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Government officials have warned of the impending economic crisis while medical authorities have shown concern over the dramatic surge in cases. Health chiefs said the infection rates had quadrupled from 13.5 to 55.1 new infections a week per 100,000 people since mid-July.
This was roughly half the rate of infection at the peak of Spain’s first wave in late March, when nearly 120 new infections per 100,000 people were being reported weekly.
Government figures showed that the number of active outbreaks was getting out of control, with 100 new clusters identified in the past week to total 580 across the country.
Some of the hotspots for the virus were the Basque country, Aragon and Madrid.
These regions represented a large percentage of the 4,507 new infections reported on Friday.
Spain number of cases – more than 314,000 in total since the onset of the pandemic – is the highest number in Europe, according to the World Health Organisation.
Pablo Casado, the leader of the main opposition Popular Party, has condemned the government’s response to the pandemic, claiming that “the management could not be worse.”
The country’s struggling economy relied heavily on the functioning of its tourism industry, but the sector suffered another hit after 22 European countries have urged their citizens to avoid travelling to Spain.
The World Health Organisation said it did not expect Spain to go into a total lockdown again.
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María Neira, the WHO director of public health, said that there were “many places in the country where the situation has been controlled”.
She added: “For this reason, at present, a new confinement is not necessary”.
She said Spain was not entering a second wave because it “never left that first wave”.
Fernando Simón, Director of the Coordination Centre for Health Alerts and Emergencies of Spain’s Ministry of Health, blamed the surge in infections on the restoration of the nightlife sector.
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However, extensive outbreaks have also been linked to the horticultural sector and at food-processing companies.
A committee of prominent scientists have called for an independent assessment of the government’s coronavirus response.
Spain’s crisis has seen more than 50,000 cases among health workers and almost 20,000 deaths in nursing homes.
The board of top medical professionals wrote in an article for the medical journal The Lancet that an independent audit should set out the government’s handling of the crisis.
The professionals claimed that “Spain is among the most affected countries” despite the fact that “it has one of the best health systems in the world”.
They called for an inquiry into the country’s poor preparation ahead of the pandemic, as well as the lack of co-ordination between central and regional governments.
They added: “All these problems were aggravated by the effects of a decade of austerity that has reduced the capacity of the public health system.”
Spanish actor Antonio Banderas became the latest high-profile personality to announce he had contracted the disease.
He revealed the news on Monday via an Instagram post featuring a black and white picture of him as a baby.
The post read: “Hello everyone, I want to make public that today, August 10, I am forced to celebrate my 60th birthday following quarantine, having tested positive with Covid-19 disease.
“I would like to add that I feel relatively well, just a little more tired than usual and confident that I will recover as soon as possible following the medical indications that I hope will allow me to overcome the infectious process that I suffer and that is affecting so many people around the planet.”
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