MADRID: Spain has registered nearly 1,000 new COVID-19 infections over the past 24 hours, raising the total number of cases to 8,744, the health ministry said on Monday (Mar 16).

Over the same period, the number of deaths rose by nine to 297, the ministry’s emergencies coordinator Fernando Simon said.

The figure for new cases was lower than weekend numbers, when 2,000 infections were detected between Saturday and Sunday and the number of deaths rose by around 100.

Of the total number, Madrid remains the worst-affected region, with 4,665 cases.

In order to rein in the virus, Spain has declared a state of alert, shutting all but essential services and ordering its population of 46 million people to stay at home. People are only authorised to go out to buy food or medicine, to go to work or to get medical treatment.

Spanish ministers said on Monday that the state of emergency will have to be extended beyond an initial 15-day period, and the government was also considering closing borders.

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