‘Oldest woman in Spain’ survives coronavirus at age 113

Maria Branyas, believed to be Spain's oldest woman, survived the Spanish flu, the country's civil war and coronavirus.
Maria Branyas, believed to be Spain's oldest woman, survived the Spanish flu, the country's civil war and coronavirus. @MariaBranyas112/Twitter

A 113-year-old woman, who’s believed to be the oldest woman in Spain, has officially recovered from the coronavirus.

Maria Branyas was first diagnosed with the virus after Spain went into lockdown in March, the BBC reports, and recovered after weeks in isolation.

She only suffered mild symptoms.

Branyas can now add coronavirus to her roster of things she’s survived, along with the Spanish flu pandemic and the Spanish Civil War from 1936 to 1939, after arriving in the country from the U.S. by boat with her family during the First World War.

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Branyas was born in San Francisco in 1907, the Agence France-Presse (AFP) says, to a journalist father from northern Spain.

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The woman has been living at Santa Maria del Tura care home in Olot for 20 years, the Economic Times says. That’s where she was diagnosed and waited out the illness.

“She survived the disease and is doing fine,” a spokesperson for the residence told AFP. “She feels good now. She took a test last week and the result was negative.”

Her daughter, Rosa Moret, has created a Twitter account dedicated to her mother.

Coronavirus around the world: May 12, 2020
Coronavirus around the world: May 12, 2020

“Thank you very much for your congratulations and encouragement,” Moret tweeted on behalf of her mom on Tuesday. “Although I would have preferred not to have to live this unfortunate situation of nonsense in the treatment of the elderly in the country, I thank you.”

“And a lot of strength to all the grandmothers and grandparents who are still struggling,” she continued. “Older people do not deserve the forgetfulness they have received.”

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She was also communicating with the outside world, via her daughter, while in isolation.

“I won’t be able to help you. In fact, for my age, I will no longer be there,” she wrote on April 2. “But, believe me, you need a new order, and a change in the hierarchy of values and priorities, a New Human Age … Health and strength, you will succeed.”

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Spain has been hit especially hard by the pandemic, with more than 227,000 confirmed cases and more than 26,900 deals.

Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:

Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.

To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. They also recommend minimizing contact with others, staying home as much as possible and maintaining a distance of two metres from other people if you go out.

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