Spain has recorded 281 coronavirus deaths over the past 24 hours, compared with 268 yesterday, as it prepares for the first phase of the lockdown exit strategy. The total number of deaths stands at 24,824.
On Saturday, people of all ages will be allowed out for exercise for the first time in seven weeks, a week after children were allowed out to play if accompanied by an adult. To avoid overcrowding, separate time slots have been allocated for the elderly, people with the children and everyone else.
Barcelona has opened half of its parks and closed 44 streets to traffic in order to facilitate social distancing. The Madrid region will monitor 2m mobile phones to observe how the relaxed lockdown is progressing.
Today, Isabel Díaz Ayuso, the Madrid regional president, formally closed the vast field hospital at the capital’s IFEMA exhibition centre, which opened 41 days ago. The temporary hospital, which came to symbolise the nation’s fight against the virus, had 5,500 beds. Of the thousands of coronavirus patients admitted, 98% survived.
In a provisional assessment of the economic impact of the health crisis, the government estimates Spain’s GDP will fall by 9.2% this year. Ministers said today the virus has so far cost the nation €139bn, of which around €17bn has gone on paying furloughed employees. After ending 2019 with a public deficit of 2.8%, this year it is expected to be 10.7%.