Coronavirus: Spain records 864 deaths in one day with cases passing 100,000

1 April 2020, 20:17

The UME (Military Emergency Unit) working on the Catalonia indoor athletics track that will become as a field hospital for 300 patients of coronavirus
The UME (Military Emergency Unit) working on the Catalonia indoor athletics track that will become as a field hospital for 300 patients of coronavirus. Picture: PA

By Tobi Akingbade

Spain has reported a new record of 864 deaths in one day while total infections broke the 100,000 mark.

It is now the third country to surpass that milestone after the United States and Italy.

Spanish health authorities said on Wednesday that the total number of deaths has now reached 9,053 since the beginning of the outbreak.

Total infections hit 102,136. But the 24-hour increase of 7,719 was 1,500 fewer than the increase from the previous day, offering hope that the contagion rate is stabilising.

The nation is now two-and-a-half weeks into a national lockdown with stay-at-home rules for all workers except those in health care, food production and distribution, and other essential industries.

Soldiers in Turkey prepare to load a military cargo plane with Personal Protection Equipment heading to Italy and Spain
Soldiers in Turkey prepare to load a military cargo plane with Personal Protection Equipment heading to Italy and Spain. Picture: PA

Spain is frantically working to add to the number of intensive care units in hospitals which are quickly filling up in the country's hardest-hit regions.

Spanish authorities are bringing into the country 1,500 purchased ventilator machines and asking local manufacturers to ramp up production, with some creative solutions employed, such as snorkelling masks repurposed as breathing masks.

Meanwhile, in the UK, London is just days from unveiling a 4,000-bed temporary hospital built in a massive convention centre to take non-critical patients so British hospitals can keep ahead of an expected surge in demand.

Britain still has some free ICU beds available, but the outbreak is likely weeks away from its peak there and the UK has one of the lowest number of hospital beds per capita in Europe.

The new hospital inside London’s Excel centre plans to admit its first patients at the end of this week. Chief operating officer Natalie Forrest warned that it will need thousands of doctors, nurses and volunteers.

A look around the NHS Nightingale Hospital - London's new coronavirus centre

This comes as the Department of Health also said that, as of 9am on April 1, a total of 152,979 people have been tested of which 29,474 tested positive in the UK.

Some 2,352 patients had died in hospital after testing positive for the virus as of 5pm on Tuesday, the Department of Health said, up by 563 from 1,789 the day before.

It comes as Downing Street said more than 2,000 NHS staff have been tested for coronavirus as the Government faces intense scrutiny over its policy on testing.

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