Spain has recorded its lowest number of deaths for 19 days, suggesting the outbreak there may have peaked.
It reported 510 coronavirus fatalities on Saturday, taking the total to 16,353.
The number of confirmed COVID-19 infections increased from 157,022 to 161,852.
Image: People social distancing as they wait to enter a supermarket in Madrid
Sky News correspondent Alex Rossi, who is in Barcelona, said the rate of infection is “now hovering around 2-3% – think back two or three weeks ago, and it was up to 20%”.
Spaniards have been kept off the streets since the middle of last month, and one of the strictest lockdowns in the world may now be at least partially lifted.
“The government is preparing new scenarios of de-escalation,” Health Minister Salvador Illa told reporters.
Image: The number suggests the spread of the disease may have peaked
While the formal lockdown will probably continue until May, some restrictions will be lifted on Monday.
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Factories will reopen and people in sectors including construction will be allowed to go back to work.
There are fears, however, that if measures are lifted too rapidly, there could be a large secondary coronavirus infection.
“These are very complex decisions that require multi-disciplinary analysis,” Mr Illa said.
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The head of the World Health Organisation, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, has warned that easing restrictions prematurely could “lead to a deadly resurgence”.
Those who do return to work should maintain social distancing, said Maria Jose Sierra, deputy head of health emergencies.
She added that “if there is a person who shows the slightest symptom, they should contact the health system and remain in self-isolation”.
Alex Rossi said the number of dead may be much higher than the official figure suggests, because only those in hospital are tested.
“Anecdotal evidence suggests the numbers of people who have passed away in care homes or in their own homes could be quite large,” he said.
Source : Sky News