MADRID — The number of coronavirus infections in Spain rose by 55,019 on Monday, the biggest increase since the start of the pandemic and more than double the increase of 25,595 new infections on Friday, health ministry data showed.
The death toll went up by 379, bringing the total number of coronavirus fatalities to 36,257 in Spain, which approved a six-month state of emergency last week to try to curb the second wave of contagion.
The 379 deaths was the sharpest one-day rise during the second wave, though still a far cry from nearly 900 at the peak of the first wave of the pandemic in late March.
The big jump in infections could partly be explained by an accumulation of cases over a three-day bank holiday weekend in Spain.
The official cumulative number of infections now stands at 1,240,697, but Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez has said the real total is likely to be above 3 million, based on prevalence studies and estimates.
The northern region of Asturias asked for permission on Monday from the Spanish government to impose a two-week home lockdown as the pressure on health services reached breaking point.
“What most worries is the rise in hospital cases, more than the first wave and above all in intensive care. This could push our health service to the limit,” Asturias regional president Adrian Barbón told a press conference.
However, Spain’s health minister Salvador Illa refused the region permission to impose a full lockdown, saying authorities in Asturias should wait to see the effects of a curfew and other restrictions imposed under the state of emergency.
Dr. Rafael Bengoa, co-founder of Bilbao’s Institute for Health and Strategy, predicted Spain would impose a home lockdown within two weeks because the rate of infection was not slowing down. “With the current measures, they are not lowering the infection rates, and it is necessary to go to the next level, a March-April type confinement,” he told Catalunya Radio on Sunday. — Reuters