People get tested

A healthcare worker prepares samples.

30-03-2021ALBERT GEA

Spain's coronavirus infection rate rose by more than 10 since Friday, with 15,500 cases added to the tally, Health Ministry data showed on Monday, as a gradual uptick in contagion from mid-March lows gathered pace.

The rate, which is measured over the preceding 14 days, rose to 149 cases per 100,000 people from 138 cases on Friday, the data showed.

It had been inching higher since dropping below 130 cases per 100,000 people in mid-March and remains well below the peak of nearly 900 cases recorded in late January.

Monday's infection numbers brought the total since the start of the pandemic to 3.27 million cases. The death toll climbed by 189 since Friday to 75,199.

"At a national level we are in a phase of expansion" of new cases, Health Emergency Chief Fernando Simon told a news conference, adding that the trend was likely to continue in the coming days.

Though bars and restaurants remain open in much of the country, Spain has banned travel between different regions and limited social events to four people during Holy Week to prevent Easter celebrations triggering a fresh resurgence in contagion.

"If we manage to follow the Easter restrictions, we may not be talking about a fourth wave," Simon said.

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