FILE PHOTO: A man wearing a protective face mask and gloves walks past the empty landmark Alcala Gate, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Madrid, Spain, April 9, 2020. REUTERS/Sergio Perez
BARCELONA (Reuters) – The coronavirus death toll curve in Spain flattened further on Friday as the government discussed different strategies to start phasing out one of the world’s strictest lockdowns.
Spaniards have been off the streets since mid-March, but a slowdown of the COVID-19 disease’s spread and its death toll has enabled officials to start discussing a gradual easing.
“Any step towards de-escalation of such an intense lockdown must be done with extreme caution,” Deputy Prime Minister Pablo Iglesias told local TV channel TVE.
Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez has said the formal lockdown will probably continue into May, but some restrictions may soon be lifted to breathe life into a paralyzed economy.
The number of daily deaths fell again on Friday to 605, the lowest figure since March 24, the health ministry said. The rate of increase has dropped to 4% down from 20% two weeks ago.
Total deaths rose to 15,843 on Friday – the second highest in the world after Italy. Total cases in Spain rose to 157,022 on Friday from 152,446 on Thursday.
Reporting by Graham Keeley and Inti Landauro; Editing by Andrew Cawthorne