The number of people who have died from coronavirus in Spain has overtaken China, officials announced.
Authorities today confirmed 738 new deaths as a result of the Covid-19 outbreak – bringing the overall number to 3,434.
The previous day the number stood at 2,696 – meaning it has overtaken the 3,285 who have died in mainland China.
Italy currently has the highest number of coronavirus deaths, with 6,820.
For the latest on the coronavirus pandemic, click here
Spain now has the second highest number of deaths in the world
A Madrid skating rink has been turned into a makeshift morgue, and dozens of elderly people have died in overwhelmed nursing homes across the country.
Spanish medical staff – who themselves account for thousands of infected cases – have taken out lawsuits against the government complaining of the lack of basic protective equipment, including masks, scrubs and gloves.
The situation is becoming catastrophic in Spain
The Spanish army has asked NATO for ventilators, protective gear and testing kits, Armed Forces Chief Miguel Villarroya said today.
Spain is on Day 11 of a 15-day nationwide lockdown, which is likely to be extended to 30 days.
Schools, bars, restaurants and most shops are shuttered, while social gatherings are banned and people are confined to their homes.
The ice rink at the Palacio de Hielo in Madrid has been turned into a temporary morgue
(Image: AFP via Getty Images)
The complex in Madrid begins to receive corpses for the Coronavirus to facilitate the work of the funeral services
(Image: GTres / SplashNews.com)
“We have achieved a near total reduction in social contact,” health emergency chief Fernando Simon told a news conference, adding that Spain was nearing the peak of the epidemic.
The number of coronavirus cases increased by a fifth to 47,610 on Wednesday.
In Madrid, authorities started to carry out mass testing for coronavirus in a requistioned fairground in a city park.
Spain has set up new controls at its borders
The lockdown has dealt a punishing blow to the Spanish economy, with tens of thousands of workers temporarily laid off.
The Bank of Spain said on Wednesday that there had been severe disruption on the economy since early March and a sharp contraction in consumer spending.