Spain is beginning to reap the rewards of three weeks of harsh confinement. This Monday, for the fourth consecutive day, there has been a significant drop in both the number of deaths and, above all, in the number of coronavirus infections.
These are encouraging figures that make the health authorities think that the Covid-19 pandemic in the country could be officially considered under control, although far from eradicated, at some point next week when hospital discharges exceed the new positive cases.
According to Ministry of Health data on Monday, there were 637 new deaths, (compared to 674 on Sunday) - the lowest in two weeks.
The total number of fatalities now stands at 13,055 since the start of the pandemic however the death rate has clearly slowed over the past two weeks, from a daily increase of 25 per cent to just five per cent.
Even more encouraging than the death statistics is Monday's data on infections, which show the largest drop since the current health crisis began. There were 4,237 new cases - 1,750 positive cases less than on Sunday (when there were 6,023). This is a daily increase of only three per cent, also a record. That said, the total number of confirmed positives to date is 135,032. The number of people infected has doubled in just eight days despite strict social distancing measures.
This Monday's optimistic statistics, however, must be taken with some caution because of the delay in notifications from the Autonomous Communities at weekends.
One major negative comes from hospital workers. A total of 19,400 health professionals have tested positive for coronavirus since the beginning of the pandemic, of which around 20 per cent have been discharged and around 10 per cent have needed to be admitted to hospital. An average of 1,000 healthcare workers have been infected every day for the past week.
The number of people cured also continues to increase but the rate has slowed. On Monday, 2,357 people were discharged, an increase of only six per cent per day, compared with increases of nearly 30 per cent a few days ago. Even so, the total number of patients who have already overcome the disease has reached 40,357. In other words, almost a third of those detected as positive have already beaten the coronavirus.
The low rate of growth of discharges is causing the number of patients hospitalised with Covid-19 to continue to increase, although only very slightly. The total number of patients requiring a hospital bed stood at 59,662 by Monday - an increase of one per cent on the previous day, the lowest since the beginning of the crisis. What's more the daily increase in intensive care admission has gone from a very dangerous 31 per cent daily increase two weeks ago to one per cent.
This seems to indicate that hospital occupancy is approaching its peak thanks to three weeks of confinement.