The latest data from Spain shows the death toll has risen by 655 in the last 24 hours, bringing the total to 4,089 – slightly lower than Wednesday’s rise of 738. Confirmed cases rose to 56,188.
Madrid remains the worst affected area, with close to a third of cases. But Catalonia has also seen a steep rise, reporting 11,592 confirmed infections.
Late last night Spain extended its national state of emergency until 12 April in a bid to halt the spread of the virus.
With the country having just witnessed its third-highest one-day rise in deaths since the outbreak began – for a total of more than 7,500 – it is hard for Italians to see a glimmer of hope.
And yet there are grounds for it: the rate of new infections has slowed again and the government-run national research council says almost half of all provinces have already hit the peak of the outbreak.
But while the containment measures seem to be working in Lombardy, the worst-hit region in the north, poorer parts of central and southern Italy are seeing a worrying rise in deaths. The president of Campania, the region around Naples, warned of “the real prospect that Lombardy’s tragedy is about to become the south’s tragedy”.
Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte has promised a second package to ease the economic impact worth at least €25bn (£23bn), with the EU’s third-largest economy likely to plunge into its deepest recession in a generation.