Spain sees drop in daily coronavirus deaths; total fatalities surpass 15,000

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Spain’s daily death toll from the coronavirus fell to 683 on Thursday, after rising for two days, the authorities said.

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The country, one of the worst hit by the pandemic, has now recorded 15,238 deaths from COVID-19.

The daily toll was down from 757 on Wednesday.

However, there has been growing speculation that officials may have grossly underestimated the death toll.

Authorities in the Madrid region acknowledged on Wednesday that the number of deaths in retirement homes could be five times as high as that announced by health officials, who have not included almost 3,500 deaths of people who had not been tested for the virus.

The number of daily new cases also dropped slightly Thursday, bringing the total to 152,446.

For several days, the Spanish authorities have indicated that the peak of the pandemic has been reached but asked citizens to continue to strictly respect the confinement regulations.

“Our priority now is not to turn back, especially not to return to our starting point, not to lower our guard,” Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez told parliament Thursday.

Spain has been subject to a strict lockdown since March 14 which has been reinforced in the past two weeks by the cessation of all non-essential activities until the Easter weekend.

The lower house of parliament is expected to extend the confinement to April 25 on Thursday.

The government has not ruled out further extensions, while stressing that the measures should be eased gradually.

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