Spain’s COVID-19 deaths on Tuesday surged to levels unseen since mid-April, with the Health Ministry reporting 591 related fatalities.
The country also reported 36,435 new infections. That is down from late last week but 2,144 above the same figure reported last Tuesday.
In the last two weeks, more than 420,000 people have tested positive for the disease in Spain. This record-breaking infection rate has brought thousands of people to hospitals.
At the moment, 30,815 people are being treated for COVID-19 in hospitals – nearly three times more people than a month ago.
Now, 24% of all Spain’s hospital beds and 41% of all intensive care units are being used by COVID-19 patients.
In Valencia, six out of every 10 intensive care units are dedicated to treating the infectious disease.
Health authorities have decided against a full lockdown, instead opting for target measures like curfews, mobility restrictions and closing bars and restaurants. Schools remain open nationwide.
However, in La Linea de la Concepcion – Spain’s border city with Gibraltar – around 90% of parents have refused to send their children to school since the Christmas holidays came to an end.
In the city, more than one out of every 50 people have been infected in the past two weeks, and residents fear the UK variant is running rampant.
Parents are asking for online classes until contagion drops, but local authorities say not only are schools safe, but parents have a legal responsibility to send their children for learning.
Spain has also confirmed 267 infections of the highly-contagious UK variant. Chief epidemiologist Fernando Simon said it could become the dominant strain in Spain in the next four to six weeks.