The novel coronavirus continues to ravage Spain, with the number of cases climbing by 6,500 in the past 24 hours to 40,000, and the death toll from the disease now topping 2,700.
That means 500 virus-related deaths had occurred in that time frame, Spain’s Health Ministry said in its daily update on Tuesday.
Of those infected 5,400 were medical staff, the ministry said, a figure representing 13 per cent of the country’s total cases.
FERNANDO SIMON, Head of Spain’s Health Alert and Emergency Coordination Centre (CCAES), advised caution when interpreting the numbers and said the “seven-to-ten-day” incubation phase of the virus would cause a time lag in the spike in cases.
Spain was experiencing a “hard week”, Simon added.
“Whether the very strict measures to contain the crisis are effective and we reach the peak, we will know in the next days, maybe tomorrow already, maybe Thursday or Friday.”
Madrid remains the epicentre of the country’s coronavirus outbreak with more than 12,300 recorded cases and 1,500 virus-related deaths.
Catalonia was next worst-hit, with 8,000 cases and just under 300 deaths.
Spanish authorities hoped the country would reach the peak of the outbreak this week, which would mean that wide-reaching limitations on freedom of movement for 47 million residents had begun to take effect.
Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez will on Wednesday ask parliament to approve an extension of Spain’s state of emergency for another two weeks until April 11.