People leave as Police arrive to remove people gathering at Born neighborhood, as the regional government decreed a night curfew (from 1am to 6am) to prevent the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) in Barcelona. | ALBERT GEA

Spain's two-week coronavirus contagion rate rose to 537 cases per 100,000 inhabitants on Friday, according to health ministry data, as the country struggled to cope with a surge in COVID-19 cases.

Tourist magnet Catalonia has been the hardest hit, with the 14-day contagion rate rising to 1,160 cases per 100,000 people, according to health ministry data.

In early June, authorities in Spain were breathing a sigh of relief at having brought COVID-19 cases down to a trickle.

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However, by mid-July regions like Catalonia have imposed curfews and other restrictions as the nation scrambled to control the outbreak.

Epidemiologists blame a rush to resume international tourism and heightened socialising among unvaccinated youngsters, as the end of the school year coincided with the appearance of the now-dominant Delta variant and the reopening of nightlife.

In Spain, 4,100,222 people have tested positive for coronavirus while 81,096 have died since the start of the pandemic, according to health ministry data on Friday.