Spain has recorded 3,434 deaths from coronavirus, the health ministry announced Wednesday – making it the country with the second highest death toll in the world.
That’s an increase of over 27% on Tuesday’s figures. The country now has 47,610 cases in total.
Spain’s armed forces on Tuesday asked NATO for humanitarian assistance to fight the novel coronavirus as both deaths and infections have continued to mount.
Like many other countries, Spain has been struggling with a lack of medical supplies for testing, treatment and the protection of frontline workers.
In a statement, NATO said Spain’s military had asked for “international assistance”, seeking medical supplies to help curb the spread of the virus both in the military and in the civilian population.
The request specified 450,000 respirators, 500,000 rapid testing kits, 500 ventilators and 1.5 million surgical masks.
In China, where the outbreak began, 3,281 people have died, according to its National Health Commission.
Italy has the highest death toll in the world at 6,820, according to figures from Johns Hopkins University.
A top Spanish health official, Fernando Simon, said Wednesday that he expects the number of Covid-19 cases to continue increasing in the coming days, despite having said earlier this week that he expected infections to peak soon.
Madrid region’s top health official, Enrique Ruiz Escudero, said the crisis was “unprecedented in the history of Spain’s national health service”, suggesting it was likely that the lockdown would extend beyond Easter.
With the city’s funeral services overwhelmed, Madrid officials have commandeered the Palacio de Hielo ice skating rink to serve as a temporary morgue.
“We don’t have the logistical capacity to carry out all the burials and cremations at the rate at which people are dying,” Madrid’s mayor Jose Luis Martinez-Almeida told TVE public television.
The Spanish capital has also transformed part of a giant exhibition centre into a field hospital with 1,500 beds which could be expanded take in up to 5,500 patients.