2020欧洲杯小组赛赛程

Spain overtakes China as coronavirus death toll surges to 3,434

In Spain, 738 people have died over past 24 hours with health service in meltdown

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Medical workers wearing face masks stand at a window in Hospital La Paz, Madrid
Medical workers wearing face masks stand at a window in Hospital La Paz, Madrid

More people have now died of Covid-19 in Spain than China, making the Spanish coronavirus outbreak the second deadliest in the world behind Italy.

Spanish health authorities announced another record in terms of fatalities on Wednesday morning, with 738 people having died from the virus in the past 24 hours, taking the country’s death toll to 3,434.

China has reported 3,163 deaths, while Italy’s toll has reached 6,820.

2020欧洲杯小组赛赛程Spain has been locked down, with people only allowed out of their homes to work or buy essential supplies since March 15, but the spiral of contagion and death has continued.

2020欧洲杯小组赛赛程On Wednesday, Spain reached 47,610 confirmed cases of Covid-19 infection, up from 7,753 when a state of emergency was declared.

The news came as further cases of mass fatalities in old people's centres came to light2020欧洲杯小组赛赛程, including the reported death of 21 residents and two nuns at the Santísima Virgen y San Celodonio residence in Madrid. An army unit had been dispatched to offer emergency assistance and disinfect the premises.

2020欧洲杯小组赛赛程Fernando Simón, the head of Spain's centre for health emergencies, said on Wednesday that the grim data in terms of deaths came along with signs that the lockdown measures are slowing the rate of contagion.

"The number of deaths is growing but the percentage rate of increase has stabilised at around 20 per cent compared to the previous day," he told a news conference.

"If we haven’t reached the peak yet, then we are very close to it," he added before insisting that, even after the number of cases levels off, it will be vital to maintain policies aimed at containing contagion.

"Reaching the maximum number of cases and not continuing to implement these measures would be a mistake because it is easy to start going up again," he said.

Madrid, which has seen hospitals struggle to cope with the number of coronavirus patients and hotels and a conference centre being turned into field hospitals, remains Spain's worst-affected region, with 14,597 confirmed cases and 1,825 dead.

Many of the bodies are being kept in an ice rink after funerary services were overwhelmed.

2020欧洲杯小组赛赛程But other regions are now seeing the illness spread at a faster rate, with Catalonia reporting a 42 per cent rise in the number of patients in intensive care in 24 hours as it approaches 10,000 cases, with 516 dead.

In response, the Catalan regional government is setting up four field hospitals in sports arenas in the Barcelona area.

Spanish health workers have complained that they are not prepared for the extent of the crisis, and more than 5,000 doctors and nurses have been infected with Covid-19 – representing close to 10 per cent of all cases.

Shortages of hospital equipment have led to rows between regional governments and the national administration, which has centralised overall responsibility for health during the crisis.

On Wednesday a court in Madrid gave health authorities a deadline of 24 hours to supply all personnel with adequate protective clothing against the virus.