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Spain's daily COVID-19 infections retreat from peaks

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MADRID (Reuters) - Spain’s health ministry said on Tuesday the number of coronavirus cases detected daily had declined over the past four days, further off a peak of around 10,000 reached about 10 days ago, and officials said no new lockdown was necessary.

The country diagnosed 2,731 infections in the past 24 hours, but these data could be revised in future as Spain updates its statistics retroactively. Tuesday’s update raised the tally since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic by 8,115 cases to 470,973 overall, more than any other western European nation.

Since bringing the first wave largely under control through a strict lockdown that ended in June, Spain has suffered a sharp resurgence of infections as measures were relaxed and mass testing began.

Still, Health Minister Salvador Illa stressed that the surge in infections had not led to heightened pressure on hospitals, where occupancy of beds earmarked for COVID-19 patients is at around 6% across the country.

He also said the mortality rate of the virus remains far below the March-April peak, when nearly 900 daily deaths were reported. The latest data showed 159 deaths were registered in the past seven days, bringing the total up to 29,152.

The reduced death toll reflects the preponderance of new infections hitting younger people who display little or no symptoms of illness due to their stronger immune systems, whereas older people comprised most of the cases in March-April.

“From a public health perspective the current situation does not call for a new lockdown,” Illa said on Onda Cero radio. “If we do things right, if we follow the recommendations of experts, it won’t be necessary.”

Reporting by Nathan Allen, editing by Andrei Khalip and Mark Heinrich

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