Spain has reportedly overtaken China in the death toll as it recorded 3,434 deaths amid the unprecedented lockdown to try and rein in the COVID-19 epidemic as it entered the 11th day of the outbreak and infected over 47,610 people, health ministry confirmed. At least 738 fatalities have been recorded in the past 24 hours.
According to the reports, the authorities in Spain ramped up testing as the number of cases depicted a 20 per cent increase on the figures as of March 25, while the death toll showed a 27 per cent spike. Despite the national lockdown imposed on March 14 in Italy, which has been extended until April 11, the fatalities and cases have continued to soar unabated. The officials have warned that the situation is expected to get worse in the weeks ahead.
The ministry’s emergency coordinator Fernando Simon said in a news conference that the country was approaching the peak. They further elaborated that it would be ascertained whether the lockdown was having the desired effect after the peak phase passed. With hospitals on the brink of collapse due to the surge in patients, the security forces have set up a massive field hospital in Madrid’s vast IFEMA exhibition center which currently has 1,500 beds, as per the reports. It could be expanded to take in up to 5,500 people — making it the largest hospital in Spain.
The country's head of medical emergencies, Dr Fernando Simon, reportedly said that he didn't want to sound positive, but noted the rate of increase over the two days was constant rather than escalating, an agency reported. Spain's Health Minister Salvador Illa was quoted saying that the authorities were stockpiling protection gear, breathing apparatus and quick COVID-19 tests in an attempt to prepare for the onslaught of new cases expected in the near future. Spanish authorities tell the public that staying home is the best way to beat the coronavirus pandemic, as per media reports.