Some Spaniards to see lockdown eased as daily deaths fall again

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Spain registered its lowest daily number of coronavirus deaths on Sunday since mid-March and half of its population prepared for an easing of one of Europe’s strictest lockdowns, though not yet the residents of cities such as Madrid and Barcelona.
Cyclists, joggers and walkers, many in face masks, packed bridges and streets around Madrid Rio park on Sunday as the park itself remained closed. Spaniards have been able to exercise outdoors for a week now while observing social distancing rules.

Emergency Health Chief Fernando Simon said the daily death toll of 143, down from 179 on Saturday, was the lowest since March 18.

“We continue with the downward trend reported in recent days,” he told a news conference.

Just over half of Spain’s 47 million people will progress to Phase 1 of a four-step easing plan on Monday after the government decided that the regions in which they live met the necessary criteria.

Under the lockdown relaxation, up to 10 people will be able to gather together and people will also be allowed to move freely around their province.

In regions that qualify, including the Canary and Balearic Islands, bars, restaurants and shops will be allowed to open at reduced capacity and museums, gyms and hotels will open their doors for the first time in nearly two months.

But Madrid, Barcelona and other cities including Valencia, Malaga and Granada will remain in Phase 0, much to the annoyance of regional governments struggling with the economic implications of a prolonged lockdown.

“It’s a blow for the economy,” Madrid regional president Isabel Diaz Ayuso told the newspaper El Mundo on Sunday.

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