Spain continues to grapple with the Coronavirus pandemic with the Ministry of Health reporting on Monday that there had been 84,287 new cases registered since Friday.
This is the biggest increase recorded by the health authorities since the pandemic began in March 2020.
Monday’s figures are around 25% more than the 61,422 new cases reported last Monday with fears that Spanish hospitals are now at breaking point.
The 14-day cumulative incidence rate has also soared, with the number of cases per 100,000 citizens now standing at 689. This is three times more than the 250 considered to be an extreme risk.
As of Tuesday 18, January, 23,184 people are currently in hospital due to the virus with 3,287 receiving intensive care.
According to the Ministry of Health, another 455 people lost their lives to the disease, bringing the current total to 53,769 fatalities.
Over the last few weeks, many of the country’s regions have tightened restrictions following the holiday period which was thought to have only inflamed the issue. The authorities hope that as a result of the restrictions, the cases will soon begin to fall in turn, easing the pressure on healthcare services.
Due to the increase in cases, a number of regional authorities have called on the government to introduce tougher restrictions including an earlier curfew time and another full lockdown.
However, on Monday the director of the Health Ministry’s Coordination Center for Health Alerts (CCAES) Fernando Simón said that full lockdowns were not the way to go and that there were “alternatives” to such measures.
Simón argued that the closure of bars and restaurants were the most effective strategy, although he conceded that the decision would not be a popular one.
Some regions including Castilla La Mancha already brought forward their curfew to 8 pm with the Balearics regional government also said to be in favour of a similar restriction.
The Basque country is thought to be considering even tougher measures and reducing the curfew time further to 6 pm.
Castilla y León recently announced an 8 pm nightly curfew on Friday going against the government’s legislation which says that 1o pm is the earliest curfew permitted. As a result, the central government is currently challenging the measure in the courts although the curfew will remain in place until a final ruling is made.
Curfews and other possible restrictions will be debated between the central and regional governments on Wednesday, however, the government urged the regional governments to act within the law.
The country continued to roll out its vaccination program this week with many citizens receiving their second dose.
According to Ministry data, as of Tuesday, 19, January the country had distributed 1,143,000 doses of the vaccine with 897,942 having been already administered.
This means that 78.5% of vaccines have now been administered with the Pfizer vaccine the most administered with over 1.1 million doses to date. The Moderna jab is also now being dispensed with over 35,000 given to patients so far.
Image Credit: La Moncloa