Spain's health ministry says coronavirus death toll slows - GulfToday

Spain's health ministry says coronavirus death toll slows


Undertakers carry a coffin of a person who died of COVID-19 at a cemetery in Leganes, Spain. AP

Spain's death toll from the new coronavirus outbreak rose by 410 on Sunday, down from 565 on Saturday, the Health Ministry said, bringing the total to 20,453 deaths in one of the world's hardest hit countries.


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The number of overall coronavirus cases rose to 195,944 on Sunday from 191,726 on Saturday, it added.

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez on Saturday announced the nationwide coronavirus lockdown would be extended two weeks to May 9, hours after the official death toll passed 20,000.

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez at his office speaks to the staff. File photo

"We have done the hardest part through responsibility and social discipline... we are putting the most extreme moments behind us," Sanchez said. But Spaniards must not jeopardise the fragile gains made so far with hasty decisions.

The restrictions currently in place would however be loosened slightly to allow children time outside from April 27, said Sanchez.

Until now only adults have been able to leave the house for specific reasons: to go to work, to go shopping for food or medicine, for a medical appointment or to walk the dog.

But there were growing calls to let children outside, as is permitted in most other countries observing a lockdown.

Medical workers prepare to host patients with mild symptoms of coronavirus in Barcelona, Spain. File/Reuters

Spain, which has been under confinement since March 14, has recorded 20,043 deaths from the virus, the latest health ministry figures showed -- the third-highest official toll after the United States and Italy.

Health officials nevertheless say Spain has passed the peak of the COVID-19 outbreak which killed up to 950 people a day on April 2, and pressure is slowly easing on hospitals.

The increase in infections has slowed and the latest daily death toll was 565 people, down from the figure on Friday. The number of people registered as cured has risen to nearly 75,000.

But with almost 200,000 reported cases of the virus, Sanchez warned the country that an end to one of Europe's toughest confinements would be "prudent and progressive".

And he warned: "If necessary, we will reinforce protective measures again."


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