It may not look like it, but things are improving very slowly in Spain amid the coronavirus pandemic - at least for now.

If this seems like a strange thing to say on the day that a record number of people die there - 950 in just 24 hours - that is because the way to tell if the lockdown is having any effect is to measure the rate of increase.

And that is down to single figures for new infections, 7.9% day on day.

Italy has seen a similar levelling off, and while the numbers are absolutely horrible - as one person put it, this is like three large airliners crashing in Spain all on the same day - if they are slowing then one day soon they could start to fall.

A view of a temporary field hospital set at Ifema convention and exhibition of in Madrid, Spain. Credit: AP


Spain now holds the unwanted title of the most deaths in a single day anywhere in Europe.

It also takes them over the psychological 10,000 barrier.

8,102 new infections were recorded, and that is perhaps the most encouraging figure as it does suggest the infection rate may be slowing.

Fernando Simón of the Spanish Ministry of Health said he believes the country may have reached the peak in the number of cases. "In some regions cases are already decreasing", he said. Let’s hope he’s right.

Workers move a coffin with the body of a victim of coronavirus at the at the Collserola morgue. Credit: AP


Italy has seen a very slight uptick in deaths, to 760, but the best news from there is that new infections are up just 3% on Wednesday.

Getting to the stage where new infections actually fall (and subsequently deaths too) may not be far away.


Germany continues to impress with its response to the crisis, announcing on Thursday that it has increased its intensive care capacity from 30,000 to 40,000 beds, with plenty of beds still available for coronavirus patients.

Currently only 2,000 or so beds are occupied by those with the virus. It is allowing Germany to offer another 100+ places for gravely ill patients from elsewhere in the EU.

Combined with its enormous testing programme, when this is over there may be may questions asked across the continent as to why Germany alone managed to avoid being overwhelmed.

Police officers ride horses to patrol the 'English Garden' in Munich. Credit: AP


Belgium has bowed to the inevitable and brought its football season officially to a close.

Club Brugge have been named Champions. Other qualifying and promotion/relegation places will be decided in due course.

Every league in Europe is going to have a to decide how to handle a truncated season, and Belgium has got out in front of that debate.

Coronavirus: Everything you need to know