Spain tops 2 million Covid-19 cases as infection rate continues to rise

A man walks as snow falls in the Retiro Park in downtown Madrid on Jan 7, 2021.
A man walks as snow falls in the Retiro Park in downtown Madrid on Jan 7, 2021.PHOTO: AFP

MADRID (REUTERS) - Spain became the fourth Western European country to pass 2 million cumulative Covid-19 cases, health ministry data showed on Thursday (Jan 7), while the rate of infection continued to climb.

The ministry reported 42,360 cases since Tuesday, bringing the total to 2,024,904. The death toll rose by 245 to 51,675.

No data was released on Wednesday due to a national holiday to celebrate Epiphany.

After dipping below 200 cases per 100,000 people in early December, the coronavirus' incidence increased steadily to reach 321 cases per 100,000 on Thursday.

Authorities in the northern region of Castile and Leon announced they would close down shopping centres and gyms, and extended a ban on non-essential travel across regional borders until May.

The move follows a similar tightening in northeastern Catalonia, where all citizens are confined to their home municipality for 10 days except for urgent trips.

But as coronavirus cases across Europe surpassed 25 million on Thursday, according to a Reuters tally, measures across most of Spain remained less stringent than elsewhere in the region.

A national opinion poll showed almost 60% of Spaniards felt the government should have imposed tougher restrictions to contain the virus.

Spain has vaccinated 207,323 people so far, up by nearly 68,000 since Tuesday.