Spain sees sharp drop in daily virus death toll

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The total fatalities in Spain, the third hardest-hit country in the world after the U.S. and Italy, have reached 20,453, the health ministry said.

The same period saw 4,218 new cases - lower than the 4,499 cases on Saturday - pushing the total infections to 195,944.

Spain said 399 people died of COVID-19 over the past 24 hours in what was the lowest daily number of deaths in four weeks, the government said on Monday.

The new methodology almost doubled the region's total death count and includes 1,810 more deaths in nursing homes, 62 from a social health center, and 456 people who died at home.

Meanwhile, some 577,060 people have recovered from the virus.

Spain has imposed one of Europe's strictest lockdown regimes to help rein in the infection rate and the daily death toll, although this has in turn led to a disruption to the economy of "considerable severity", the country's central bank said.

The news comes as the COVID-19 death tally in one of the worst-hit locations globally has exceeded 20,000.

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He said he will ask parliament to extend the lockdown, which is set to end on April 25.

"Spain has contained the brutal attack of the pandemic", Sanchez said in a nationally televised speech.

"We are going to be in a different "State of Alarm", he said, explaining that he was in favour of lifting "the confinement of children so that after April 27 they will be able to go into the street".

The country reported 585 new fatalities in the past 24 hours, but said it had revised its counting mechanism, making the figures hard to compare with previous tolls.

Across the English Channel, France reported a further 642 deaths in the past 24 hours, raising the country's death toll to 19,323.

Medical professionals, who account for around 15.5% of the country's coronavirus cases, had said that they were unable to access vital supplies like masks, gloves and surgical scrubs.

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