Spain to Approve Measures Relaxing Coronavirus Lockdown Tuesday

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(Bloomberg) --

Spain’s Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said he expects to approve more steps relaxing the country’s confinement to combat Europe’s worst outbreak of the coronavirus at a cabinet meeting on Tuesday.

One measure will allow outdoor exercise and walks starting May 2, but only if infections keep evolving in a favorable way, the premier said in a televised address. Sanchez gave no details of further measures planned for households or businesses but said they’d be applied in an “asymmetric” way throughout the country.

The announcement marks the second step in a week to relax one of the world’s strictest coronavirus lockdowns. On Sunday, children up to 14 years old will be allowed to leave their homes once a day for an hour, accompanied by an adult. The state of emergency that gives force to the confinement measures is currently due to end on May 9.

Spain’s severe confinement was a response to the country’s rapid increase in infections and deaths, particularly among the elderly and hospital workers. Of the 37,000 doctors and other hospital workers infected, 38 have died, channel RTVE reported.

Spain recorded less than 400 deaths from the new coronavirus for the second day in a row, a sign that the epidemic may be stabilizing. Fatalities increased by 378, for a total of 22,902, according to Health Ministry data published Saturday.

Madrid and Catalonia, the country’s economic heartlands and the hardest-hit regions by the outbreak, could be among the last areas to go back to normality. Health Minister Salvador Illa has said the government may lift restrictions in less-affected territories first.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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