Spain overtook Italy on Monday as the country with most confirmed infections of the new coronavirus, according to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC). With 130,759 infections, Spain now has around 1,800 more than Italy, ECDC figures showed. Spain superseded Italy over the weekend, according to the data, which was published on Twitter.

But Italy retains the highest coronavirus death toll worldwide, with 15,889 having died of COVID-19, the respiratory illness caused by Coronavirus. Next in Europe are Spain (13,055), France (8,078), and Britain (4,934). Despite having the third-highest number of confirmed infections in Europe, Germany has a relatively low death toll of 1,434. U.S.-based university Johns Hopkins puts Germany’s infection number at more than 100,000.

But Spain is experiencing a further slowdown in new infections, the country’s Health Ministry reported on Monday. Within the last 24 hours, just under 4,300 infections were registered – the lowest number since March 22. This brings the number of confirmed cases to around 135,000.

This consolidation of recent positive developments is being seen in “practically all regions” of Spain, according to Maria Jose Sierra, spokeswoman for the Department of Health Emergencies (CCAES).

The growth rate of new infections now stands at around 3 per cent, down from roughly 5 per cent the previous day, Sierra said.

This is the lowest rate since the start of the crisis in Spain when daily increases of up to 22 per cent occurred. As a result, the pressure on hospitals and intensive care units is decreasing, the CCAES spokeswoman said.

Monday’s death toll of 637 is the lowest since March 24. Within the last day, more than 2,300 people were released from the hospital after recovering from the disease, according to official figures. More than 40,000 people have now recovered. Nonetheless, Spain remains one of the worst-affected countries. On Saturday, Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez decided to extend emergency measures, including a strict lockdown, until April 26. Parliament is due to approve the move on Thursday.

The first cases of the new coronavirus in Europe were recognized in France and Germany at the end of January. Since the end of February, the number of infections has risen massively in Italy, while Spain has seen a huge increase since mid-March.

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