The country’s death toll from the coronavirus outbreak rose by 410 yesterday, down from 565 on Saturday, the lowest daily increase in around a month, the total number of deaths reached 20,453.
The daily increase was the lowest since March 22. It is far below the highest daily increase – 950 deaths reported on April 2 – in a sign of a slowdown of the spread of the virus after the government imposed the strict lockdown in mid-March.
However, the number of daily new infections appears to have stabilised.
Although the health ministry has warned that weekend figures can be misleading because of a delay by local authorities in reporting data.
Spain’s Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez says he will ask parliament to agree to a 15-day extension of the lockdown until May 9, but said the restrictions would be more flexible, such as allowing children to leave their homes for short periods of time.
There has been growing social and political pressure on the Prime Minister to allow children, in particular, to go outside.
Opposition PP leader Pablo Casado tweeted that “these little heroes are climbing the walls” after more than a month of not being allowed out beyond the confines of their homes.
Spain’s eight million children have already spent more than five weeks in confinement and there has been growing unease at the risk to their health.
The Spanish Children’s Rights Coalition has warned of mental and physical health problems for children as a result of such measures and called for boys and girls to be allowed outside to play and do some physical activity.
When the PM held video conference with the region’s chiefs yesterday they called for relaxation of the conditions, including allowing adults out onto the street to exercise.
However, a poll reported that 59% of those asked thought that the lockdown should be maintained as it is for the time being.
Today, the prime minister is due to hold a video call with the leader of the main opposition, Pablo Casado, in order to seek support for a cross-party pact.
Casado, however, has been highly critical of the government’s handling of the crisis and it is far from clear whether the conservative PP would back a deal.
There has been little direct contact between Sánchez and Casado since the crisis began.