Coronavirus: Spain surpasses China as death toll reaches 3,434

Madrid: Spain’s coronavirus death toll surpasses China as another 738 people have died due to novel virus, pushing Spain’s tally to 3,434 casualties.

Spain reported 738 new deaths in one day on Wednesday March 25.

The latest figures come as Spain entered the 11th day of an unprecedented lockdown to try and rein in the deadly coronavirus outbreak that has now infected 47,610 people.

Spain´s armed forces asked NATO for humanitarian assistance and have stated a requirement of 450,000 respirators, 500,000 rapid testing kits, 500 ventilators and 1.5 million surgical masks, to secure supplies to help curb the spread of the virus both in the military and in the civilian population.

Spain has an efficient primary care system, but its hospitals have been hit by a decade of austerity since the financial crisis. It has only a third of the hospital beds per capita that are provided by Austria or Germany. Yet that is still more than the UK, New Zealand or the US.

Salvador Illa, Spanish Health Minister has announced that the country has reached an agreement with China to tackle the shortage of necessary medical equipment and supplies to deal with the virus outbreak in the country.

The deal is worth US$ $467 million and includes 550 million masks, 5.5 million rapid test kits, 950 respirators and 11 million pairs of gloves.

Spanish hospitals and funeral services have been overwhelmed and are on the brink of collapse. Troops have set up a massive field hospital in Madrid s vast IFEMA exhibition centre which currently has 1,500 beds but which could be expanded to take in up to 5,500 people, making it the largest hospital in Spain. Additionally, officials have commandeered the Palacio de Hielo ice skating rink to serve as a temporary morgue.

Officials hope that it will soon become evident whether the lockdown is having the desired effect.