(Update: adds daily figures from UK)
Madrid Desk, May 14 (efe-epa).- There has been a slight increase in the rate of coronavirus infections in Spain and Germany as the countries began easing lockdown restrictions.
Elsewhere in Europe Italy has extended its state of emergency and France has reopened many of its schools.
Italy’s lower house of parliament, the Chamber of Deputies, has voted in favour of extending its state of emergency in response to the coronavirus pandemic until 31 July, despite opposition from right-wing political parties.
The extension, which must also be approved in the Senate, was passed by 241 votes in favour from the parties in the government coalition.
Right-wing opposition forces voted against it, with a total of 166 votes while five deputies abstained.
Italy, which has been one of the worst-affected countries in the world, declared a state of emergency on 31 January, three weeks after a local spread of infection was detected in the Lombardy region in the north.
A national lockdown was imposed which authorities have recently begun to ease as the number of new infections and deaths has declined.
There have been more than 222,100 confirmed cases and 31,100 deaths, of the country’s population of 60 million.
There was a slight increase in the rate of infection in Spain after the country began easing its strict lockdown.
Authorities reported 217 fatalities in the last 24 hours, a slight increase after five days below 200 daily deaths, with the total exceeding 27,300.
There was also a rise in the number of new infections, 506, putting the total of confirmed cases at more than 229,500.
More than half of the fresh cases were concentrated in two of the country’s worst-hit regions: Catalonia with 195 and Madrid with 88.
Around 143,300 people have recovered from the disease in the country, including 2,551 hospital discharges in the past day.
Spain’s population of almost 47 million people have been under one of the world’s strictest lockdowns for the past two months and the country has started reopening under a four-phase plan from the government.
Its autonomous regions have been de-escalating the confinement measures at different paces depending on their infection rates and health services, both Madrid and Barcelona have delayed going into the first phase of reopening.
The preliminary results from an antibody study reported that five per cent of Spain’s residents had contracted the virus.