Spain’s coronavirus infection rate has tripled in last three weeks, officials say

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Spain’s coronavirus infection rate has tripled in last three weeks, officials say

The spread of the coronavirus in Spain has tripled in the last three weeks following the easing of lockdown measures, health officials say.

The virus, which infected residents there at a rate of eight per every 100,000 at the end of June, is now infecting 27 per 100,000, Reuters quoted Deputy Health Emergency Chief Maria Sierra as saying Monday.

“Where measures have been relaxed is where these clusters appear,” added Health Minister Salvador Illa. “We’re talking about gatherings of extended family and spaces associated with nightlife.”

People wait to enter a beach that was closed by police due to crowding in Barcelona on Saturday. (AP)

People wait to enter a beach that was closed by police due to crowding in Barcelona on Saturday. (AP)

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Spanish officials have identified 201 new coronavirus clusters across the country, mainly in the Catalan cities of Barcelona and Lleida, according to Reuters.

Since the outbreak began, Spain, which has a population of more than 47 million, has had 264,836 coronavirus cases and 28,422 deaths, according to statistics from Johns Hopkins University. Around 4,500 of those cases were reported this past weekend, Reuters says.

TOURISTS CAUSING PROBLEMS AT SPANISH BEACHES BY REPORTEDLY CLAIMING SPOTS AND THEN LEAVING FOR HOURS 

Because of the recent flare-up in Catalonia, authorities have restored coronavirus prevention measures.

Customers buy fish at a market in Barcelona on Friday. Spanish health officials say many of the new coronavirus clusters that have popped up across the country are in the region of Catalonia. (AP)

Customers buy fish at a market in Barcelona on Friday. Spanish health officials say many of the new coronavirus clusters that have popped up across the country are in the region of Catalonia. (AP)

Catalonia was the first region to make face masks mandatory regardless of the distance between people in public areas. It then closed off a rural area that is home to 210,000 people around Lleida and prohibited gatherings over 10 people in Barcelona, while also asking them to limit their outings.

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Yet police in Barcelona closed down access to a large area of the city’s beaches on Saturday after too many sunbathers ignored authorities’ request to stay at home.

Spain’s initial lockdown restrictions started easing in late May and the government has since kept an eye on the data to guide its future plans.

Fox News’ Peter Aitken and the Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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