Spain held a remembrance service at the Royal Palace here for the 81,043 people who died due to Covid-19 since the onset of the pandemic early last year.
The service on Thursday was attended by King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia, Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez and leaders of main political parties, reports Xinhua news agency.
The family members of 102 Spanish health workers who succumbed to the disease also attended the service, where they received medals to recognise the sacrifice of their relatives during the pandemic.
The 97-year-old Anceli Hidalgo, who was the first person to be vaccinated against Covid-19 in Spain on December 27, 2020, addressed the event, during which she thanked health workers, care home employees and ambulance drivers, saying their “work and effort is saving a lot of lives”.
She also asked the young people who have not been vaccinated to “respect the pandemic”.
King Felipe VI paid tribute in his speech to health workers who “gave the best that they had”.
“We have to remember all of those who are no longer with us and show our most solemn respect and admiration for the health workers, who have given everything since the start of the pandemic.
“There are no words that can truly give consolation for the loss of a loved one, but you have our respect and our deepest emotional embrace,” he said, while warning the pandemic has not yet been beaten.
At the event, Maria Diaz, a health worker, expressed the hope for the future in a country where 47.4 per cent of the population have received both doses of a vaccine and 60 per cent have received one jab.
“The vaccine has allowed us to think about a better future. Science has won once again,” she noted.
The latest data from the Ministry of Health confirmed 26,390 new cases of COVID-19 in the 24-hour period, with the 14-day incidence rate rising to 469.50 cases per 100,000 inhabitants, and the incidence rate at 1,508.64 per 100,000 for those aged 20-29.
The new figure increased the country’s overall infection tally to 4,069,162.