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Medical staff from La Princesa hospital react as neighbours applaud from their balconies in support for healthcare workers, amid the Covid-19 outbreak in Madrid, Spain, on Sunday. [Reuters]

The number of new cases and deaths continued to fall in Spain and Italy.

Coronavirus-stricken Europe breathed a sigh of relief yesterday, as Italy reported its lowest single-day deaths in nearly three weeks and Spain saw continued fall in new cases and deaths.

Between Saturday and Sunday, the coronavirus death toll in Italy was 525, the lowest one-day total since March 19, when Covid-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, claimed 427 lives.

The country registered its one-day high of 969 fatalities on March 27.

The death toll has decreased in five of nine days since then. Still, the pandemic has now resulted in 15,887 deaths, more than in any other country.

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"We cannot let our guard down, but the trend is positive," Angelo Borrelli, the head of Italy's Civil Protection Department, said on Sunday.

The number of new cases and new deaths continued to fall in Spain, according to the daily data published by Spain's health ministry.

A total of 6,023 new infections were registered between Saturday and Sunday, fewer than the 7,026 new cases in the previous 24 hours and 7,472 between Thursday and Friday, bringing the country's total infection cases to 130,759.

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said the continued fall in the number of new cases showed that the lockdown imposed on Spain and other measures were "giving their reward but that Spain needed "to maintain the same discipline and the same tenacity".

For the first time since the start of the pandemic in Belgium, the daily number of people cured overtook that of people hospitalised.

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The public health institute Sciensano, in charge of monitoring and analysing the Covid-19 data, reported that between Sunday and Monday, 499 Covid-19 patients had been hospitalised while 504 people had left the hospital.

Belgium now has about 20,000 confirmed cases.

Meanwhile, British Queen Elizabeth II, in a rare broadcast on Sunday night, spoke about the coronavirus pandemic and her hope that people will take pride in how they responded to the crisis.

She said better days will return and Britain will succeed in the fight against coronavirus.

In the short speech meant to lift the nation's spirits, the 93-year-old monarch said: "I am speaking to you at what I know is an increasingly challenging time."

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Other than her annual Christmas Day speech, the British monarch has only previously made four speeches during periods of crisis or grief in her near 70-year reign.

She spoke of a time of disruption in the life of the country, a disruption that has brought grief to some, financial difficulties to many, and enormous changes to the daily lives of all people. 

Her brief message continued: "I hope in the years to come everyone will be able to take pride in how they responded to this challenge. And those who come after us will say that the Britons of this generation were as strong as any."

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