Spain’s total COVID-19 death toll hit 28,628 on Friday as government officials announced that the entire country will begin to ease lockdown measures on Monday.
According to the Health Ministry, 56 more people died of COVID-19 in the last 24-hour period. It is the sixth consecutive day that the country reported under 100 COVID-19 deaths.
But the country’s death toll, compared to Thursday's official tally of 27,940, actually jumped up by 688 to hit 28,628 on Friday.
The Health Ministry says this daily jump is due to the various regions' “cleaning” their historic datasets, confirming only 56 additional fatalities.
Madrid, Barcelona and parts of Castile and Leon are the only places in Spain that remain under strict lockdowns.
Those regions, which have been especially hard-hit by the infectious disease, will be able to join the rest of the country in easing measures on Monday, announced Health Minister Salvador Illa on Friday in a press conference.
Those three regions were home to more than half -- 250 -- of the 446 new infections reported Friday. In total, Spain has confirmed 234,824 cases of COVID-19.
“We’ve chosen a path of prudence, caution and safety,” noted Illa, adding: “We’ve been guided to ensure that each step forward is a safe one.”
Starting Monday, 53% of Spain’s population, including those in the country's two biggest cities, will be able to sit at outdoor bar and restaurant terraces, attend gatherings of up to 10 people and go to houses of worship.
The rest of the country will operate with even more relaxed measures on Monday. In those places, cinemas, indoor restaurants, and malls will open with limited capacity.