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Coronavirus live news: Spain and Italy report high increase in cases; Mykonos bans parties and festivities

Spain saw its overall number of cases rise by 6,671 on Wednesday, data from the country’s health ministry showed, boosting a cumulative caseload that already ranks as the highest in western Europe, writes Ashifa Kassam in Madrid.

The number of cases detected in the past 24 hours has climbed to 3,715 cases. This figure, however, has been described by ministry sources as an underestimation given the variances in reporting times between regions and the central government system.

Still, Wednesday’s 24-hour total was the highest announced by the ministry since the country eased out of a strict lockdown in late June.

In what the ministry has signalled as a more reliable indicator of the situation, the country has seen 63,965 new cases diagnosed in the last 14 days – amounting to an average of 4,569 cases a day. Around a third of these cases have been in Madrid, the epicentre of the country’s crisis in March and April.

In the past seven days, 131 people have lost their lives to Covid-19 across Spain.

In recent days, public health experts have warned that Spain is facing a pivotal moment in its ongoing battle against the virus. The country currently leads Europe with a 14-day rate of 131 new cases per 100,000 – compared to a rate of 43 in France and 10 in Italy.

Officials in the hard-hit regions of Madrid and Catalonia have responded to the surge with mass testing in hopes of ferreting out asymptomatic carriers of the virus. Across the country restrictions on nightlife and smoking in public have been rolled out in a bid to curtail transmission.

The government’s emergency health response chief, Fernando Simón, has sought to contrast the current situation with that of March and April, pointing to the fact that the majority of new cases being detected are among people under 65 years old.

The rise in cases can also be partly attributed to increased testing, he said. “We are detecting much of what is out there. I wouldn’t say 100% … but between 60% and 70%,” he recently told reporters, as compared to March and April when it is believed that less than 10% of cases were detected.

Read the original article at The Guardian

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