OVIEDO, Spain 

Authorities in Spain have warned against the third wave of COVID-19 pandemic, in case people do not adhere to the right measures.  

“This could be the beginning of a third wave if we don’t take the right measures,” Health Minister Salvador Illa told Catalunya Radio on Friday.

“We predict that cases will continue increasing over the next days or weeks, so we have to react, “he said.

On Friday, the Health Ministry reported 11,815 new infections – down slightly from Thursday, but still up compared to last Friday.

With Christmas just a week away, Spain’s regional governments have said that they will take stricter measures to stem the spread of the virus.

Health Ministry has allowed people to travel and visit loved ones during holidays. It has pushed back the curfew until 1:30 a.m. and allowing 10 people to gather on festive days.

The regional governments are, however, scrambling to take stricter social measures.

Late Thursday night, President of Valencia Ximo Puig announced that the curfew would be imposed from midnight on holidays and a gathering would be limited to six people and only residents of Valencia will be allowed to enter the region.

Puig apologized for the last-minute changes, adding that “we must adapt to the new reality of the pandemic because if not, the consequences will be much worse”.

The island of Tenerife is also set to move closer to a lockdown on the midnight of Friday, forbidding indoor dining and limiting gatherings to six people throughout the holiday season.

The second wave in Spain peaked in early November, and hospitals are still using 9% of all beds and 20% of all available intensive care units to treat COVID-19 patients.

Deaths have been decreasing this week, yet remain far higher than during the time between the first and second wave.

Between June 1 and Sept. 1, Spain’s Health Ministry reported just over 2,000 COVID-19 deaths.

Within the last week alone, 1,302 people have been confirmed to have lost their lives to the pandemic in Spain.

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