Spain's coronavirus death toll surpasses 4,000

Mortuary employees wearing face masks wheel a coffin into the crematorium of La Almudena cemetery in Madrid on March 24, 2020 during the funeral of a COVID-19 coronavirus victim. (AFP Photo)

The coronavirus death toll in Spain surged to 4,089 after 655 people died within 24 hours, the health ministry said on Thursday.

It was a 19 percent increase on figures released on Wednesday. The number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 rose to 56,188 in Spain, which has the world's second highest death toll from the disease after Italy.

Since yesterday, the death toll jumped by 655 and the number of confirmed cases rose by 8,578. Yesterday, Spain surpassed China in the total number of deaths.

With 738 deaths on Wednesday, Spain also registered more deaths in one day than Italy. While Thursday's numbers show a slight drop in fatalities compared to Wednesday, experts do not expect the peak in deaths to occur for weeks.

In total, 7,015 patients with COVID-19 in Spain have recovered. Over 3,600 are currently in intensive care units.

Madrid has been the worst-hit area so far with over 2,000 deaths and 17,000 cases. The region has seen hospitals and funeral services overflowing. As a response, Spain's capital city has rapidly erected a makeshift hospital -- now the largest in Spain - in a convention center, and has begun to use a skating rink as a morgue.

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