Coronavirus: Spain's daily death toll falls below 100 for first time since March

17 May 2020, 15:14 | Updated: 17 May 2020, 15:15

The health minister said regional authorities have reported 87 new deaths, the lowest daily count since March 16
The health minister said regional authorities have reported 87 new deaths, the lowest daily count since March 16. Picture: PA

By Matt Drake

Spain has registered its first daily coronavirus death toll of fewer than 100 since declaring a state of emergency two months ago.

Health minister Fernando Simon said regional authorities have reported 87 new deaths, the lowest daily count since March 16.

Spain reported over 900 deaths a day at the height of the outbreak.

The country of 47 million has had 27,650 fatalities in total and 277,719 infections from Covid-19.

The latest figures came as Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said he will ask Parliament for what he hopes will be the last extension of the state of emergency, keeping it in place until around late June.

Tourism, which accounts for 12 per cent of GDP, looks set to lose its critical summer season.

"Spain needs tourism," Mr Sanchez said. "But tourism needs security. It needs health guarantees."

Meanwhile in Italy, Premier Giuseppe Conte acknowledged reopening the economy brings a risk of new outbreaks of coronavirus, but said "we must accept it".

He said the nationwide lockdown that began in early March had brought "the expected results", putting the country in a position to expand economic activity in the second phase of reopening.

Shops, bars, cafes, restaurants, hairdressers and museums are among the business and cultural activities that can resume from Monday. Gyms and swimming pools can reopen a week after. Travel between regions and into Italy from abroad will be permitted from June 3.

Mr Conte said the country must accept the risks and open before the availability of a vaccine. But he said an extensive monitoring system is in place and the government will intervene to close areas if there are new outbreaks.

Ireland also recorded the lowest number of new coronavirus infections in two months yesterday.

The coronavirus death toll in Ireland rose to 1,533 on Saturday, after a further 15 deaths were announced by the National Public Health Emergency Team.

Chief medical officer Dr Tony Holohan said: "Today is the first time we have seen the number of confirmed cases fall below 100 since mid-March."

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Public Health England modelling also suggests that fewer than 24 people a day are becoming infected with Covid-19 in London.

According to data by the Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine in Oxford, the UK's peak of coronavirus-related deaths was on April 8.

According to a report in The Telegraph and ex-director of the World Health Organisation, Professor Karol Sikora, the virus could be slowing naturally due to warmer weather.

Prof Sikora said: "Summer's coming and there are plenty of reasons to be optimistic. There is growing evidence to show that the virus struggles in warmer climates.

"With the added ventilation outdoors and a healthier population, we can be confident that the summer will bring better news.

"There is a real chance that the virus will burn out naturally before any vaccine is developed.

"We are seeing a roughly similar pattern everywhere - I suspect we have more immunity than estimated. We need to keep slowing the virus, but it could be petering out by itself."

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