Spain death toll tops 2,000 after 462 deaths in 24 hours: govt


Madrid, Mar 23: The coronavirus death toll in Spain surged to 2,182 after 462 people died within 24 hours, the health ministry said on Monday.

The death rate showed a 27-per cent increase on the figures released a day earlier, with the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 rising to 33,089 in Spain, one of the worst-hit countries in the world after China and Italy.

Despite an unprecedented national lockdown which was put in place on March 14, the number of deaths and infections have spiralled in Spain, with the figures growing as the country steps up its capacity for testing.

And the lockdown, which was initially put in place for two weeks, will be extended until April 11 to try to curb the spread, Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said — in a measure which will be put to parliament on Tuesday.

The rise in infections in this country of 46 million people has brought Spain’s healthcare system to the brink of collapse, particularly in Madrid, the worst-hit area, which has registered 10,575 cases, and where 1,263 people have died — accounting for 58 per cent of the national death toll.

Some 3,910 healthcare workers have tested positive for the virus, or around 12 percent of those infected, the health ministry’s emergencies coordinator Fernando Simon said.

Officials have repeatedly warned that the number of deaths and infections would continue to rise this week and that the worst was yet to come.

“We have yet to see the impact of the strongest, most damaging wave, which will test our material and moral capacities to the limit, as well as our spirit as a society,” Sanchez said on Sunday.

In terms of people who have recovered, government figures show there are currently 3,355 cases, just over 60 percent of whom are in Madrid. (AFP)