Spain's public health service is being put under increasing pressure with the country recording 93,822 new infections and 767 deaths over the weekend.
The record numbers reported on Monday which cover the previous Friday to Sunday mean that the incidence of the virus measured over the last 14 days has rocketed to a new high of 885 cases per 100,000.
This is in comparison to the rate of 829 cases as reported only on Friday.
It means that Spain’s infection rate is higher than the UK which currently stands at 862 per 100,000. However, the number of deaths recorded in the UK from the virus is almost double that of Spain’s with 97,939 deaths.
The worrying figures mean that Spain has now recorded a total of 2,593,382 Coronavirus infections since the pandemic began with the death toll now standing at 56,208.
Unlike many other countries, Spain elected to relax the lockdown and other measures over the Christmas and New Year periods, which many believe to be the root cause of the recent spike.
The UK variant (B.1.1.7) which is thought to be more infectious is also thought to be contributing to the elevated numbers.
On Monday evening, Fernando Simón, the director of the Health Ministry’s Coordination Center for Health Alerts (CCAES), warned that hospitals were being placed under increasing pressure and that the country must “urgently” relieve the pressure.
According to recently published ministry figures, 40.38% of ICU beds are now being occupied by COVID-19 patients with 30,483 now hospitalised.
He said, “Spain is not doing well and we have to be aware of it”.
Simón stressed that further measures would most likely be needed to drive down the infection rates and ease the pressure on intensive care units with recent restrictions imposed by the different regions failing to halt the third wave.
He also said that the more contagious British variant of the virus was not responsible for the rise in numbers and that it only accounted for around 5% of the country’s total cases to date.
However, he did stress that Spain was likely to record far more cases of the mutant strain and that it could be the most dominant variant around March.
The vaccination continues to gather pace with 1,237,593 doses of the different vaccines now administered.
Andalucia leads the way with the most people vaccinated with 226,309, followed by Catalunya with 184,778, Madrid with 165,514 and the Valencian Community with 104,449.
Spain is currently administering two variations of the vaccines which are the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna vaccines.
There have now been 1,214,850 Pfizer/BioNTech vaccinations with the Moderna vaccine currently at 22,743.
The UK where the vaccine rollout began earlier, is now thought to have vaccinated over 6.5 million people according to recent government figures.
Image Credit: Pool Moncloa / Borja Puig de la Bellacasa