Spain diagnoses 3,781 new coronavirus cases, some regions stabilise

A member of Madrid's SAMUR Ambulance Service adjusts protective gear of his colleague, during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, at their headquarters in Madrid, Spain, August 26, 2020. REUTERS/Juan Medina

MADRID (Reuters) - Spain diagnosed 3,781 new coronavirus infections in the past 24 hours, with the Madrid region most affected by the resurgence of the epidemic, health ministry data showed on Thursday.

Retroactively updated numbers from the previous day showed more than 6,000 new cases, nearly double the initially reported amount, but off Friday’s highs of more than 9,000 that nearly equalled its late-March peak of new cases.

Spain has the highest prevalence of the virus in Western Europe.

Now at a cumulative total of 429,507, infections have risen sharply since Spain lifted a three-month lockdown in late June, but deaths have been much lower than the nearly 900 per day during the epidemic’s peak and are now around June’s levels.

The ministry on Thursday reported eight new deaths, bringing the total death toll to 28,996.

National health emergency chief Fernando Simon told a news briefing infections were clearly on the rise in Madrid, but have stabilised somewhat in Catalonia and Aragon after rising earlier this month.

“The rise in cases, for now at least, does not affect the vulnerable groups or the (medical) assistance capacity,” he said, adding though that big cities such as Madrid and Barcelona should be especially proactive in tackling the resurgence.

The government earlier on Thursday announced that Spanish schoolchildren aged six and over must wear masks to class when they return to school in less than two weeks.

Health Minister Salvador Illa said that, while closing down schools could be necessary if multiple cases of the virus were detected across different classrooms, that would be the last resort.

Reporting by Belen Carreno, writing by Andrei Khalip, editing by Angus MacSwan