After almost three weeks of recording low figures of new COVID-19 cases, Spain has now had its biggest daily leap in with fresh 6,740 cases, taking the toll to 219,764.
This is the biggest increase since 7,026 were recorded on April 4. According to reports, it was partly explained by the growing use of antibody tests, which have added nearly 17,000 people to the total since they were introduced.
Although the daily death toll fell to 367, which is the lowest since March 21, taking the total from 22,157 to 22,524.
According to the Spanish authorities, 16,774 people had tested positive via the antibody test method, which is an increase of 3,944 from yesterday’s total of 12,830.
The official figures showed that only 2,976 of the 6,740 new cases were confirmed using a traditional PCR test.
Out of the figures, the Madrid region has 1,097 while the second worst-hit region of Catalonia was responsible for another 652.
Antibody tests show whether a patient’s immune system has developed defences against coronavirus, which means that they have been infected in the past.
However, governments in several countries have warned that antibody tests are not yet reliable enough to roll out on a large scale.
According to the Spanish health officials, the epidemic peaked on April 2 when 950 people died over 24 hours, nearly three weeks after the government imposed a lockdown.
‘We have achieved the goal of declaration and slowdown for this week but we remain in a hard phase of the epidemic,’ health minister Salvador said on Thursday.
Although the March 14 lockdown has been extended twice, the parliament had on Wednesday approved a fresh extension until May 9.
But the conditions will be slightly eased from Sunday to allow children to spend some time outside.