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Spain's coronavirus death toll tops 10,000

A healthcare worker near the entrance of the emergency unit in Madrid, Spain, March 28, 2020.
A healthcare worker near the entrance of the emergency unit in Madrid, Spain, March 28, 2020. © Sergio Perez, REUTERS

Spain's death toll from the coronavirus surpassed 10,000 on Thursday after a record 950 people died overnight, but health officials saw a glimmer of hope with the epidemic slowing in terms of proportional daily increases in infections and deaths.

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The country's total death toll from the coronavirus rose to 10,003 representing an increase of just over 10 percent, which was the same rate as the previous day. The number of known infections climbed to 110,238 from 102,136 on Wednesday, according to the country's health ministry. Over 6,000 people were in intensive care, the data showed.

Despite the jump in daily toll figures, the daily increase in infections in percentage terms has been slowing gradually since March 25, when reported cases rose by just over 20 percent.

Health Minister Salvador Illa told parliament “there's light at the end of the tunnel.”

"A glimpse of hope: the curve has stabilised," he said. "We have reached ... the peak of the curve and we have started the slowdown phase."

Spain has been in a lockdown since March 14, allowing residents to leave their homes only for essential trips. This week it tightened the measures, with only employees in key sectors permitted to travel to and from work.

Burials via video calls a grim reality for coronavirus-hit Spain

The massive jump in fatalities came as Spain's Social Security Minister Jose Luis Escriva warned the country's 2020 budget deficit would widen "significantly but temporarily" as a result of the measures taken to halt the spread of coronavirus.

Speaking at the same conference, Labour Minister Yolanda Diaz said 2.3 million people are currently receiving unemployment benefits, costing the state around €1.22 billion a month.

Spain has recorded the world's second-highest tally of deaths from COVID-19, after Italy. 

(FRANCE 24 with REUTERS)

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