CORONAVIRUS confinement measures may have saved nearly half a million lives in Spain according to a new study.

The study published in the Nature journal has calculated how many lives were saved in 11 European countries thanks to confinement policies during the pandemic.

The study called Estimating the effects of non-pharmaceutical interventions on COVID-19 in Europe was conducted by a team from Imperial College and focused on Spain, the UK, Italy, Germany, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland.

Researchers used the number of deaths in each country to estimate the number of infected patients two weeks earlier and studied their evolution until the start of May which is when some countries began lifting their lockdown.

The study concluded that ‘major non-pharmaceutical interventions and lockdowns in particular have had a large effect on reducing transmission.’

Without any measures, experts estimate that there would have been more than 3 million additional deaths across those 11 countries, with 450,000 of those being in Spain.

Shamir Batt, a statistician at Oxford University and co-author of the study said: “The virus-transmission rate has dropped until it has come under control in all the analysed countries.

“The main thing now is to assess which measures must remain in place to keep transmission under control.”

A biostatistician at Valencia University, Miguel Angel Martinez- Beneito however warns that: “These figures should be viewed skeptically, they are probably an overestimate.”

The authors of the study also mention its limitations: “Amid the ongoing pandemic, we rely on death data that is incomplete, with systematic biases in reporting, and subject to future consolidation.”

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