Spain’s 4,850 new cases represented only a 3 percent increase. The number of new deaths, 510, was the lowest in nearly three weeks. Over 2,000 of the new cases were in Madrid or Catalonia, the two hardest hit regions.
Spanish authorities have said in recent days they believe the peak of the pandemic has arrived in the country, which has one of the highest death tolls from COVID-19 in the world.
While Spain also saw an uptick in hospitalizations, the number of those discharged from hospitals surged to 59,109, an increase of over 3,400.
Despite the fall in cases and deaths, authorities are still maintaining a lockdown and asking people to stay at home.
“Daily cases are falling thanks to everyone’s effort. Now we need the curve to go down and not to go up again. There is still a way to go and we have to walk it together,” the Ministry of Health said in a statement.
Scores of businesses were shut down last month and people whose work was deemed nonessential were ordered to largely remain at home, with exceptions for essential trips.
Officials have been mulling how to phase out the lockdown. Some workers are being allowed to return to work starting Monday, including construction and manufacturing workers, and masks will be handed out at metro and train stations.
At the same time, Congress this week approved an extension of the strict lockdown measures until April 26.
Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez told lawmakers he believes he’ll need to ask the legislature for another extension of 15 days before the new deadline arrives, reported El Pais.
“Because by then we will not have put an end to the pandemic,” he said.
Sánchez’s party is in the minority, so he needs support from other groups to pass bills.
Some workers are being allowed to return to work starting Monday, including construction and manufacturing workers.