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Coronavirus news: global death toll passes 20,000, as Spain overtakes China as second worst-hit country

  • Coronavirus news: global death toll passes 20,000, as Spain overtakes China as second worst-hit country
    Spain records 738 deaths in past 24 hours, while death toll in Italy now double that of Hubei. Coronavirus news: global death toll passes 20,000, as Spain overtakes China as second worst-hit country
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Number of global deaths as a result of Covid-19 passes 20,000. The total number of confirmed cases has passed 450,000.
Coronavirus death toll in Spain overtakes China. Spain records 738 deaths in past 24 hours, while death toll in Italy now double that of Hubei.

Spain’s coronavirus death toll has overtaken China’s, climbing to 3,434, while a slowdown in the rate of new infections in Italy has raised hopes that the peak of its outbreak could be within sight.

After more than a week in lockdown in Spain, another 738 people died over 24 hours, but officials expressed hope that the daily rise in deaths might be stabilising. “If we are not already at the peak, we are very close,” said Fernando Simón, the head of Spain’s health emergency centre.

Among the country’s newest confirmed cases is the deputy prime minister, Carmen Calvo, who was taken to hospital on Sunday with a respiratory infection. The latest to die include two doctors who had been on the frontlines of the pandemic.

Italy remains the centre of the crisis with a total of 7,503 deaths – more than double the number documented in China. The death toll in Italy rose by 683 on Wednesday, a decline in the daily rate following a spike the day before. The rate of new infections slowed for a fourth consecutive day, rising by 3,491 compared with 3,612 on Tuesday.

“This is an extremely positive factor,” said Ranieri Guerra, from the World Health Organization, of the slowing infection rate. “In some regions we are close to the falling point of the curve and therefore probably the peak could be reached this week and then fall,” he told Radio Capital. “I believe that this week and the first days of the next will be crucial.”