There were 525 new deaths in 24 hours in Italy, the lowest recorded death toll in over two weeks.

More than 15,800 people have died in Italy, which has more recorded deaths than any other country in the world.

Officials said the numbers showed that the country likely was past the peak of the epidemic, a hopeful sign that the social distancing measures are having an impact.

But the country’s health minister warned that the situation is still “dramatic” and that there would be “difficult months ahead”.

Officials in the country have said that the movement restrictions in place have saved thousands of lives.

Surge in UK cases over the weekend
There was a surge in cases of coronavirus in the United Kingdom on Sunday with more than 5,900 new cases and 600 deaths in 24 hours. The increase in cases could be due to an increase in testing capacity.

“The only effective way of bending the curve down is to reduce that social contact,” said health secretary Matt Hancock, who recently recovered from COVID-19. He said the government had been “crystal clear” about the rules and that the evidence shows a “high proportion” of the public are following them.

He said that following the rules was “mission critical” and told the “minority” of people breaking rules that they were risking their lives and the lives of others.

Hancock said that even though people who have recovered are likely immune, scientists do not yet know enough to be able to change social distancing rules.

Dr Jenny Harries, the deputy chief medical officer for England said that the government was testing in care homes and prisons, where there have been outbreaks.

Meanwhile, Scotland’s chief medical officer Dr Catherine Calderwood resigned after reportedly visiting her second home in violation of social distancing measures in place to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

After apologising, she said the “justifiable” focus on her behaviour “risks becoming a distraction from the hugely important job that government and the medical profession has to do in getting the country through this coronavirus pandemic.”

Spain’s daily number of new infections falls for the third consecutive day
The number of new coronavirus cases recorded in Spain has dropped for a third day in a row, suggesting strict social distancing measures have begun to show their effects.

On Sunday, the Spanish Health Ministry said a further 6,023 people had tested positive for COVID-19.

This is a lower number than recorded on Saturday, when 7,026 new infections were announced, and on Friday, which had 7,472 new cases.

The number of deaths has also fallen for a second consecutive day – with 674 announced on Sunday, in comparison to the 809 announced the day before.

In a press briefing on Sunday, Maria Jose Sierra, from the Centre for Health Alerts and Emergencies, said “one in three” patients with coronavirus had now recovered, before laying the next steps of the “de-escalation” of the crisis.

She said the government’s goal would eventually move into a stage of testing everyone with symptoms of the virus, and confirmed that “serious” studying of the effectiveness of face masks was underway.

Relaxing lockdown measures not yet an option in Spain
Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez told citizens on Saturday that the country was finally “in a position to bend the curve”.

In a press conference, he announced an extension to the three-week lockdown – to April 25 – but warned that Spain was not yet out of the woods.

He said: “If the climb has been hard, let’s not fool ourselves, the descent will not be smoother.

“We are facing the great crisis of our lives.”

Spain’s total number of COVID-19 infections now sits at 130,759, while more than 12,000 people have lost their lives.

On Friday, it surpassed Italy to become the second worst virus-hit nation in the world – behind that of the United States.

Therefore, any consideration of relaxing stringent lockdown measures during this time “would have a worse result than returning to the starting point,” Sanchez said at the conference.

He added: “The victory that puts an end to it will only come with a vaccine that unfortunately will take a few months.”