By Alyssa McMurtry
OVIEDO, Spain (AA) – Spain saw a drop to 200 in new coronavirus infections on Monday, according to the Health Ministry data, but the number of weekly infections reached its highest level since June 11.
Over the last week, 1,956 people have been infected by the virus, bringing the current total to 248,970.
It has now been eight days since Spain began to operate under loosened restrictions. It has allowed European visitors in along with free internal movement. Increasing contagion is expected.
On Monday, the country also added three more COVID-19 deaths to its tally of lives lost. So far, 28,346 people have been confirmed to have died from the disease in Spain.
Health Minister Salvador Illa said on Monday in an interview with the radio station RAC1 that he does not believe a nationwide lockdown will be needed again, but does not rule one out.
For now, he insisted that “surgical confinements” are the basis of the current strategy to prevent spread under the new normal.
For instance, over the weekend, the northern region of Cantabria put an entire apartment bloc under lockdown after authorities detected 13 coronavirus cases stemming from the building. Its more than 100 residents will have to stay at home for at least 10 days.
Yet Fernando Lopez Miras, the president of the region of Murcia, said on Monday he is considering locking down various towns in the southern region if the outbreak originating with three arrivals from Bolivia that has left 32 people infected so far continues to worsen.
Since the state of alarm in Spain came to an end on June 21, the Health Ministry passed control over confinement measures to the country’s regional leaders.
Already, four towns in Aragon have reverted to stricter lockdown measures since Spain entered into the new normal just nine days ago.
According to digital journal El Espanol, there are currently 20 active outbreaks in the country.
Meanwhile, the northern region of Asturias has been declared Spain’s first region to be “coronavirus free” since the beginning of the pandemic in mid-March. Despite high levels of testing, the region has now gone 18 days so far without detecting a new case.
In the interview with RAC1, Illa estimated that a coronavirus vaccine will be available in the spring of 2021. Until then, social distancing and hygiene measures like masks will remain mandatory in Spain.