efe-epaMadrid

The Spanish government intends to extend the country’s state of alarm until 26 April amid a decline in the number of daily coronavirus deaths.

Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez is due to ask Spain’s lower house, the Congress of Deputies, for approval to extend measures to contain the pandemic in the coming days, political sources told Efe on Saturday.

Spanish health authorities reported 809 deaths in the last 24 hours, the lowest daily figure in seven days.

This brought the total fatalities to 11,744 in the country, which along with Italy and the United States has been one of the worst affected by the pandemic.

There were 7,026 new confirmed infections overnight which took the tally to 124,736, higher than Italy, of which around 76,000 were active after more than 30,000 recoveries.

The number of patients being treated in intensive care units rose to 6,532, an increase of 1.8 per cent from the previous day.

These figures represent a slowdown in the rate of infections, deaths and hospital admissions and it was the second consecutive day that there was a drop in the level of fatalities.

Despite this, health authorities warned on Friday that lifting the restrictions too soon could result in a resurgence of infections.

Spanish residents have been in lockdown since 15 March when the government announced a national state of alarm, which was later extended until 11 April and tightened last week.

Sanchez decided to extend measures until at least 26 April after consultations with medical and scientific experts and meeting with the Committee for the Technical Management of Covid-19.

He needs approval from Congress to go ahead with the extension and was also due to communicate the decision to opposition leaders.

Those living in Spain are only allowed to leave their homes to buy food and medicine or to work if they are employed in essential sectors.

All economic activity apart from critical services has been suspended.

Three weeks of these measures has seen the curve of transmission rates beginning to flatten.

More than 56,000 people have required hospitalisation in Spain since the outbreak began which has put intensive care units under a growing strain as the number of patients has increased along with longer stays, sometimes three weeks.

The capital Madrid has been the worst-hit region in the country, with around 4,500 deaths.

Spanish authorities were also considering whether or not to modify some of the containment measures in force, which are among the strictest of any affected countries. EFE-EPA

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