The health ministry said it had registered 950 new deaths in the past 24 hours, the largest increase in a day the country has seen so far. His total death toll is now 10,003, which means he joins Italy as the only country to report a five-digit death toll.
But there was reason for moderate optimism in the country, whose devastating epidemic is slowing down.
As the number of deaths increases, the rate of new infections in Spain has fallen to its lowest level since the start of the crisis. An increase of 3,056 cases was reported in the past day, a jump of only 4.3% and a noticeable improvement in the dramatic situation in the country in mid-March.
Officials said the data shows that the case curve in Spain is under control and that the drastic emergency measures put in place to lock the country are working.
“The data shows us that the curve has stabilized,” said Health Minister Salvador Illa at the government press conference on Thursday. “That we have reached the main goal of reaching the top of the curve and are now entering the deceleration phase. “
Deaths lag behind new infections as a measure of the speed of a country’s epidemic. And even the strong 10.5% increase in deaths reported by Spain on Thursday is similar to the increase on Wednesday, and smaller in percentage than that recorded in the past two weeks.
The number of new patients admitted to intensive care units also declined, with 220 admissions in the past day.
The Spanish government has been criticized by opposition parties, some health workers and unions for the reported shortages of intensive care facilities, the lack of sufficient personal protective equipment and overworked health workers.
A second makeshift morgue opened earlier this week in the capital, Madrid, which has already turned a conference center into an emergency hospital and an ice rink into another morgue.
And Illa warned that the country’s health service remained under pressure, declaring: “Even observing a decrease in the number of admissions, long stays in these units produce an effect of accumulation of patients because of which there are still difficult weeks for our health system. “
But officials said the tough foreclosure measures in Spain are having the desired effect.
Health official María José Sierra said on Wednesday that the lower number of cases was helping to “assess the measures we are taking very positively” and that in many communities across the country, the government had seen pressure on the units. intensive care decrease.
The total number of pending or active cases in Spain was 73,492 on Thursday, the government said. In total, it has accumulated 110,238 recorded cases since the start of the epidemic.
Spain has been one of the most affected countries in the world, behind Italy in total deaths due to Covid-19, and behind Italy and the United States in total reported cases. Its streets were empty for weeks after residents were ordered to stay at their homes.
Meanwhile, the Spanish continue to adapt to the devastating economic impact of the pandemic.
The nation registered an increase in unemployment of 302,265 people in March compared to the previous month, according to data from the Spanish Ministry of Labor released on Thursday.
The increase represents the largest monthly increase since the records started, Labor Minister Yolanda Diaz said at a press conference in Madrid on Thursday. She called the increase in unemployment “absolutely exceptional” and “historic”.
The most affected sector was services and tourism, with more than 200,000 jobless claims, said Diaz at the press conference. Total unemployment in Spain has now reached 3,548,312 after increasing 9.3% in March.
CNN’s Max Ramsay, Ingrid Formanek, Tim Lister and Al Goodman contributed to the story