Health, Europe, Latest on coronavirus outbreak

COVID-19: Spain surpasses China’s death toll

Over last 24-hours, country reported 738 deaths, raising death toll to 3,434, confirmed nearly 8,000 new cases

Alyssa McMurtry   | 25.03.2020
COVID-19: Spain surpasses China’s death toll

OVIEDO, Spain 

With 3,434 deaths, Spain overtook China in terms of the number of mortal victims from COVID-19, according to official data released by the country's Health Ministry on Wednesday.

In a 24-hour period, 738 people died and the total number of confirmed cases surged by nearly 8,000, hitting 47,610.

Spain also has one of the highest proportion of healthcare workers affected by coronavirus, with over 5,400 confirmed cases, according to data from Tuesday.

A doctor in Salamanca on Tuesday died from COVID-19, and healthcare workers across the country continue to report shortages of protective equipment and lack of tests.

Spain has asked NATO for urgent help with material, requesting 1.5 million surgical masks, 150,000 protective suits and 450,000 ventilators.

On Tuesday, the government also announced it would be incorporating fast tests that detect antibodies.

Hospitals in Madrid are reporting overflowing emergency rooms. Tuesday night, in the Severo Ochoa Hospital, 313 patients went to the emergency room causing it to overflow with COVID-19 patients waiting to be admitted.

“Three people have died in the emergency room. We don’t have room. We’re all crammed together,” Jesus Medina, one of the doctors working the shift, told Telemadrid.

In a press conference on Tuesday, Spanish interior minister said nearly 1,000 people have been arrested and 102,000 police complaints have been filed against people breaking the country's lockdown rules. He also noted several cases of infected patients fleeing hospitals.

In Spain, people are not allowed to leave their homes for anything but to perform essential tasks.

Even so, opposition political parties are pushing the government to adopt tougher measures like closing all non-essential economic activity, such as construction, and stopping all public transport.

After first appearing in Wuhan, China last December, the novel coronavirus has spread to at least 170 countries and territories. The World Health Organization has declared the outbreak a pandemic.

The number of confirmed cases worldwide has now surpassed 428,400 while the death toll is over 19,000 and almost 110,000 have recovered, according to data compiled by the U.S.-based Johns Hopkins University.

Despite the rising number of cases, most who contract the virus suffer only mild symptoms before making a recovery.

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