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NEWS / Coronavirus

Spain's deaths pass 9,000 as infection rate slows

Spain has recorded another 864 deaths related to coronavirus, the highest in one day, as the total number of deaths across Europe has gone beyond 30,000.

More than 9,000 people have died in Spain, which is second only to Italy in fatalities caused by the virus.

Confirmed cases in the country have passed 100,000, but numbers show the infection rate continues to fall.

UN Secretary General António Guterres said the pandemic was the world's biggest challenge since World War Two.

The warning comes amid dire predictions about the possible economic impact of measures imposed to fight the virus. A UN report estimates that up to 25 million jobs could be lost around the world as the result of the outbreak.

The number of confirmed cases globally is now over 870,000, with more than 43,000 deaths, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University in the US.

Wednesday's number of deaths in Spain was marginally higher than the 849 announced the day before, and the country has now seen more than 800 deaths for five days in a row. But health officials believe the latest 12% increase in daily infections is further evidence that the rate has stabilised.

Spain has been in lockdown for over two weeks, with further restrictions on movement introduced two days ago. But health services in the hardest-hit areas, including Madrid and Catalonia, are still struggling, with shortages of medical equipment a particular problem.

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