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Spain coronavirus hell: Terrifying update sees death toll break 17,000 – cases hit 169,496

Spain coronavirus hell: Terrifying update sees death toll break 17,000 - cases hit 169,496 1

The Spanish Health Ministry has confirmed a further 517 people have died from COVID-19 in the past 24 hours taking the total number of deaths to 17,489, Health authorities have also said 3,477 new cases of the virus have been confirmed taking the total number of infections to 169,496. The number of deaths announced on Monday is below the 619 new deaths recorded on Sunday.

The number of fatalities had spiked again on Sunday following three successive days of the falling numbers.

On Saturday figures suggested the second worst affected country in Europe, behind Italy, had overcome the peak of the virus.

Just 48 hours ago, 512 COVID-19 deaths were recorded in a single day – the lowest figure for 19 days.

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The lockdown in Spain, which has a population of around 47 million people, has been among the most draconian in Europe.

Restrictions have been in place since March 14 and only allows individuals to leave their home for work or to buy food or medicine.

The Spanish Government has this morning began easing the shut down of the country as thousands of workers go back to their jobs.

READ MORE: Ebola panic: Fears for deadly new outbreak as WHO battles new hotspot

Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said on Sunday the decision to restart some sectors of the economy was taken after consulting a committee of scientific experts.

Mr Sanchez urged caution and insisted the public was not yet ready to return to normal life.

He said: “We are still far from victory, from the moment when we can pick up our normal lives again.

“But we have made the first decisive steps in the path towards victory.”

Mr Sanchez insisted the lifting of any more restrictions would depend on whether there was any gains to be made.

He added: “If that doesn’t happen, I want to be very clear, we will maintain or reinforce the restrictions.”

Catalan leader Quim Torra described the decision to restart these sectors as irresponsible and reckless.

He said: “The risk of a new outbreak and a second lockdown is enormous.”

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Spain is a number of leading European nations to begin easing restrictions alongside Italy, Demark and Austria.

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