Spain records highest daily death toll from coronavirus

Spain has the world’s second-highest death toll after Italy, and has so far suffered 4,858 deaths, while the number of cases jumped to 64,059.

MADRID/ROME — Spain has witnessed a sharp rise in the number of deaths from coronavirus with 769 fatalities being reported in the last 24 hours, bringing the total number of deaths in the country to 4,800 on Friday.

Spain has the world’s second-highest death toll after Italy, and has so far suffered 4,858 deaths, while the number of cases jumped to 64,059.

Despite the spike in the number of cases, the rate of new infections seems to be slowing, marking a 14 percent increase compared with 18 percent on Thursday, and 20 percent on Wednesday.

The army has been deployed to deep clean hospitals and other facilities as well as some 900 nursing homes, where at least 1,517 deaths have reportedly been recorded.

Meanwhile, the health ministry said some 9,000 rapid diagnostic tests imported from China through a Spanish company had proved defective. It said the kits had European approval and their use had been suspended.

Spain implemented a stringent nationwide lockdown on March 14 which will not be lifted until at least April 11, with the latest figures raising hope that the measures to curb the virus were beginning to take effect.

Italy has so far suffered 8,165 deaths as a result of the epidemic with 80,539 people infected, according to AFP.

Until Thursday night, Italy had registered the largest number of declared cases until it was overtaken by the United States, where 85,991 people have now tested positive for the virus.

In neighboring France, Prime Minister Edouard Philippe raised the alarm over an "extremely high wave" of new infections, saying the epidemic that started in the east was now in the Paris region, the BBC reported.

Hospitals could reach saturation point around the capital within 24 to 48 hours, the Hospital Federation of France said. Some 1.2 million residents in the area have left in the past week, according to data analyzed by mobile phone company Orange.

The country had 29,155 confirmed cases and 1,696 deaths as of Thursday. — Agencies