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Spain reports second consecutive drop in daily coronavirus deaths

Mortuary workers push a coffin of a person who died at a nursing home during the coronavirus disease outbreak in Leganes, near Madrid, Spain, April 2, 2020.
Mortuary workers push a coffin of a person who died at a nursing home during the coronavirus disease outbreak in Leganes, near Madrid, Spain, April 2, 2020. © Juan Medina, REUTERS

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez will ask parliament to extend lockdown measures by 15 more days until April 25, as the daily pace of new coronavirus infections and deaths slowed again on Saturday in one of the world's most hard-hit countries.

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After speaking to Sanchez by telephone, opposition leader Pablo Casado tweeted that the premier had informed him “that he will request Congress to extend the state of emergency” for the second time. It was last extended to April 11.

Sanchez announced the decision to request an extension of the state of emergency, which has confined most Spaniards to their homes for three weeks already, at a news conference on Saturday afternoon.

Spain’s total death toll rose to 11,744 – the world's second-highest – on Saturday from 10,935 the day before, the health ministry said, representing a 7 percent increase in total deaths after a 9 percent rise on Friday. That is less than half the pace of the around 20 percent increase registered a week ago.

A total of 809 people died from the disease over the past 24 hours, down from Friday's 932 and Thursday's daily record of 950, the figures showed.

Meanwhile, the total number of registered infections rose to 124,736 on Saturday from 117,710 on Friday, when Spain overtook Italy in the total number of infections for the first time.

Spain mobilises the army to face coronavirus threat

Some of Madrid's most famous tourist sites, such as the Royal Palace and Las Ventas bullring, stood eerily quiet on Saturday, as Spaniards readied themselves for a fourth week living under one of Europe's strictest lockdowns.

Only employees in essential sectors such as health are free to travel to and from work. Restaurants, bars and shops are shuttered, and social gatherings are banned.

In a press conference on Friday, Health Minister Salvador Illa said premier Sanchez would call opposition leaders following a meeting of his coronavirus task force on Saturday to let them know his decision on extending the lockdown from the current end date.

Health officials say the slowdown in new infections proves the effectiveness of the lockdown in place.

(FRANCE 24 with REUTERS)

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