The death toll from the coronavirus in Spain, the country hit hardest by the pandemic after the United States and Italy, moved past 20,000 on Saturday, the health ministry said.
A total of 20,043 people have now succumbed to the disease, which killed 565 people in Spain in the past 24 hours, slightly down on the 585 reported on Friday. The number of declared cases has risen to 191,726, the ministry said. However, the increase in infections has slowed in recent days while the number deemed cured has risen to nearly 75,000.
Health officials say Spain has passed the peak of the COVID-19 outbreak which killed up to 950 people on April 2, and the pressure has eased on hospitals. But the toll, which covers only people who tested positive for the virus, is increasingly contested in some regions.
Officials there say thousands more people have died after showing symptoms of the disease without having been tested because there are not enough tests. For example, Catalonia has reported that more than 7,800 people have died while the national toll for the region referred Saturday to more than 3,800.
Spain has since March 14 been under lockdown, which has been extended until April 25.