Spain’s deaths number from the coronavirus has surpassed the official figure from China, becoming the second highest in the world.
The death toll has risen by 738 in just 24 hours to a total of 3,434 – a record spike for Spain.
In comparison, China has officially reported 3,285 deaths, while Italy – the worst affected country – has 6,820.
Spain’s PM Pedro Sánchez will later ask lawmakers to extend his country’s state of emergency for another two weeks.
Lawmakers are expected to agree to the prime minister’s request for lockdown measures to stay in place until April 11. Under the rules, people are banned from leaving home except for buying essential supplies and medicines, or for work.
According to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University, globally there are nearly 440,000 cases of the virus, with deaths approaching 20,000 and more than 100,000 people having recovered.
On March 25, the UN said the virus was “threatening the whole of humanity” as it launched a $2 billion appeal for the world’s poorest people.
UN Secretary-General António Guterres said: “Global action and solidarity are crucial. Individual country responses are not going to be enough.”
On March 25, figures released by the health ministry show that in just 24 hours, Spain’s national death toll rose by 738. The country’s number of cases soared by 7,973.
These are the highest figures for Spain in a single day. Spain now has 47,610 confirmed cases. Catalonia accounts for close to 10,000 of those, while the Basque Country and Andalusia both have more than 3,000 cases. However, the worst affected region is the area around the capital Madrid, which has recorded 14,597 cases.
California is, nonetheless, one of the main centers of the coronavirus in the US, and the state’s Governor Gavin Newsom has issued an order covering virtually the entire population of 40 million people.
Speaking from the state’s emergency operations centre in Sacramento – a place that is normally used to coordinate the response to wildfires or earthquakes – Governor Newsom called on people here to only leave their homes if it was absolutely necessary, to get food, collect medicines, or care for a friend or relative.
Citing a model that state planners here have been using, the governor predicted that more than half of California’s population will contract the virus over the course of the next eight weeks – a staggering total of around 25 million people.
Governor Newsom said that cases of the virus were doubling every four hours in some areas, and – based on projections – nearly 20,000 more hospital beds would be needed to deal with the effects of the outbreak than the state could currently provide.
He is asking Congress for a billion dollars in federal funding to support California’s response to the crisis, and calling for a navy hospital ship to be deployed to the Port of Los Angeles to help deal with the anticipated surge in patients.
Italy’s coronavirus death toll has soared to 366, with 133 deaths in just one, officials say.
According to the Civil Protection agency, the total number of infections leapt 25% to 7,375 from 5,883.
The jump in figures comes as millions adapt to radical measures introduced on March 8 in an attempt to contain the outbreak.
Under new quarantine rules, up to 16 million people in Lombardy and 14 provinces need special permission to travel.
PM Giuseppe Conte also announced the closure of schools, gyms, museums, nightclubs and other venues across the whole country.
The restrictions will last until April 3.
The latest figures mean Italy now has the highest number of confirmed infections outside China, where the outbreak originated in December. The outbreak has overtaken South Korea, where the total number of cases is 7,313.
Among the latest people to test positive in Italy is the army’s chief of staff. Salvatore Farina said he felt well and was self-isolating.
The strict new quarantine measures affect a quarter of the Italian population and center on the rich northern part of the country that powers its economy.
The health system is under immense strain in Lombardy, a northern region of 10 million people, where people are being treated in hospital corridors.
Prime Minister Conte said as he announced the measures on March 8: “We want to guarantee the health of our citizens. We understand that these measures will impose sacrifices, sometimes small and sometimes very big.”
Under the new measures, people are not supposed to be able to enter or leave Lombardy, where Milan is the main city.
The same restrictions apply to 14 provinces: Modena, Parma, Piacenza, Reggio Emilia, Rimini, Pesaro and Urbino, Alessandria, Asti, Novara, Verbano Cusio Ossola, Vercelli, Padua, Treviso and Venice.
Some transport in and out of the regions affected continued on March 8. Flights still arrived at Milan’s Malpensa and Linate airports, though some scheduled flights were canceled.
However, Italy’s national carrier Alitalia said it would suspend all operations from Malpensa from March 9 and Linate would only serve domestic routes. International flights would continue to and from Rome. The WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus praised Italy for making “genuine sacrifices” with the restrictions. Until March 8 only about 50,000 people in northern Italy had been affected by quarantines.
The number of infections worldwide is more than 107,000, with about 3,600 deaths.
Most of the fatalities have been in China. However, the country reported on March 8 its lowest number of new infections in a single day since January – an indication that the virus’s spread there is slowing.
Iran, one of the worst hotspots outside China, has now confirmed 6,566 infections and 194 deaths.
However, the real figure is feared to be much higher. One report on March 8, quoting a government envoy, said there had been 200 deaths in the northern Gilan province alone – but the figures were later removed.