Spanish authorities said 514 people died from the new COVID-19 disease overnight, raising the country’s death toll to 2,696.
The new deaths marked a 23.5 percent increase in 24 hours.
The disease is caused by the new coronavirus, which The Epoch Times refers to as the CCP virus because the Chinese Communist Party’s coverup and mishandling allowed the virus to spread throughout China and create a global pandemic.
Spain also reported a sharp increase in the number of COVID-19 infections.
Officials said they were conducting more testing, leading to a nearly 20 percent increase in confirmed cases. That total now stands at 39,673.
Of those still alive, 2,636 are being cared for in intensive care units while another 3,794 have recovered, Spain’s Ministry of Health said.
Madrid and nearby areas have over 12,000 of the cases and saw an increase of 1,777 in the last 24 hours, while Catalonia saw the biggest increase, a rise of 1,939 cases.
Spain has the second-highest number of cases in Europe behind Italy. Deaths in Spain are still less than half compared to Italy.
Italian authorities have reported 6,077 deaths as of Tuesday.
China, where the virus started last year, has officially reported over 81,000 cases and thousands of deaths, but internal documents obtained by The Epoch Times show the outbreak there was more serious than reported.
The United States has the third-highest number of cases in the world with over 46,000 but has a low mortality rate of around 1.3 percent compared to Spain’s rate of 6.8 percent and Italy’s rate of 9.5 percent.
Ice-Rink Morgue Opens
Spanish authorities said around 14 percent of all infections in the country are among health workers, which health emergency chief Fernando Simon attributed to the limited availability of protective equipment and several early clusters of the virus occurring in hospitals.
He also warned pressure on intensive-care units would continue after transmission of the virus among the general population had peaked.
Echoing his concerns, nursing union SATSE called for test kits and for drastic measures to help prop up Madrid’s hospitals, which it said were on “the verge of collapse.”
Authorities in the Spanish capital on Monday agreed to transform the Palacio de Hielo mall, home to an Olympic-sized ice rink, into a morgue.
The military disinfected 179 nursing homes on Monday and planned to clean another 96 on Tuesday, officials said.
The state prosecutor has opened an investigation after Defence Minister Margarita Robles said the army had found unattended bodies at nursing homes. She did not say what had caused their deaths.
In the southern region of Andalusia, the mayor of a small town pleaded for help after reporting 38 of 42 residents at the local nursing home had tested positive for the virus, along with 60 percent of staff.
“The virus doesn’t kill people … what’s killing people is the system,” Rafael Aguilera, mayor of Alcala del Valle told a news conference.
“We need oxygen, ambulances and hospitals,” he said in a video posted on the town’s Facebook page. “A person died in our arms because we couldn’t get hold of oxygen.”
Reuters contributed to this report.