Once again, Spain hit a new record with 849 COVID-19 deaths in 24 hours on Tuesday although health chiefs said the rate of new infections was continuing its downward trend.
After Italy, Spain has suffered the world’s second most deadly outbreak, which has now claimed 8,189 lives there. The latest figures came a day after the death toll fell slightly, dampening hopes it could have passed the peak of the crisis.
Over the same period, the number of confirmed cases rose to 94,417 after another 9,222 people tested positive: a nearly 11% increase.
That figure was seen as a setback after a week, in which the rate had been steadily failing, with Monday’s figures having shown a rise of just over 8%.
“It’s true that today we have a slight increase in the number of cases,” said Maria Jose Sierra, from the health ministry’s emergencies coordination unit. But the downward trend “is continuing”, she added.
This time last week, the rate of new infections stood at around 20%.
Now on day 18 of an unprecedented four-week national lockdown to slow the spread of the virus, Spain has sought to dramatically ramp up testing. It is sourcing kits from around the world in order to test some 50,000 people per day, up from the current 20,000.
Meanwhile, Italy marked a minute of silence and flew flags at half mast on Tuesday to mourn the 11,591 people who have died.
The death toll in Italy has climbed by 837 to 12,428, the Civil Protection Agency has said.