OVIEDO, Spain

Just a few days before Spain is set to complete its reopening process, the country on Thursday saw a new rise of COVID-19 infections for the fourth day in a row.

The total number of infections jumped by 585 to 245,268, according to the Health Ministry — up significantly from a daily rise of 355 on Wednesday and 181 on Tuesday.

While the death toll remains at 27,136, the ministry on Wednesday reported 52 more fatalities from the disease in the last week — the highest weekly death toll reported since June 8, and up from 30.

Although the death toll has been pending review for weeks, Spain’s System of Mortality Monitoring has registered 43,334 more fatalities this year compared to the historic average.

On Wednesday evening, Spain’s chief epidemiologist Fernando Simon said there were a few open outbreaks in the country that were being watched closely.

“There is one particular in a medical clinic in the Basque Country that we’re very interested in. There are others in slaughterhouses in Catalonia. The rest, in principle, are controlled,” he said at his daily press conference.

On Thursday, Barcelona and Leida in Catalonia further relaxed restrictions and entered into the final phase of reopening.

Catalan President Quim Torra also announced the entire region is lifting the state of alarm at midnight and will enter earlier than expected into the so-called “new normality”. That means the entire region — one of the hardest-hit in Spain — will have spent just 24 hours in the final phase of de-escalation.

The rest of the Spanish population will not have to wait much longer to join Catalonia. The state of alarm expires nationwide on June 21. When it does, most of the movement restrictions of internal and external borders since mid-March will be removed.

Masks, social distancing, and hygiene measures will remain mandatory during the new normality and until an effective treatment or vaccine is available.

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