Spain sees sharp drop in daily virus death toll
Spain registered a sharp drop in its daily death toll from the novel coronavirus on Sunday with 410 new fatalities — the lowest in almost a month.
“It’s a number that gives us hope,” said health ministry emergencies coordinator Fernando Simon.
“It’s the first time we are under 500 dead since the daily tolls began to climb.”
The total number of fatalities in Spain, the third hardest-hit country in the world after the United States and Italy, has reached 20,453, the health ministry said.
Infections rose to 195,344, with 4,218 new cases in the past 24 hours, an increase of just 2.4 percent.
But Simon admitted the daily fall could be explained by the lower registration of fatalities over the weekend. Such a drop is often followed by a rise at the start of the week.
Nevertheless, he said that the number of deaths, hospital and intensive care admissions were on a downward trend “which clearly indicates that the transmission of the disease has substantially decreased.”
Health Minister Salvador Illa also said Spain had achieved its objective of “flattening the curve” of transmissions.
The latest figures have given some relief to the country’s overwhelmed health system.
In Madrid, regional president Isabel Diaz Ayuso said a makeshift morgue set up at an ice rink would close on Wednesday.
And one unit of a field hospital that was set up inside Madrid’s conference centre to treat up to 1,500 people with coronavirus was closed on Friday.
The Spanish authorities believe the country reached the peak of the pandemic on April 2 when they had counted 950 deaths in 24 hours. But they are not ready to recommend a lifting of the nationwide lockdown, one of the tightest in Europe.
Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez on Saturday announced he would ask parliament to extend the lockdown by two weeks to May 9.
The restrictions currently in place would however be loosened slightly to allow children time outside from April 27, Sanchez said.
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