MADRID: Spain, one of the countries hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic, is to extend its nationwide lockdown until May 9, Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez announced Saturday.
Restrictions on movements would be loosened slightly however to allow children time outside, from April 27, he added.
Spain, which has been under lockdown since March 14, has recorded 20,043 deaths from the virus, according to the latest official figures released earlier Saturday.
Spain's health authorities reported 565 deaths in the last 24 hours.
Only the United States and Italy have more deaths.
New infections rose by nearly 4,500.
More than 74,000 people in Spain have recovered.
This week, health authorities said there were discrepancies in the statistics of virus deaths and infections reported by regional administrations.
The central government has ordered regions to give more precise data and use the same parameters.
As the outbreak's spread slows, pressure on hospitals has relaxed.
Authorities have closed one part of a huge field hospital with thousands of beds set up by the military in a convention center in Madrid.
But strict confinement rules are expected to be extended beyond April 26.