ANALYSIS: What we know about COVID situation in Spain as infection rate soars

SPAIN is currently in the grip of what it calls the sixth wave and for the third time since the pandemic started the infection rate has broken the threshold above 300 cases per 100,000 inhabitants over 14 days.

But the heath situation is not as bad as it has been in previous waves due to the high vaccination rate which means that hospitals are not seeing the same high volume of COVID patients.

The latest figures released by Spain’s Health Ministry on Thursday December 9 show that the 14-day cumulative incidence average across Spain currently stands at 305 cases per 100,000 inhabitants.

This marks the first time that the figure has broken the 300-barrier a new traffic light system was agreed when boundaries were moved to take into account the vaccination programme.

Other important indicators show however that hospitalizations are nowhere near the levels they were when the infection rate previously reached these levels

The latest Health Ministry report revealss that just 4.4% of hospital beds are occupied by Covid-19 patients, which makes it low risk according to the new traffic light system.

And those occupying Spain’s intensive care units (ICUs) have reached a level of 11.3%, which is considered medium risk.

With 5,479 Covid-19 patients, hospital occupancy is far from that of the fourth and fifth waves, when the figure exceeded 10,000.

At the worst point in the third wave, there were more than 32,000 patients being treated in hospital, almost five times that of the current level.

Spain has one of the highest vaccination records in Europe with more than 90% of the population over-12 having received full dose while a booster programme is currently being rolled out among the vulnerable and over 60 age group.

However the infection rate varies greatly across Spain. Those regions with the highest rates are Navarra (956), the Basque Country (757) and Aragon (591), while Andalucia and Castilla-La Mancha have not even broken the 150-mark.

The table below shows the number of cases per 100,000 people over 14 days in each region highlighted in blue.

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Some regions have introduced the need for COVID passports to access nightlife venues including bars and restaurants as well as for hospitals and those visiting care homes.

At the moment, Spain’s central government has ruled imposing further restrictions including curfews and caps on social gatherings in the run up to Christmas but masks remain obligatory in all indoor areas where social distancing can’t be maintained.

The table below shows how Spain’s national average of 303 cases per 100,000 compares with other countries across Europe. The United Kingdom has an infection rate almost three times higher.

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