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More than half a million people have now been infected with coronavirus in Spain since the beginning of the pandemic. The total number of confirmed infections has reached 525,549, after the Spanish health ministry reported 26,560 new cases this weekend. Of these, 2,440 have been diagnosed in the last 24 hours, compared to 4,503 last Friday.

In terms of deaths, the updated figures published this Monday by the Spanish ministry add 98 more deaths since Friday and 237 over the last seven days. In total, 29,516 people have now died from Covid-19 in Spain.

In addition, in the last week, 1,829 people have been admitted to hospital (137,288 since the virus arrived in Spain) and 161 have gone into intensive care units, raising the total of these cases from the time the pandemic began to 12,566 people.

The numbers of new cases reported daily are now at around the same level as those recorded at the first peak of the pandemic in spring. On the other hand, the figures for fatalities are at about 5 per cent of their level of April, revealing the different characteristics of the pandemic now. Nevertheless, numbers of daily deaths in Spain increased during August to reach 50 fatalities a day by the end of the month.

Graphs of daily new Covid-19 cases confirmed in Spain over the last 30 days (top) and daily deaths confirmed in Spain over the last 30 days (lower)          

At his weekly press conference, the director of the health emergency coordination centre, Fernando Simón, said that the country is in a "very similar situation to the previous weeks", although the positive results of PCR tests are "higher than we would like."

Simón confirmed that there is an overall upward trend across the Spanish state, but also noted that it is "variable between autonomous communities", as some have are showing a downward trend.

Regarding the start of the school year - which occurs this week in many parts of the state, and next week in Catalonia - he commented that it is possible that the epidemiological situation will evolve in different ways in each autonomous community, which is why he called for "vigilance" in all Spanish territories.

10-day isolation periods considered

Simon said today that his team is "considering" a reduction in the standard isolation period to 10 days in the case of people who have tested positive for coronavirus. Asked if he was considering reducing it to 5 or 7 days, as countries like Germany want to do, he commented that this would "take longer".

In fact, he explained that currently Spain is no longer asking for contacts of those testing positive to carry out 14 days of quarantine as long as certain preconditions are met, and "if after 10 days, they have a negative PCR result, the quarantine can be stopped." For the cases of people who have tested positive, "if after 10 days they have three without symptoms and a negative PCR test, there is no need to continue with the isolation."