Spain: COVID-19 cases rise ahead of Easter holidays
UK variant making up more than 50% of cases nationwide, says health minister
Spain’s health minister warned of increasing cases nationwide on Wednesday but did not announce new national restrictions for the upcoming Easter holiday season.
“Each region can and maybe should establish stricter measures where necessary,” Carolina Darias said after meeting with heads of Spain’s regional governments.
She said the Health Ministry had already set minimum rules for holidays such as blocking travel between regions and an 11 p.m. curfew.
Bars and restaurants have reopened in virtually all of Spain and all regions have relaxed measures since infections peaked following the Christmas holidays.
Health officials hope that a similar spike will not be seen after the Easter break when children stay home from school and residents tend to take holidays over the four-day weekend.
Many traditional religious festivities have been canceled.
On Wednesday, the Health Ministry reported 7,026 new coronavirus infections -- up 14% compared to the same day last week.
“We are at a critical moment,” said Darias. “The trend is ascending and we need to reverse it.”
The variant first found in the UK is also making up more than 50% of cases in Spain nationwide, she added.
The country also confirmed another 320 deaths from coronavirus, bringing the total to 73,744.
Although hospitalizations fell slightly, Darias warned that around 20% of all intensive care units remain full of COVID-19 patients.
Meanwhile, the country resumed vaccinating people younger than 65 with the AstraZeneca vaccine after a nine-day pause.
In total, Spain has administered around 6.5 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.