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Spain extends coronavirus lockdown to April 12, says its ‘at war’ in China market to buy medical supplies

Spain extends coronavirus lockdown to April 12, says its ‘at war’ in China market to buy medical supplies

Spain extended its coronavirus lockdown on Thursday to at least April 12. Europe’s second-worst hit country has fought “a real war” procuring medical supplies in an overheated Chinese market that officials said was rife with fraud and speculative deals.

The death toll rose by 655 overnight to 4,089. That was down from 738 deaths the previous day when Spain overtook China by the total number of deaths since the outbreak began. Health Minister Salvador Illa cautiously told parliament the data “make us think we are starting a stabilization phase.”

Spain has ordered $471.4 million of masks, gloves and testing kits from China, and has turned to NATO partners for protective gear and ventilators. Prices have gone up ten-fold in some cases and Chinese firms were demanding payment upfront, a diplomatic source told Reuters.

A health authority source said there were queues of aircraft in some Chinese airports just to buy such supplies and middle-men often defrauded buyers.