At least eight community pharmacy staff in Spain have died after contracting coronavirus, the General Council of Official Colleges of Pharmacists in Spain has announced.

The eight fatalities, announced yesterday (April 1), were from three different Spanish districts -- Madrid, La Rioja and Ciudad Real -- and have occurred since the first outbreak of the virus in Spain on 31 January 2020.

The tragic losses have spurred the President of the General Council, Jesús Aguilar, to stress the importance of PPE in pharmacy.

He said: ‘We need to implement the maximum safety measures so that pharmacists have access to personal protective equipment.’

In Madrid, the most severely affected region in the country, 57 pharmacies have been forced to close due to the virus.

So far, 276 pharmacy staff members have had to take time off work after contracting or coming into contact with coronavirus.

This news comes as Spain’s coronavirus death toll surpasses 10,000 -- a rise of over 950 deaths from the previous day.

Spain now has the second-highest coronavirus death toll behind Italy, where over 13,000 people have been reported to have died from the disease.

More than 6,000 people are currently needing intensive care treatment, while close to 27,000 patients have recovered from Covid-19 in the country.

In the UK, of those hospitalised who have tested positive for coronavirus, 2,921 have died, two of which are health workers

The issue of PPE has also been prevalent in the UK after many pharmacy teams across England said they felt ‘abandoned’ by the government after Public Health England stopped providing personal protective equipment (PPE) for pharmacy teams, the equipment they require to protect themselves from Covid-19.

Since then, some community pharmacy teams have reported having received relevant kits from the government, but supplies remain short.

What’s happening in your area? Contact Isabel at [email protected] with any information that would be useful for us to share with community pharmacy colleagues