The number of coronavirus deaths in Spain fell for the third consecutive day – a glimmer of hope in the hard-hit country where more than 12,400 people died.
The fall is part of a pattern seen in other European countries that imposed a strict lockdown several weeks ago, with France and Italy also recording a decline in the number of daily deaths.
On Saturday, France saw its death toll fall to 441 from 588 on Friday.
On the same day, Italy recorded 681 deaths, including 766 the day before.
Alex Rossi of Sky, Madrid, said there was “muted optimism” because of the Spanish numbers.
Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said to the nation on Saturday: “We are starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. “
The number of people who died in Spain has now reached 12,418. The number of people who died on Saturday in Italy was 15,362, including 7,560 in France.
Despite the lockdown, which appears to reduce the number of daily deaths, authorities have made it clear that they have no immediate plans to lift the restrictions.
Sanchez said on Saturday that he would ask parliament to extend his country’s lockout by 15 days until April 26.
He added that a team of experts was also studying how the restrictions could be gradually relaxed to revive the country’s economy.
Meanwhile, the Italian region of Lombardy, ravaged by viruses, is now forcing residents to wear a protective mask when they go out.
It follows similar orders in recent days from two other northern regions, the hard-hit Veneto and Alto Adige, which require protective masks for residents who shop in stores and markets.
The whole of Italy is under national lock-up and Lombardy has adopted particularly strict restrictions on movements and commercial operations.
It comes in the midst of a growing appreciation that the official death toll could mask the true death toll.
Interviews by Reuters with families, doctors and nurses in Lombardy indicate that scores die at home because the symptoms are not controlled and health professionals cannot visit the sick before their death.
In the province of Bergamo, where Sky News witnessed horrific scenes in the main hospital and where the mayor told Stuart Ramsay that he was convinced the death toll was higher than that reported, a recent study of the death registers found that the actual number could be more than double the official count for 2060, who only tracks deaths in the hospital.
In France, the centralized state has allowed authorities to take extraordinary measures to try to save lives.
Europe’s largest food market, in Rungis, south of Paris, turns into a morgue.
The country’s high-speed train network has whistled seriously ill COVID-19 patients and the breathing apparatus they are attached to where they can receive better care.
TGV trains are just one part of the national mobilization of public transport, helicopters, jet planes and even a warship to relieve crowded hospitals.
Nearly 7,000 patients are in intensive care in France, pushing hospitals to their limits and beyond.
In Germany, which reports a lower death rate than other European countries, the official death toll rose from 184 to 1,342.
But health officials have reported that the number of new infections has increased by 5,936 in the past 24 hours to 91,714 on Sunday, the third consecutive decline in the daily rate of new cases.