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Spain sees its highest number of coronavirus deaths in a day - 769 - as country's toll of fatalities rises by nearly a fifth to 4,858, but infection rate falls

Spain sees its highest number of coronavirus deaths in a day - 769 - as country's toll of fatalities rises by nearly a fifth to 4,858, but infection rate falls
  • Health ministry in Madrid said the number of deaths had reached 4,858 on Friday, an increase of 769
  • It comes after the death toll jumped by 655 on Thursday and went up by 738 deaths on Wednesday 
  • Spanish death toll now second only to Italy after surpassing China, although Beijing's numbers are dubious 
  • The number of people infected by coronavirus in Spain went up to 64,059, the fourth highest figure in world
  • Coronavirus symptoms: what are they and should you see a doctor?
The death toll in Spain soared to more than 4,800 today after 769 people died in 24 hours, its record one-day figure for fatalities, the government said.
Health ministry figures showed the number of deaths reaching 4,858, while cases jumped to 64,059, although the rate of new infections appeared to be slowing, registering a 14 percent increase compared with 18 percent a day earlier.
The death toll on Thursday was 655, while on Wednesday - the previous record - there were 738 deaths. Spain is the second worst-affected country by coronavirus, having surpassed China's death toll of 3,291 on Wednesday and now lags only behind Italy. 
'Today we have more deaths than registered yesterday, but it is also true that in percentage terms, today's increase is roughly equivalent to that of the past three days, in which we seem to see a clear stabilisation,' health emergency chief Fernando Simon told a news conference.
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Municipal workers wearing protective gear carry the coffin of a victim of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) at El Salvador cemetery in Vitoria, Spain on Friday
Municipal workers wearing protective gear carry the coffin of a victim of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) at El Salvador cemetery in Vitoria, Spain on Friday
The Spanish Air Force setting up an intensive care unit at the field hospital for coronavirus patients, enabled at Ifema Fair site in Madrid, Spain, on Friday
The Spanish Air Force setting up an intensive care unit at the field hospital for coronavirus patients, enabled at Ifema Fair site in Madrid, Spain, on Friday
Members of the medical staff of the Summa, Medical Emergency Service of Madrid, transfers a patient in a wheelchair to the Emergency Department at the 12 de Octubre hospital in Madrid
Members of the medical staff of the Summa, Medical Emergency Service of Madrid, transfers a patient in a wheelchair to the Emergency Department at the 12 de Octubre hospital in Madrid
The rise in the death toll in the previous 24 hours in percentage terms was about 19%, almost a fifth.
Spain is struggling to cope with the outbreak, with a Real Madrid soccer stadium being used as a medical supply store and a fairground in Madrid turned into a mass testing area.
Patients continue to stream into Spanish hospitals, where staff face a shortage of protective gear such as masks.
More than 9,400 health workers have tested positive for the virus, Simon said. That is about 15% of those infected in Spain.
Spain extended a nationwide lockdown on Thursday by a further 15 days to April 12 and said it was fighting a 'real war' over medical supplies to contain the death toll. It is turning to China, where the coronavirus originated, for many critical products.
Schools, bars, restaurants and shops selling non-essential items have been shut since March 14 and most of the population is house-bound as Spain tries to stop the virus spreading.  
On Wednesday, the number of medical personnel infected was nearly 6,500 nationally, health authorities said, representing 13.6 per cent of the country's total cases and about one per cent of the health system's workforce. At least three health care workers have died.
'We are collapsing. We need more workers,' said Lidia Perera, a nurse who works at Madrid's Hospital de la Paz, which has 1,000 beds.
Patricia Nunez, a 32-year-old nurse at the same hospital, is among those who have been infected. 
'The worst thing is that you need to stay at home, worried about infecting relatives, while knowing that you are dearly needed at work,' she said.  
Despite a national lockdown imposed on March 14, which parliament on Thursday agreed to extend until April 11, both deaths and infections have continued to mount, with officials warning this week would be particularly bad.
Health authorities are hoping it will soon become clear whether the lockdown is having the desired effect.
The Madrid region has suffered the brunt of the epidemic with 17,166 infections - just under a third of the total - and 2,090 deaths, or 51 percent of the national figure.
Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, whose wife is infected with the virus, has said this is the country's most difficult moment since its 1936-39 civil war.
'Only the oldest, who knew the hardships of the civil war and its aftermath, can remember collective situations that were harsher than the current one. 
Undertakers carry a coffin for a burial at a Barcelona cemetery during the coronavirus outbreak, Spain, Friday
Soldiers from the Medical Unit of the Aerial Deployment Unit setting up an intensive care unit at the field hospital in Madrid
A health worker tests a person for the COVID-19 coronavirus at the Casa de Campo in Madrid, Spain, Friday
 tests a person for the COVID-19 coronavirus at the Casa de Campo in Madrid, Spain, Friday
Even Queen Letizia has been forced to go into lockdown after coming into contact with a minister who has since tested positive for coronavirus.
Royal chronicler Pilar Eyre wrote in her blog for the magazine 'Lecturas' that, despite testing negative for the virus, Letizia has been separated from the rest of the royal household and is only receiving visits from nurses
The move is a precaution after she met Equality Minister Irene Montero on March 6.
Beds and screens are seen at the hospital prepared by parachutist sappers at the sports centre of the scientific campus of the University of Alcala, in the suburbs of Madrid on Friday
Beds are seen at the hospital prepared by parachutist sappers at the sports centre of the scientific campus of the University of Alcala on Friday
Sanitary material is seen atthe hospital prepared by parachutist sappers at the sports centre of the scientific campus of the University of Alcala
'Doctor Manuel Martinez Perez forced Letizia to go into lockdown and wear a mask and glove, eating from a tray and only receiving visits from a nurse,' Eyre wrote. 
Eyre also revealed that the queen had put pressure on King Felipe VI as she thought he should address citizens to show sympathy. 
King Felipe VI addressed Spanish citizens in a public speech on 18th March.People practice social distancing as they line up to buy supplies from a shop during the coronavirus outbreak in Barcelona

A member of the public wearing a protective face mask crosses an empty street in Barcelona on Friday afternoon

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