The daily number of coronavirus deaths in Spain has dropped for the fourth day in a row, raising hopes that the country will have passed the peak of the epidemic.
Monday’s increase of 637 deaths means that more than 13,000 died in total.
The Spanish population has been living under severe restrictions for more than three weeks, with the lockout measures now being extended towards the end of April.
The country has more than 135,000 confirmed cases, the most in Europe, but new infections are slowing down.
Spanish authorities say they are considering expanding coronavirus testing to include those who have no symptoms.
“It is important to know who is infected to be able to gradually lift the foreclosure of Spanish citizens,” said Foreign Minister Arancha Gonzalez, quoted by Reuters, on Antena 3 television.
Slowing death rates in a number of the most affected European countries, including Italy, France and Germany, raise hopes that tough social distancing measures will slow the spread of Covid-19.
There have been more than 1.2 million cases and nearly 70,000 confirmed deaths worldwide since the virus first emerged in China in December.
What are the latest Spanish figures?
Monday’s figures indicate an increase of 4,273 new confirmed cases, bringing the national total to 135,032.
The total number of cases in Spain comes just behind the United States, which has a much larger population.
The country also has the second highest human toll in the world, behind Italy. But the figure of 637 on Monday is the lowest recorded in nearly two weeks since March 24.
This is down from 674 new deaths confirmed on Sunday. The daily death toll peaked at 950 last Thursday.
Maria Jose Sierra, deputy head of the Spanish health emergency committee, said on Monday that the rate of growth of the pandemic appeared to be slowing “in almost all regions” of the country.
Checkpoints were lifted Monday in a number of hard-hit cities in the Catalonia region.
Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez said this weekend that some restrictions, including keeping non-essential workers at home, could be lifted after Easter.
Speaking on Saturday, he said the country was “on the verge of surpassing the peak of infections” but said it was extending the lockdown until April 25 because the restrictions “saved lives”.
Shops, including shops and restaurants, have been closed since March 14, and residents must stay at home and only go out to carry out essential tasks.