Spain's Covid-19 death toll rises by 619 as 4 million Spaniards prepare to return to work

AFP/The Local
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Spain's Covid-19 death toll rises by 619 as 4 million Spaniards prepare to return to work

Spain's daily death toll from the coronavirus rose to 619 on Sunday, after falling for three straight days, the government said.


The country, one of the worst hit by the pandemic, has now recorded 16,972 deaths from COVID-19. The daily toll was up from 510 on Saturday.

Authorities had hoped that the falling death toll was a sign that social distance measures were working, with Saturday's numbers the smallest daily increase since March 23th in Spain.

From Monday April 13th, the Spanish government will loosen the restrictions for industrial and construction workers as well as for employees in other sectors for whom working from home isn't an option.

In terms of service-based companies, these include businesses selling hygiene products, press and stationery, petrol stations, tobacconists, tech equipment suppliers, pet food shops, e-commerce, dry cleaners and hairdressers going to people's homes.


Other retail, entertainment and catering businesses (except for home delivery services) will remain closed for now.

All of the above job sectors were initially allowed to carry on with business as usual for the first two weeks of Spain's lockdown, until Pedro Sánchez's government decided to only authorise "essential workers" to go to their workplaces at the height of the pandemic.

Spain's Prime Minister justified the decision by saying it will help prevent "the economic collapse and standstill of Spain's economy" and that vulnerable workers as well anyone experiencing any Covid-19 symptoms should stay at home even if they are technically allowed to go back to work. 

Health officials also announced that from Monday masks will be handed out at metro and train stations across cities in Spain as companies accounting for a total of 4 million workers re-open after this two-week "hibernation" period.

Although authorities say the pandemic has peaked, they have urged the population to strictly follow the national lockdown which was put in place on March 14 in order to slow the spread of the virus.

The restrictions will remain in place until April 25th although the government has made clear it expects to announce another two-week extension.

Spain toughened its nationwide lockdown on March 30th, halting all non-essential activities until after Easter as it sought to further curb the spread of the virus.


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