoid imposing a quarantine on travellers.

Britons account for more than a fifth of the roughly 80 million tourists Spain receives every year.

Britain, with more than 42,400 documented coronavirus-linked deaths, and Spain are among the countries hardest hit by COVID-19.

Additional reporting by Jose Rodriguez; Editing by Andrey Khalip and Gareth Jones

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