BARCELONA (Reuters) – The coronavirus death toll curve in Spain flattened further on Friday as the government discussed different strategies to start phasing out one of the world’s strictest lockdowns.
Spaniards have been off the streets since mid-March, but a slowdown of the COVID-19 disease’s spread and its death toll has enabled officials to start discussing a gradual easing.
“Any step towards de-escalation of such an intense lockdown must be done with extreme caution,” Deputy Prime Minister Pablo Iglesias told local TV channel TVE.
Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez has said the formal lockdown will probably continue into May, but some restrictions may be lifted as early as Monday to breathe life into a paralysed economy.
Two weeks ago, the government banned all non-essential workers from the streets, effectively shutting down most businesses. From Monday, though, some job categories such as construction workers will be allowed out of their homes again.
Though many people were to return to work, social distancing should be maintained, Maria Jose Sierra, the deputy head of health emergencies, said at a virtual news conference.
“We will give a series of recommendations. The most important is if there is a person who shows the slightest symptom, they should contact the health system and remain in self-isolation,” she said.
The number of daily deaths fell again on Friday to 605, the lowest figure since March 24, the health ministry said. The rate of increase has dropped to 4% down from 20% two weeks ago.
“We are seeing the curves are on the decline, even though there are still many cases,” Sierra added.
Total deaths rose to 15,843 on Friday – the second highest in the world after Italy. Total cases in Spain rose to 157,022 on Friday from 152,446 on Thursday.
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