MADRID — The coronavirus has claimed at least 15,843 lives in Spain and has officially infected 152,446 people, although both the rate of contagion and mortality are dropping, official health ministry data shows Friday.
The 605 new deaths recorded overnight were the lowest increase since March 24. There were 4,576 more recorded infections than a day earlier, bringing down the daily rate of contagion to 3%.
The Spanish government is meeting Friday to establish a 20 billion-euro ($21.9 billion) fund to help small businesses and the self-employed cope with the economic fallout of the outbreak, but it’s also discussing what comes next for 47 million Spaniards who have been quarantined for four weeks.
After a two-week freeze of all nonessential economic activity, factories and construction sites are set to resume work on Monday. Schools, most shops and offices will remain closed, with people encouraged to work from home.
Experts have warned that the return of certain activity will increase contagion and that health authorities need to scrutinize any new cases.
A three-week survey of 30,000 households should help understand how many people are or have been infected and guide future “de-escalation” of the confinement measures, the government has said.
The state of emergency has been extended to April 26 for now, although Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez has said that he will most likely be asking parliament for further extensions.