1mn cases reported in Europe
Paris, France - More than one million cases of the coronavirus have been detected in Europe, just over half the global total, according to a tally compiled by AFP from official sources at 0830 GMT Wednesday.
With at least 1,003,284 cases, including 84,465 deaths, Europe is the worst hit continent. Globally, 1,991,019 COVID-19 infections and 125,955 deaths have been registered.
The tallies, using data collected by AFP from national authorities and information from the World Health Organization (WHO), probably reflect only a fraction of the actual number of infections. Many countries are testing only the most serious cases.
Spain, with 172,541 cases and 18,056 deaths, Italy (162,488 and 21,067), France (143,303 and 15,729) and Germany (127,584 and 3,254) are the only European countries with more than 100,000 infections.
Britain, with 93,873 cases and 12,107 deaths, is the country that currently has highest daily number of new cases.
Spain recorded 523 deaths from the coronavirus on Wednesday, a decline from the previous day, but the number of new daily confirmed cases was the highest in six days.
The new deaths reported by the health ministry take the total number of fatalities to 18,579 -- officially third in the world behind the United States and Italy.
Spain recorded 567 deaths from COVID-19 on Tuesday.
The number of new confirmed infections rose by 5,092, or three percent, to 177,633, the biggest daily increase in the number of cases since April 9.
Health authorities say Spain has overcome the peak of the coronavirus, after registering its highest daily death toll of 950 people on April 2, but warn against relaxing restrictions on the movement of people to curb the spread of the virus.
Spain on March 14 imposed one of the tightest lockdowns in Europe, with people in the nation of around 47 million people allowed outside only to go to work when they can't do so from home, buy food, seek medical care and briefly walk their dog.
The government tightened the restrictions on March 30 by freezing all non-essential activities like construction and manufacturing for two weeks in a so-called "economic hibernation" -- a measure that was lifted on Monday.
"We adopted difficult measures which are effective, which protect and save lives," Socialist Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said Wednesday during a debate in parliament.
"As a result of this confinement, I am convinced that Spaniards will shortly recover a bit of normality...a new normality because nothing will be the same until a vaccine is found," he added in response to criticism from the right over his handling of the pandemic.
The government estimates that about 67 percent of Spaniards are adhering strictly to the lockdown and hardly ever go outside since it was imposed.