Spain registers lowest daily death toll in weeks

OVIEDO, Spain (AA) Spain registered on Friday 605 additional novel coronavirus-related deaths — the lowest daily figure since March 24, according to the country’s Ministry of Health.

With the latest report, the total number of fatalities in the country reached 15,843.

Another 4,576 cases were also confirmed on Friday, while more than 3,500 recovered. In total, 157,022 people have tested positive for the disease and 55,668 have been cured.

The country has been under a strict lockdown for nearly one month.

According to Spain’s National Center for Epidemiology (CNE), the virus’s rate of spread has dropped significantly. Before containment, the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine had estimated that on average, 100 infected people could spread the virus to more than 400 others. Now, the CNE says the same number of people would infect just 84.

The next milestone will be when the number of patients recovering each day surpasses the number of new infections.

On Thursday, Spain’s parliament extended the state of emergency until April 26. During the session, Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said it was likely that containment measures would have to be extended again until at least May 11.

Next week, Spain will begin a large antibody testing program aiming to understand the full extent of the virus in the country. More than 62,000 people from 30,000 households will provide blood samples as part of the program.

According to Dr. Robert Redfield, the director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as many as 25% of people with the virus may be asymptomatic, though still able to carry it on to others.

In late March, Kings College London estimated that up to 7 million — one in seven in Spain — had been infected by the virus.