THE cumulative incidence rate of COVID-19 in Spain has surpassed 200 cases per 100,000 people for the first time in 12 days.
According to the Health Ministry, the figure reached 201.16 on Wednesday after the country detected 11,078 new cases.
The incidence rate is three points above that of Tuesday’s and continues the upward trend that began last week.
Meanwhile there were 195 deaths from the virus in the past 24 hours, bringing the total number of victims since the start of the pandemic to 48,596.
This figure is more likely to be closer to 70,000, according to the National Statistics Office (NIE), which has taken into account the excess mortality rate in the country since March.
In good news, hospital pressure has slightly dropped with 9.21% of hospital beds being occupied by COVID as of Wednesday (11,346 patients).
In intensive care units, coronavirus sufferers are taking up 20.5% of beds (1,964 patients).
It comes as the national Government granted regional leaders the power to toughen coronavirus restrictions tonight.
Health Minister Salvador Illa told autonomous communities that they will be able to modify measures relating to travel, family reunions, curfews and public events.
Regional leaders now have the power to close their outer perimeters, meaning no one would be able enter from another region – save for a few exceptions – over the Christmas period.
They will also be able to restrict meetings of friends and families on key Christmas dates, with the limit currently extended from six to 10 on December 24, 25, 31 and January 1.
The curfew will also be up for change, particularly on Xmas eve and New Year’s Eve, when it has been extended to 1:30am.
Lastly, they will be permitted to limit the concentration of people in public spaces i.e. large scale events such as the King’s Parade.
According to the agreement reached at the inter-territorial meeting tonight, the regions will assess the evolution of the virus ‘on a day-to-day basis.’
“There has been a change in the trends of the data and we must react quickly and strongly so we don’t undo all that we have achieved so far,” Illa said.
“That reaction is to allow the autonomous regions that need it, the ability to toughen their restrictions.”
He added: “We are seeing increases before Christmas has even arrived and before we have even seen the full effect of the recent bank holiday weekend.”
Any decisions taken will be immediate and unchallenged in the courts, as they are covered by the state of alarm declared on October 25.
It comes as the Basque Country, Catalunya, Andalucia and Extremedura all said today that they do not rule out tightening restrictions over Christmas.