May 30, 2020 / 3:17 PM / a month ago

Spain's daily coronavirus death toll drops to a handful

A family wearing masks talks to police officers at Ondarreta beach, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in San Sebastian, Spain, May 30, 2020. REUTERS/Vincent West

MADRID (Reuters) - Spain’s coronavirus death toll rose by four on Saturday to 27,125, the Health Ministry said, reflecting a dramatic decline in daily fatalities in recent weeks as the country brings the outbreak under control.

The number of COVID-19 infections increased by 271 to 239,228. Spain was at one point one of the worst affected countries by the pandemic but it has now has started to ease lockdown restrictions.

However, with people relaxing after months shut up inside, police have intervened in a series of incidents at parties, funerals and other social gatherings at which restrictions were broken.

In Barcelona, bathers were moved off the beach after some were spotted breaching rules by swimming in the Mediterranean, police said on Saturday.

The government said meanwhile that four small islands will be able to open the outside terraces of bars and restaurants to 75% of their capacity from Monday, a further easing of rules for parts of the country least affected by the disease.

Tables on terraces must still be kept 1.5 metres (5 feet) apart, according to regulations published by the Official Bulletin and affecting La Graciosa, El Hierro and La Gomera in the Canary Islands, and Formentera in the Balearics.

In the four islands entering phase 3, groups of up to 20 people can meet and shopping centers will be allowed to re-open at 40% of capacity. Hotels and other leisure establishments can have common areas up to 50% of capacity.

Companies should still encourage home working but also can organize the return of workers to the office as long as their arrival is staggered. Museums will be allowed to organize activities.

Reporting by Graham Keeley in Barcelona; Editing by Frances Kerry

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