Children play the drums from their balcony after the Way to the Calvary procession, known as the Turbas (mobs), was cancelled due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Cuenca, Spain.

Susana Vera/Reuters

Spain reported its lowest daily coronavirus death toll since mid-March. 

The country is gradually easing up on lockdown restrictions, in which 51% of Spain’s population will enter the first phase of a four-step reopening plan on Monday. 

It will include permitted gatherings of up to 10 people and movement around provinces. The government also allowed public transportation and restaurant reopenings under strict social distancing rules. 

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Half of Spain’s population prepares for easing lockdown restrictions as the country reports its lowest daily coronavirus death toll since mid-March, Reuters reported. 

Spain’s emergency health chief Fernando Simon announced at a press conference that the daily coronavirus deaths is 143 down from 179 on Saturday, the lowest its been since March 18.

“We continue with the downward trend reported in recent days,” Simon said.

Overall deaths rose to 26,621 from 26,478 on Saturday and the number of diagnosed coronavirus cases rose to 224,390 from 223,578 the day before, the Health Ministry added. 

Spain was among the countries that are worse-hit by the coronavirus pandemic. Pedro Sanchez, the country’s prime minister, initially introduced a two-week lockdown on March 14. But that lockdown was repeatedly extended after seeing its death toll doubled in just three days on March 23, and the country struggled to cope with rapidly increasing COVID-19 cases throughout April, Business Insider previously reported. 

As of May 10, Spain has recorded more than 260,000 cases and more than 26,000 deaths from the novel coronavirus. The country has since eased up lockdown restrictions after reporting declining cases and deaths. 

The New York Times reported that about 51% of Spain’s population will head to Phase 1 of a four-step easing plan on Monday. Each region within Spain will take a different pace towards the “new normal,” and it will be gradual depending on the severity of the outbreak in specific areas, Sanchez said. 

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The Spanish government will determine the reopening regions, and the eased up restrictions will allow gatherings of up to 10 people and movement within provinces, according to Reuters. Additionally, the Canary and Balearic Islands and other areas that make the cut can also reopen bars, restaurants, museums, gyms, and hotels at reduced capacity. 

Madrid and Barcelona, Spain’s two biggest cities, will remain in Phase 0 of the country’s reopening plan. 

David Starton, a Scottish native who’s lived in Madrid for 20 years, told The New York Times that keeping Madrid at “Phase 0” is the right decision. 

“I don’t think Madrid is ready yet to move onto the next phase,” he said. “It’s unfortunate, it’s quite sad, and we’ll just have to put up with another week of restrictions and lockdown.”

On May 4, the Spanish government permitted public transportation under strict social distancing rules, Business Insider previously reported. All residents have to wear a face mask. Residents can now pick up food from restaurants if there’s a plexiglass barrier, and “high-performance” athletes can train outdoors. 

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