Spain on Saturday became the epicentre of the coronavirus crisis in Europe, but there was cause for hope in the country’s pandemic situation, with the daily rise in cases declining further to less than 6 per cent.
Around 7,000 new cases of infection were confirmed, bringing the total cases to more than 124,700, the Health Ministry said.
Over 34,000 patients have recovered from Covid-19, the pneumonia-like disease caused by the novel coronavirus, since the start of the outbreak, a daily rise of almost 4,000.
The number of new deaths has also declined, although Saturday was the eighth consecutive day to see fatalities go up by more than 800.
The coronavirus death toll in Spain, one of the worst-hit countries in the global pandemic, on Saturday stood at 11,744. The Spanish regions of Madrid and Catalonia were particularly struggling with the virus.
With 14,681 deaths, Italy is the country with the highest death toll, followed by Spain, the United States, France and Britain.
Despite the infection rate slowing, Spain’s current emergency measures were to be extended by another two weeks, until April 26, following a video conference between Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez and scientific advisers to the government.
“The cabinet on Tuesday will again ask for authorisation from parliament to extend for a second time the state of alert until Saturday April 25 at midnight,” Sanchez said in a televised speech.
It was the second extension to the measures, which have been in place since mid-March.
The lockdown was tightened on Tuesday, when a new rule came into force requiring all employees not working in essential sectors to stay at home. This was to stay in place initially until April 9, with an extension also expected.
The new timeline has to be approved by parliament, with a vote expected on Thursday.