While the COVID-19 death toll in Europe has crossed the 100,000 mark, worst hit countries are showing some signs of improvement. Italy and Spain have both recorded their lowest daily death toll in nearly a month. France, meanwhile, continues to see a drop in its number of patients needing intensive care.
Low number of deaths in Spain, Italy
In Spain, the death toll recorded yesterday, 19 April, was 410. This figure is by far the country’s lowest since 22 March. In total, more than 20,400 people have died in Spain because of the virus. Its confirmed cases total 195,944, the second highest in the world next only to the United States.
There is hope to be found in the latest data, according to top health official Fernando Simon. He has noted that the contagion rate has fallen, signalling that Spain is on the “correct path.” In line with that, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez has sought a two-week extension of the country’s state of emergency, while children will be allowed to leave their homes starting 27 April.
Italy’s data yesterday also painted a similar picture. The casualties rose by 433 over the past 24 hours, but this is the lowest figure from the country in a month. Confirmed coronavirus positive cases grew by only a little over 3,000 to 178,972, yet another lowest increase in over a month. Hospitalisations are starting to decline as well, although only by 26 beds. Latest data show 25,033 people are hospitalised while 2,635 are in intensive care.
Italy has had the most number of deaths due to COVID-19 globally, exceeding 23,600 as of 19 April.
While the infection curve is plateauing, authorities are discussing on how to ease restrictions – especially the nationwide lockdown, which has been extended until 3 May. There is, however, worry that the cases may have been significantly underestimated due to the country’s lack of comprehensive testing.
France sees drop in number of intensive care patients
From early March, COVID-19 has claimed the lives of more than 19,700 people in France. What is improving, however, is the number of its patients needing hospitalisation and intensive care, said director-general of health Jérôme Salomon at a press conference.
At the same press conference, the French government announced that it will be partially easing its stringent confinement measures. Families will be allowed to visit relatives in nursing homes starting today, 20 April.
Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said that while “the situation is gradually improving,” the health crisis is not yet over in France. The leader also warned about the “brutal” economic crisis that “has only just begun,” noting the stoppage in both production and consumption.
France is in lockdown until 11 May.