Spain adds 13,300 COVID infections, Catalonia to shut bars, eateries

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By Reuters Staff

MADRID (Reuters) - Spain's cumulative tally of coronavirus infections rose by over 13,300 on Thursday to 921,374 in a slight acceleration from the previous few days, as the region of Catalonia was preparing to shut down bars and restaurants to prevent contagion.

Data from the health ministry, which includes new cases and deaths in the past 24 hours and adds to the total retroactively, also showed the death toll rising by 140 to 33,553.

Still, the number of daily infections in the pandemic's hotspot in Western Europe has come down somewhat from a peak of over 16,000 on Sept. 18, according to health ministry charts.

"Spain is stabilising, but the territorial differences are important. We cannot let our guard down. In none of the regions we have the incidence indicators we'd like to have," health emergency coordinator Fernando Simon told a briefing.

Catalonia, which includes Spain's second-largest city of Barcelona, has ordered bars and restaurants to close for 15 days to try to curb a surge in coronavirus cases and the region's top court on Thursday gave its go-ahead to the new restrictions from 1 a.m. on Friday.

Hospitality sector workers have called a protest rally for Friday.

The capital Madrid and nearby suburbs were put into partial lockdown last week, and residents feared any further drastic measures would kill off the economy.

"The economy will go backwards," health worker Victoria Maria told Reuters, expressing her fear of more restrictive measures.

"They have to evaluate it and find solutions for all of us because if not we will be ruined, not only health-wise but also economically."

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