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.

It comes a day after Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez told citizens 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 – and 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.”