The government has been relaxing restrictions | DANIEL ESPINOSA

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Spain reported 12,345 new coronavirus infections and eight deaths on Thursday, with health ministry data showing daily increases this week at their highest levels since mid-April, in part due to the more contagious Delta variant.

The infection rate measured over the past 14 days rose to 134 cases per 100,000 people from 117 on Wednesday, accelerating a rise that began in mid-June after the rate hit its lowest level since August, of about 90 cases per 100,000.

Encouraged by the drop in infections in the past few months as vaccination picked up steam, the government has been relaxing restrictions and last Saturday lifted a blanket obligation to wear masks outdoors. A record 747,589 people were vaccinated on Thursday, leaving nearly 38% of the population fully inoculated.

Thursday's numbers took the cumulative total of COVID-19 cases in Spain to 3,821,305 while the death toll reached 80,883.