Spain daily virus deaths 757, second successive rise
A Spanish soldier patrols the streets of Valencia during a national lockdown to prevent the spread of the COVID-16 outbreak. AFP
Spain recorded Wednesday a second successive daily rise in coronavirus-related deaths with 757 fatalities, lifting the total toll in Europe's second-hardest-hit country after Italy by 5.5 percent to 14,555.
The number of new infections rose by 4.4 percent to 146,690, the health ministry said, as Spain has ramped up its testing for the disease.
The number of daily deaths, which peaked on Thursday at 950, rose for the first time on Tuesday after falling for four straight days.
But the rate of increase in both deaths and new infections on Wednesday was largely in line with that recorded the previous day, and half of what was recorded just a week ago.
"We have consolidated the slowdown in the spread of the virus," Health Minister Salvador Illa tweeted after the latest figures were published.
The Spanish government on March 14 imposed one of the toughest lockdowns in Europe to curb the spread of the virus, with people allowed out of their homes only to work, buy food and seek medical care.
The pandemic has stretched the country's public healthcare system close to breaking point, with a shortage of intensive care beds and equipments, but in recent days hospitals have said the situation has improved.
"We have observed a de-escalation at this hospital in particular, and I believe at all hospitals," the spokesman for the Hospital Severo Ochoa in Leganes near Madrid, Jorge Rivera, told AFP.
"We can't let down our guard, emergency services are now working below their full capacity and are working well, they are not saturated and overcrowded but it does not mean that we can relax and go to the emergency ward because you have an ailment."