Spain's coronavirus death toll overtakes China as more than 700 die in a day

Spain's coronavirus death toll has surpassed China after more than 700 people died in a single day.

At least 738 people in Spain died within the last day, pushing the total to 3,434 overall and past China’s 3,285.

Spain is the second worst hit nation after Italy, as infections rose by 20 per cent to 47,610, and more than 5,000 people have recovered, the Ministry of Health said.

A patient is transferred to a medicalised hotel during the COVID-19 outbreak in Madrid, Spain. Credit: AP

Fernando Simón, head of Spain’s health emergency coordination centre, said he hoped the numbers would peak soon.

“If we are not already at the peak, we are very close,” he said. “I cannot say that we have reached it.”

Even once the numbers crest, it would be “counterproductive” to think about relaxing restrictions anytime soon, he added.

Spain’s elderly are among the most vulnerable to Covid-19.

Undertakers carry a coffin of a person who died of COVID-19 at a cemetery in Leganes, Spain. Credit: AP

Prosecutors are investigating several care homes after military troops disinfecting them discovered elderly people living among suspected coronavirus victims who had died.

Spanish media reported that 23 residents from a Madrid retirement home had died of coronavirus or had symptoms related to the disease.

Its management released a statement saying it had been pleading for more staff and supplies, including virus tests, after 55 of its workers had been forced to take medical leave.

National police also arrested two people in southern Spain on Tuesday for throwing stones and other debris at a convoy of ambulances and police vehicles as 28 elderly people were being transferred from a nursing home with a high number of infections to another facility in their town.

With its health system overwhelmed, Spanish hotels have been converted into hospitals and a Madrid ice rink is being used as a temporary morgue. Lawmakers were set to extend the country’s lockdown for two more weeks, to April 12.

Police have converted an ice rink into a makeshift hospital to help ease the load on medical professionals. Credit: AP

Italy remains the hardest-hit country affected by coronavirus, with more than 69,000 infections and 6,800 deaths.

Authorities are investigating whether a Champions League game in Milan escalated the number of cases which has overwhelmed Italian hospitals.

Italian doctors are being forced to choose who will receive desperately needed ventilators and who won’t.

In Germany, parliament was set to approve a series of measures which will allow the government to offer aid totalling more than 1 trillion euros (£914,850,000,000) for the country of 83 million people.

Coronavirus: Everything you need to know