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article imageSpain's virus death toll shoots past 1,300

By AFP     Mar 21, 2020 in World

Spain on Saturday reported a 32 percent spike in new deaths from the coronavirus, bringing the country total to 1,326 fatalities, the second highest in Europe after Italy.

The number of infections across the country also shot up to 24,926, the health ministry said in a statement.

The capital Madrid remains the hardest hit in the country, according to the tally reported by the ministry.

"The cases are rising and are going to continue to rise in the coming days," ministry spokeswoman Maria Jose Sierra told journalists.

Nobody knew when the outbreak in Spain would peak, she added.

Those who had died were mainly people over 70 and particularly the over-80s, she said.

"Nearly 70 percent of patients placed in intensive care units are more than 60 years old," she added.

COVID-19 in Spain
COVID-19 in Spain

Nevertheless, between one and two percent of those hospitalised were under 20 years old.

The new numbers follow a fresh spike in both deaths and infections on Friday.

Spain has issued lockdown orders for some 46 million people who are only permitted to leave their homes for essential work, food shopping, medical reasons or to walk the dog.

Around 2,800 soldiers have been mobilised to disinfect train stations and airports and to bring help to elderly, vulnerable people, said General Miguel Villarroya, chief of the defence staff.

Officials have distributed hundreds of thousands of surgical masks, adapted hotels to treat the sick and produced hundreds of thousands of test kits.

Italy is Europe's worst affected country in terms of death toll, followed by Spain and France.

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