Fueled by a sharp surge of coronavirus contagion just as the school year opens, Spain has now officially more than half a million confirmed coronavirus cases since the beginning of the pandemic.
The health ministry on Monday reported 26,560 new infections since its last report on Friday _ or an average of 8,800 daily_, bringing the total since February to 525,549.
Most new cases show new symptoms and the spike is so far not overwhelming hospitals.
During the same period 29,516 people have died in Spain with the new coronavirus, although the real death toll is believed to be much higher given insufficient testing in March and April.
More than 8 million undergraduate students are heading to school starting from Monday under strict safety measures including mandatory masks, frequent hand-washing, classroom ventilation and smaller student groups.