Spain’s death toll surged over 40,000 on Wednesday with infections passing the 1.4 million mark, while the rate of new cases continued to grow, health ministry data showed.
With 349 people dying in the past 24 hours, the death toll now stands at 40,105 in Spain, which has the fourth-highest death rate within the European Union after the United Kingdom, France and Italy.
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Spain passed the grim landmark a day after logging 411 deaths, the highest daily death toll of the second wave.
Over the past 24 hours, health authorities also registered more than 19,000 new cases, bringing the overall number of people infected to 1,417,709, the second-highest figure within the EU after France
Pressure on hospitals is increasing with around a third -- 31.78 percent -- of all intensive care beds taken up by COVID-19 patients.
Despite the figures, top health official Fernando Simon said Tuesday said there were signs of a “clear stabilization” in the figures as a result of the restrictions.
In Europe, which has suffered more than 317,525 deaths from nearly 13,330,000 infections, many countries are struggling with a surging second wave.
Despite its high caseload, Spain has been slow to follow the example of other European nations which have imposed new lockdowns to try and curb spiraling cases.
Britain, France and several other countries have all recently re-imposed lockdowns as the virus that first emerged in China at the end of 2019 shows no sign of abating, while other European nations like Portugal have entered partial lockdowns.
Until now, Spain has resisted, with the government hoping a national night-time curfew and other restrictions put in place by its regional authorities who are responsible for managing the pandemic, would be enough to slow the rate of infection.
Since it first emerged in China late last year, the virus has now claimed at least 1,275,113 lives worldwide and infected more than 51,000,000 people, according to an AFP tally based on official sources.
The US is the worst-affected country with 239,695 deaths, followed by Brazil with 162,829, India with 127,571, Mexico with 95,842 and the United Kingdom with 49,770 deaths.
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