Europe, Latest on coronavirus outbreak

Spain's wave of COVID infections leads to wave of restrictions

Cases also on rise in neighboring Portugal, where over 3,700 more people test positive for coronavirus

Alyssa McMurtry   | 23.07.2021
Spain's wave of COVID infections leads to wave of restrictions


Spain registered more than 31,000 new COVID-19 infections on Friday and the country’s surging infection rate is pushing more regions to backtrack on their summer reopening plans.

Overnight curfews have been reinstated in parts of Catalonia, Valencia, Cantabria, and Navarra. These curfews affect millions of people, including the tourists in some of the areas’ popular holiday spots.

This week, the governments of Galicia and the Canary Islands announced that vaccine certificates or negative coronavirus test results will become mandatory for indoor drinking or dining venues.

Much of the country has also shut down nightclubs, although the capital Madrid is one of the regions that left them open.

Spain has become a patchwork of restrictions, as limits on gatherings, occupancy, or social distance change between cities, provinces, and regions.

Despite having the most COVID-19 infections across the EU countries, Spain is also at the forefront in vaccination, with 54% of the population now fully vaccinated.

But Spain’s vaccine strategy has focused on vaccinating older people first. The majority of people younger than 30 years old still have not had the chance to receive a single jab.

This week, Spanish Health Minister Carolina Darias said 83% of the infections were seen among the non-vaccinated population.

Since most of the non-vaccinated people are young, hospitalizations and deaths have been nowhere near as severe as in previous waves.

In mid-February, the last time Spain had such a high infection rate, nearly 28,000 people were hospitalized for COVID-19. Now, around 8,000 people are under treatment at hospitals, although the number is growing each day.

On Friday, Spain reported 27 additional COVID-19 deaths, 15 more than the same day last week.

Spain’s government hopes to have at least 70% of the population immunized by the end of the summer, a threshold they hope will dramatically bring down infections.

Cases are also on the rise in neighboring Portugal, where over 3,700 people tested positive for the disease on Friday.

The number of fatalities in Portugal has reached the highest point over the last four months, with 16 more people losing their lives.

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