Coronavirus: Italy and Spain deaths surge by more than 800 each in 24 hours

Tom Gillespie, news reporter
MOSTOLES, SPAIN - 2020/03/27: Hospital workers applaud during a Tribute to the essential health care workers at Hospital Universitario de Mostoles in Mostoles. This tribute is done every day at 20:00 in every city in Spain to thank the essential health care workers for fighting against Corona Virus (covid19). (Photo by Legan P. Mace/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

The number of people to have died after testing positive for coronavirus in Italy has gone up another 889, taking the death toll there to 10,023.

The man leading the battle against COVID-19 in Italy, Angelo Borrelli, said more than 70,000 patients have been recorded as having the disease. He said that more than 12,000 people have recovered.

The latest figures were released just a few hours after Spain said its toll had surged by 832 to 5,690.

A further 8,189 cases were detected in the country in the last 24 hours, bringing the total to 72,248.

Professor Julio Mayol, medical director at the Clinico San Carlos Hospital in Madrid, has told Sky News he fears more and more healthcare professionals fighting the illness will become infected.

He said: "It is a bad situation, it is really bad and it is getting worse day by day, because the number of positive COVID-19 patients is increasing.

"We have a large number of patients, and the problem is we can't increase the room available.

"We can provide them with more beds, but we need personal protection equipment (PPE), and there is a global shortage, and this is makes it very difficult for us to send healthcare workers to battle on the frontline without the adequate equipment."

Prof Mayol continued: "Secondly, healthcare professionals are getting infected. I estimate it could be as many as 25% in the near future if we don't do something.

"Right now two of my closest collaborators are COVID-19 positive, so it is becoming a nightmare.

"Many of our doctors have been admitted, even those fighting the virus.

"Nurses are also a major problem for us, especially those in the intensive care units.

"If we don't get the right personnel to handle these ICU patients, its going to be almost impossible to increase the number of ICU beds, because we won't have trained personnel to take care of our patients."

The rise in Spain came as German Chancellor Angela Merkel thanked people in her country for being largely compliant during the lockdown there.

The number of confirmed cases in Germany has continued to increase, with Ms Merkel's chief of staff saying the shutdown would not be eased before 20 April.

The German chancellor said in her weekly podcast: "When I see today how almost everyone has completely changed their behaviour, how the vast majority of you really do avoid any unnecessary contact, precisely because it can also contain a risk of infection, then I would simply like to say: thank you, thank you from the bottom of my heart."

Northern Cyprus reported its first death from the coronavirus on Saturday after a 67-year old German tourist died in hospital in Nicosia, according to Turkey's state-run Anadolu news agency.

The German man also suffered from the chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and high blood pressure, Anadolu said.

The agency, citing a government statement on Saturday, said the total number of cases in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) had risen to 61.

In Italy, which has the highest number of deaths in the world, Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte urged the European Union to launch a "recovery bond" to help fund the response to the coronavirus outbreak, saying failure to tackle the emergency would be a "tragic mistake" for the bloc.

In an interview with Italian daily Il Sole 24 Ore on Saturday, Mr Conte said a common debt instrument was needed to spearhead a European recovery and reinvestment plan to support the economy of the whole area.

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Meanwhile, in Finland police and assisting military forces and border guard officials have started to enforce a blockade of a key southern region that includes the Nordic nation's capital, Helsinki.

The exceptional order by Prime Minister Sanna Marin's government to block the movement of citizens into and out of Uusimaa entered into force on Saturday.

The region is home to some 1.7 million people, including Helsinki's 650,000 residents.

Albania's government has announced that people will have to apply for a permit to go out for necessities in the country.

Prime Minister Edi Rama said people can apply online or with a text message.

Only one person per family may go out.

Albania has reported 186 cases of coronavirus, with 10 deaths.

The coronavirus pandemic has affected more than half a million people worldwide, with more than 24,000 deaths recorded.