The COVID-19 infection rate in Spain has soared to 436 cases for every 100,000 residents in the past two weeks, with young people particularly affected by a threefold increase compared to the previous fortnight, EURACTIV’s partner EFE reported.
Some 43,960 infections were recorded in the past 24 hours, according to the health ministry, which also said COVID-19 patients occupy 8.51% of intensive care unit beds.
In the northeastern Catalonia region, people with COVID-19 make up 20% of ICU patients, well above the national average.
Spain has recorded more than 4 million COVID-19 cases since the start of the pandemic, with 81,033 related deaths. Currently, young people in the 20-29 age group are the main drivers of this fifth wave, with 1,421 cases recorded in a single day, a staggering 200% increase.
The government will authorise self-testing kits to be sold in pharmacies with no need for a medical prescription, hoping to facilitate the detection of infections, Health Minister Carolina Darias announced on Wednesday.
Catalonia has already authorised the use of self-testing kits. More than 22 million people are fully vaccinated in Spain, about 46.7% of the population, which places the country close to its target to inoculate 25 million people by the end of next week.
Roughly 28.2 million people, or 59.5% of the Spanish population, have received at least one dose of the vaccine, according to health ministry figures.
[Edited by Daniel Eck]