SPAIN’S coronavirus death toll overtook that of China on Wednesday, rising to 3,434 after 738 people died over the past 24 hours, the Government said. Across the world, only Italy now has a higher death toll than that of Spain. In China, where the virus emerged late last year, 3,281 people have died. The spiralling number of deaths came as Spain entered the 11th day of an unprecedented lockdown to try and rein in the COVID-19 epidemic that has now infected 47,610 people, the Health Ministry said.
As the authorities stepped up testing, the number of cases showed a 20 per cent increase on the figures for Tuesday, while the death toll showed a 27 per cent rise over the same period. Despite the national lockdown imposed on March 14, which is to be extended until April 11, both deaths and infections have continued to mount, with officials warning this week would be particularly bad.
“We are approaching the peak,” the ministry’s emergencies coordinator Fernando Simon said in announcing the figures. Health authorities are hoping it will soon become clear whether the lockdown is having the desired effect.