Spain registers record number of coronavirus cases

A health worker administers the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine to a member of the Emergency Medical Services of Madrid (SUMMA) in Madrid on January 12, 2021. – Spain’s regions are stepping up virus restrictions but the government remains adamant it would not impose a lockdown despite an expected post-Christmas surge in infections. (Photo by OSCAR DEL POZO / AFP)

MADRID, Spain (AFP) — Spain registered a record daily number of coronavirus cases on Wednesday, with nearly 39,000 new infections over the past 24 hours, the health ministry said.

A total of 38,869 new cases were recorded since Tuesday and 195 deaths.

The data showed Spain was in a situation of “very high risk, extreme risk”, said Carolina Darias, minister for territorial policy and civil service.

The numbers bring the total number of infections in Spain to 2.18 million and the number of fatalities to 52,878 since the start of the pandemic.

“The pressure is continuing to rise in hospitals,” said Health Minister Salvador Illa, but noted that the number of people being tested for the virus was also increasing.

More than 581,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine have already been administered, and that campaign is on the way to reaching its “cruising speed”, according to Illa.

Many parts of Spain have introduced new restrictive measures in a bid to stem the spread of Covid-19, including closing bars and restaurants.

Spain on Tuesday extended for another two weeks a ban on people entering from the UK by air or sea because of concerns over the new strain of the coronavirus detected there.

The entry restriction, which does not apply to Spanish nationals and those with legal residency in Spain, will remain in effect until February 2, the Spanish government said in a statement.

Like most European nations, Spain imposed the entry restrictions on December 22 following the discovery in Britain of a new strain of the coronavirus thought to be more contagious.

© Agence France-Presse