By Alyssa McMurtry
OVIEDO, Spain (AA) - New coronavirus infections in Spain continue to accelerate unrelentingly, with the Ministry of Health recording 4,088 new cases on Thursday.
Over the last week, 19,405 people have tested positive for COVID-19. Similar rates of infection have not been observed since mid-April.
While deaths remain flat, according to the Ministry of Health, new hospitalizations are beginning to accelerate.
Between Wednesday and Thursday, 145 more COVID-19 patients were hospitalized, according to the Ministry of Health, although regional health authorities report significantly more hospitalizations.
On Thursday, officials announced that that the town of Aranda de Duero in central Spain will be quarantined for two weeks beginning Friday morning. People will not be able to leave or enter the town of around 32,000 people for non-essential reasons.
Local data shows that the town currently has 230 active cases, though the number is expected to grow over the next days.
- 2nd wave
Meanwhile, Nekane Murga, the health director of the Basque Country, became the first to say her region was facing a second wave of coronavirus.
“The truth is that this wave could be just as intense as it was in March,” she said in a news conference.
“We are playing with fire. The virus, at the moment, is gaining ground. We have to prepare our hospitals and ICUs [intensive care units] because dozens of people who will be infected this week will need hospitalization and some of them will no doubt die.”
With the increasing spread, the virus has again found its way into some of the most vulnerable spaces in the country – nursing homes for senior citizens.
Madrid now counts two outbreaks in nursing homes, with one having infected 43 residents and killed two. In Teruel, at least 80 people have tested positive and six people have died of COVID-19 in another nursing home.
Meanwhile, the Canary Islands is rolling out a new offer to attract both local and foreign tourists. Officials announced that all tourists will receive free health insurance that will cover expenses, including prolonged stays and medical bills in the case they test positive for COVID-19.
On Thursday, Hungary joined other European countries like the UK, Ireland, Norway and Switzerland by removing Spain from its safe travel list and requiring a negative PCR test or quarantines for all arrivals.
Germany, France and Belgium also recently warned their citizens to avoid travel to badly affected areas of the country like Aragon.