Spain worries about Christmas as cases rise again

A woman wearing a face mask lights a candle inside Sant Jaume church, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Barcelona, Spain

Health authorities in Spain are worried about an uptick in coronavirus cases following a string of recent bank holidays and the relaxing of measures by some regions, health minister Salvador Illa said on Wednesday.

“The situation is doubly preoccupying: we’re seeing (cases) increase, without having even reached Christmas, and without having fully registered the effects of the bank holidays,” Illa said at a press conference.

COVID-19 incidence in Spain crept up to 201 cases per 100,000 inhabitants on Wednesday, after staying below that mark for the past seven days, while health authorities recorded 11,078 new cases and 195 deaths in the past 24 hours.

Spain will now allow regions to tighten anti-coronavirus measures as part of its Christmas plan, meaning gatherings could be limited to six people, curfews could be lengthened, and travel between regions banned.

Health emergency coordinator Fernando Simon will on Thursday present an analysis of the impact which several bank holiday weekends, and a loosening of measures in some regions, have had on the epidemiological situation.

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