Spain: COVID-19 cases spike to highest level post-lockdown

Women wear protective face masks as they walk through an empty Plaza de Catalunya (Catalonia Square), amidst concerns over coronavirus outbreak, in Barcelona, Spain March 14, 2020. (REUTERS Photo)

The Spanish Health Ministry reported 852 more COVID-19 infections on Friday-the highest daily jump since the lockdown ended last month.

The number of weekly infections diagnosed in the last week-2,944-also hit the highest number since May 29.

Spain is dealing with over 70 separate coronavirus outbreaks that appear to be extending in the so-called new normal.

One of the most worrying is in the Catalan county of Segria, where 280 people tested positive within the last day, according to local health data. The county's local hospital in Lleida has seen the number of COVID-19 patients double within the last few days and is reporting a shortage of staff.

Residents of Segria have not been given stay-at-home orders, but no one is allowed to enter or leave the region for non-essential purposes.

Outbreaks in Galicia and the Basque Country, two regions set to hold regional elections this weekend, are also of particular concern.

On Friday, leaders of both regions said people who have tested positive for COVID-19 in the last two weeks or are waiting for test results will not be able to vote on Sunday. So, at least 400 people will not be able to exercise their democratic right.

The region of A Marina in Galicia, which has been cordoned off due to an outbreak since Monday, allowed some towns to resume integration with the rest of the country on Friday, as the spread was concentrated around one city in particular.

Meanwhile, on Friday, the western Spanish region of Extremadura joined Catalonia and the Balearic Islands in announcing that masks will become mandatory in all public spaces.

There will be exceptions for wearing masks on beaches or during exercise, but even when at a restaurant or outdoor cafe, people will only be allowed to remove their mask while eating or drinking, or risk fines otherwise.

In total, reports 253,908 confirmed cases and 28,403 deaths from the disease, with two more fatalities since Thursday.

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