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image captionSpain is the sixth nation worldwide to record more than one million cases
Spain has recorded more than one million coronavirus cases, becoming the first western European country to pass that landmark figure.
On Wednesday the country reported 16,973 infections and 156 deaths in the previous 24 hours.
Since its first diagnosed case on 31 January, Spain has now recorded a total of 1,005,295 infections.
It is the sixth nation worldwide to report one million cases after the US, India, Brazil, Russia and Argentina.
Europe has seen a surge in new infections over the last few months, forcing governments to bring in strict new regulations to try and control outbreaks and ensure hospitals do not become overwhelmed.
What’s the situation in Spain?
Spain was hit hard by coronavirus in the first months of the pandemic, and brought in some of the strictest measures to tackle it – including banning children from going outside.
Like most European countries, the country lessened its regulations as case numbers dropped. Politicians highlighted the need to bring back tourists as a way to boost the struggling economy.
media captionThe test’s manufacturer says it’s 93% accurate in detecting Covid-19 infection
But by the end of August new daily case numbers were rising by 10,000 a day. Hospital admissions have ticked up by 20% in the past two weeks alone, while deaths have also begun to rise, with the toll climbing by 218 on Tuesday.
In total, 34,366 Covid-related deaths have been recorded.
Lawmakers however are bitterly divided over how to handle the situation. Politicians in the national parliament were debating a no-confidence motion in Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez on Wednesday filed by the far-right Vox Party, while central government has clashed repeatedly with regional leaders over how best to proceed.
Earlier this month, Madrid’s centre-right authorities successfully had a partial lockdown imposed on the capital overturned in court. But the Spanish government then ordered a 15-day state of emergency in the city.
The health minister will meet with regional leaders on Thursday to discuss next steps.
In other European Covid news:
- From midnight on Wednesday, Ireland will move to its highest level of coronavirus restrictions, similar to those brought in during the spring
- Italy has recorded 15,199 new infections, its highest one-day increase since the pandemic began
- The royal family in the Netherlands has apologised for taking a holiday abroad despite the government bringing in strict new regulations to tackle soaring case numbers in the country
- Germany’s health minister Jens Spahn has tested positive for coronavirus and is self-isolating
- In the UK, South Yorkshire will move into the strictest tier three measures from Saturday
- And trials of AstraZeneca and Oxford University’s Covid-19 vaccine will continue following the death of a volunteer in Brazil who the BBC understands did not receive the vaccine itself