Spain’s Covid numbers continue to rise 2 months after lockdown ended

Madrid, Aug 21 (efe-epa).- Spanish health authorities on Friday said they had registered 8,148 new coronavirus cases across the country, 3,650 in the last 24 hours, as the number of cases continued to rise exactly two months after the country emerged from a draconian lockdown.

According to the health ministry, some 37,064 cases have been picked up by testing in the last week, a figure that has prompted hotspot regions to enforce new restrictions just over two weeks before school children were scheduled to return to the classroom.

Authorities in Madrid, the worst-affected region during the height of the pandemic, said 1,004 new cases and 12 deaths were logged in the last 24 hours. The cases are concentrated in the city’s densely populated, lower-income southern neighborhoods.

Local health officials on Friday urged residents of the city’s worst-affected neighborhoods to “stay at home” and avoid non-essential travel and gatherings but ruled out a new lockdown for the time being.

However, in light of the recent uptick in cases, American tech giant Apple said it would temporarily close its four stores in the city starting Monday.

A Madrid judge on Friday reversed fresh coronavirus restrictions introduced by the regional government, which included a ban on smoking in public when social-distancing was not possible and the closure of night-clubs.

The judge argued there had been no legal basis to ratify the rules, which have been adopted by a raft of Spain’s autonomous regions.

Regional authorities in the Basque Country said they had detected 724 Covid-19 cases in the last 24 hours, the highest daily figure since the pandemic began.

Castilla-La Mancha, which lies to the south of Madrid, on Friday became the first Spanish region to order the closure of brothels, a move that other local governments are expected to follow.

The new figures in Spain bring the overall tally of coronavirus infections and deaths since the onset of the pandemic to 386,054 and over 28,700 deaths, making it one of Europe’s worst-affected nations.

Prime minister Pedro Sánchez has returned from summer vacations to Madrid and is expected to hold a cabinet meeting on Tuesday. EFE-EPA


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