Coronavirus death toll in Spain overtakes China

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Coronavirus death toll in Spain overtakes China

Coronavirus death toll in Spain overtakes China
 A patient is transferred to a medicalised hotel in Madrid, Spain. Doctors and nurses have complained of a lack of basic protective equipment. Photograph: Bernat Armangué/AP

Spain has now reported more deaths due to coronavirus than China; 738 of the 3,434 deaths have been registered in the last 24 hours

Source: theguardian UK

Spain’s coronavirus death toll has overtaken China’s, climbing to 3,434, while a slowdown in the rate of new infections in Italy has raised hopes that the peak of its outbreak could be within sight.

After more than a week in lockdown in Spain, another 738 people died over 24 hours, but officials expressed hope that the daily rise in deaths might be stabilising. “If we are not already at the peak, we are very close,” said Fernando Simón, the head of Spain’s health emergency centre.

Italy remains the centre of the crisis with a total of 6,820 deaths – more than double the number documented in China. The death toll in Italy rose by 743 on Tuesday, dampening hopes that a slowdown in the rate of deaths on Sunday and Monday would become a trend. However, the rate of new infections slowed for a third consecutive day, rising by 3,612, compared with 3,780 on Monday.

“This is an extremely positive factor,” said Ranieri Guerra, from the World Health Organization. “In some regions we are close to the falling point of the curve and therefore probably the peak could be reached this week and then fall,” he told Radio Capital. “I believe that this week and the first days of the next will be crucial.”

Police officers check people coming back from a shopping trip in the village of Herculaneum, Italy. Photograph: Ciro de Luca/Reuters
Police officers check people coming back from a shopping trip in the village of Herculaneum, Italy. Photograph: Ciro de Luca/Reuters

n Spain, healthcare workers account for nearly 14% of the country’s 47,610 cases, officials say. Amid reports of overwhelmed emergency wards, doctors and nurses have complained of a lack of basic protective equipment that has forced them to ration crucial supplies and craft protective shields out of plastic bags.Advertisement

Two unions representing doctors have filed lawsuits aimed at forcing the regional health authority and the Spanish government to deliver scrubs, masks and goggles to hospitals and other health centres.

Nato said on Tuesday that Spain had asked it for medical supplies, requesting items including 450,000 respirators, 500,000 testing kits and 1.5m surgical masks.

Germany and France have faced criticism over export bans on products such as masks and goggles. The EU is expected to sign off on a “more ambitious and wide-ranging crisis management system” that will include a plea for the lifting of such bans.

Around the world, the number of confirmed coronavirus cases has climbed to more than 423,000. Among the latest to test positive is Prince Charles, who is showing mild symptoms, according to a spokesperson for Clarence House.

The true number of global cases is likely to be much higher. Officials in Spanish regions such as Madrid and Catalonia initially dealt with a shortage of testing resources by asking people with mild symptoms to simply self-isolate, while Italy’s top coronavirus response official, Angelo Borrelli, has suggested the real number of infections there is probably 10 times higher than the official count.

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