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More than half of Spanish companies reopen after closing at height of pandemic

FILE PHOTO: People sunbathe and swim on El Arenal beach, amid the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Palma de Mallorca, Spain, August 15, 2020. REUTERS/Enrique Calvo/File Photo

(Reuters) - More than half the companies in Spain which closed at the height of the coronavirus pandemic have reopened, according to government data released on Saturday, suggesting the economy is recovering slowly.

The number of companies registered to pay social security by the end of July was 1,282,346, according to figures from the Ministry of Inclusion, Social Security and Migration, or 91,240 fewer firms than in February before the government imposed a strict lockdown to try to contain COVID-19.

However, the statistics showed that since the easing of lockdown started in May, 49,159 companies have registered with the government.

This is just over half the number which closed when the pandemic was at its height in March and April.

The worst affected sectors of the economy between February and July were education, where 22.6% of companies closed, and agriculture and fishing, in which 15.2% of firms stopped trading, the government data showed.

The number of cases of COVID-19 has been rising steadily since the end of lockdown in June.

Spain diagnosed 3,650 coronavirus infections, the health ministry said on Friday, bringing the cumulative total to 386,054. The death toll was 28,838.

Reporting by Graham Keeley; Editing by James Drummond

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