Latest figures from Spanish health authorities continue to show a decline in the number of new cases and deaths from coronavirus.
The number of new confirmed cases represents a fall for the fourth day in a row, suggesting strict social distancing measures have begun to show their effects.
More people are continuing to be infected and die from the virus, but at a slower rate compared to last week.
The number of new confirmed cases fell to 4,273, Spain’s health authority reported on Monday, compared to more than 6,000 new cases on Sunday and over 7,000 on Saturday.
The number of deaths from coronavirus in 24 hours also fell for the third consecutive day to 637, officials said, down from 674 on Sunday and 809 on Saturday. It’s the lowest daily increase since March 24, but takes the total number of deaths to over 13,000.
Meanwhile, a further 2,357 people were reported to have recovered from the virus on Monday, bringing the total to over 40,000.
Relaxing lockdown measures not yet an option in Spain
The decline in the coronavirus death and infection rate in Spain is encouraging news for health authorities, often overwhelmed by the pandemic in the worst affected country in Europe after Italy.
In a press briefing on Sunday, Maria Jose Sierra, from the Centre for Health Alerts and Emergencies, said “one in three” patients with coronavirus had now recovered, before laying the next steps of the “de-escalation” of the crisis.
She said the government’s goal would eventually move into a stage of testing everyone with symptoms of the virus, and confirmed that “serious” studying of the effectiveness of face masks was underway.
Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez told citizens on Saturday that the country was finally “in a position to bend the curve”.
But in a press conference, he announced an extension to the three-week lockdown – to April 25 – warning that Spain was not yet out of the woods.
He said: “If the climb has been hard, let’s not fool ourselves, the descent will not be smoother. We are facing the great crisis of our lives.”
On Friday, Spain surpassed Italy to become the second worst virus-hit nation in the world – behind that of the United States.
Therefore, any consideration of relaxing stringent lockdown measures during this time “would have a worse result than returning to the starting point,” Sanchez said at the conference.
He added: “The victory that puts an end to it will only come with a vaccine that unfortunately will take a few months.”
Spain’s total number of COVID-19 infections rose to above 135,000 on Monday, while more than 13,000 people have lost their lives.