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Spain holds drive-through funerals and government says universal basic income will be brought in 'as soon as possible' as country sees smallest rise in coronavirus deaths in almost two weeks - 637 - while rate of new infections continues to fall

Spain holds drive-through funerals and government says universal basic income will be brought in 'as soon as possible' as country sees smallest rise in coronavirus deaths in almost two weeks - 637 - while rate of new infections continues to fall
  • Spain announced 637 deaths and 4,273 new coronavirus infections in 24 hours 
  • Death toll has declined four days in a row and figure at its lowest since March 24  
  • Rate of new infections has fallen to 3.3 per cent, its lowest since the lockdown
  • Economic minister said universal basic income will be brought in 'as soon as possible' as country plots measures to restart the stalled economy 
  • Cemeteries have been holding drive-through funerals to cope with surge
Spain has been holding drive-through funerals for its coronavirus victims as the country's death toll continues to mount. 
The country's largest cemetery in Madrid was conducting one funeral every 15 minutes at the weekend, with hearses driving up to the doors of the chapel before a quick blessing followed by burial or cremation. 
Spain announced 637 new deaths from coronavirus on Monday, marking the lowest daily death toll since March 24 and the fourth straight day of declines.  
The figure raises the total killed during the country's crisis from 12,418 to 13,055. The number of new infections increased by 4,273 from 130,759 to 135,032. Spain's total number of cases is now above Italy's, which stood at 128,948 on Sunday night.
It marks a 3.3 per cent rise in new cases and a 5.1 per cent rise in new deaths, the lowest rate of increase since lockdown measures were announced on March 14 amid signs the strict policy is working. 
Spain and Italy were among the first European countries to go into lockdown as they were hit hardest and quickest by the virus - but are now plotting their route back out again as the infection eases.
On Sunday, Spain's ecoomy minister said the country will bring in a form of universal basic income 'as soon as possible' to help families hit by the lockdown. 
Spain has announced that 637 people died in the last 24 hours from coronavirus, the fourth straight day that number has declined and the lowest total since March 24
Spain has announced that 637 people died in the last 24 hours from coronavirus, the fourth straight day that number has declined and the lowest total since March 24
Spain has been holding drive-through funerals for its coronavirus victims, with 15-minute services being administered at the chapel attached to the country's largest cemetery
Spain has been holding drive-through funerals for its coronavirus victims, with 15-minute services being administered at the chapel attached to the country's largest cemetery 
As pressure on Spain's hospitals eases and the spread of the virus slows, the pressure has now filtered through to funeral providers as the country counts its dead
The country also announced 4,273 new cases as the infection rate fell to 3.3 per cent, the lowest level since lockdown measures were introduced
The country also announced 4,273 new cases as the infection rate fell to 3.3 per cent, the lowest level since lockdown measures were introduced
Nadia Calvino told the La Sexta newspaper that parliament is planning to introduce a pilot programme, with a view to it becoming a permanent policy.
It will compliment 'a series of measures so that no one is left out or left behind, starting with the workers,' she said. 
If fully implemented, it would mark the first time that an entire country has adopted a permanent form of universal basic income, after trials and referendums on the measure in countries including Finland, Canada and Switzerland. 
Spain recorded 950 deaths from coronavirus on April 2 - which now appears to have been the peak of the country's outbreak, with that figure falling every day since.
While infection data has been less clear-cut, amid issues with testing, the rate of new infections has been falling consistently since March 25.
Despite the encouraging signs, Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez announced on Sunday that he would be extending the country-wide lockdown until April 26.  
Funerals have been allowed to keep going ahead in Spain but no more than five people are allowed to attend (pictured, cemetery workers take a coffin to the grave)
Funerals have been allowed to keep going ahead in Spain but no more than five people are allowed to attend (pictured, cemetery workers take a coffin to the grave)
Two workers and a relative attend a burial of a COVID-19 coronavirus victim at La Almudena cemetery in Madrid
Health workers transfer a patient, suspected to be infected with coronavirus, to hospital in an ambulance in Barcelona, Spain
He said Spain is 'close' to defeating the virus and would begin to make a transition to 'recover some of our economic and social life'.
He added that the extension was needed 'in order to give time to the health system to recover'. 
It marked the second time the lockdown has been extended since coming into force on March 14.
Madrid, the capital, has recorded the highest number of deaths from coronavirus in the country, at 4,941, followed by Catalonia, which has recorded 2,637 deaths.
Nadia Calvino, deputy prime minister and minister for economic affairs, said a pilot scheme for basic income will be brought in 'as soon as possible' with a view to it being permanent

Andalusia, which includes the Costa del Sol, has recorded 8,301 cases and 470 deaths. 
Spain recorded its highest number on Thursday this week, at 950. 
Health chiefs say although the actual number of coronavirus infections is stabilising, the situation could worsen if confinement orders were lifted.Europe has been the hardest-hit region in the world with coronavirus so far, accounting for the largest number of deaths and hundreds of thousands of infections
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The government's current strategy aims to lift the restrictions after the Easter holidays, reports El Pais
Spain has recorded the second highest number of deaths from coronavirus in the world, with its numbers only being surpassed by Italy. 
The Prime Minister needs the support of Spain's lower house, the Congress of Deputies, to extend the alarm but Pablo Casado, the leader of the conservative Popular Party (PP) has been increasingly critical of the government's handling of the crisis. 
He recently accused the Socialist leader of 'improvising' and said his way of dealing with the coronavirus crisis was an 'explosive cocktail of arrogance, incompetence and lies'.
Spain is also working on new advice and measures, including advising all Spaniards to wear face masks when outside. 
At the moment, however, there are insufficient stocks to give to the entire

 
How Europe is planning to lift the lockdown: Austria will open small shops next week, Denmark wants 'staggered' return to work and Germany could re-open schools if infection rate stays low 
As Britain and America start to draw up plans for life after the lockdown, they may look for inspiration from European countries where the coronavirus crisis has already showed signs of peaking.  
Austria today became the first country to set out detailed plans for ending the standstill, with smaller shops re-opening on April 14 and larger ones on May 1. 
Denmark also plans to start lifting restrictions after Easter, but wants people to 'work in a more staggered way' to avoid crowding into trains and buses. 
Meanwhile Germany is willing to re-open schools on a regional basis and allow a limited number of people into restaurants if the infection rate stays sufficiently low.
This graph shows how the daily number of new cases in Germany, Italy and Spain has flatlined in recent days, offering hope that the lockdown is working

In Italy, which has been under lockdown longer than any other European country, officials are talking about a 'phase two' where society learns to 'live with the virus' by wearing masks and carrying out more tests. 
Italy and Germany are among the countries looking at smartphone tracking, which could allow them to jump on new outbreaks without sending everyone back inside.
All of those countries, along with Spain, have seen signs of improvement in their recent figures which offer hope that the crisis is past its peak. That moment is still to come for Britain and America, which are bracing for one of their bleakest weeks. 
However, health officials across Europe warn that life cannot go back 'from 0 to 100' immediately and many lockdown measures will remain in place for several more weeks at least.  

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