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Spain’s coronavirus death toll hits 10,000 as global infections near a million

Close to 940,000 people around the world have contracted the virus, figures show.

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Coffins containing the bodies of victims of coronavirus are stored waiting for burial or cremation at a morgue in Barcelona (Emilio Morenatti/AP)

Coffins containing the bodies of victims of coronavirus are stored waiting for burial or cremation at a morgue in Barcelona (Emilio Morenatti/AP)

Coffins containing the bodies of victims of coronavirus are stored waiting for burial or cremation at a morgue in Barcelona (Emilio Morenatti/AP)

More than 10,000 people in Spain have died after testing positive for coronavirus, as the global number of infections moves closer to a million.

Spain reported a new record in virus-related deaths on Thursday, with 950 in 24 hours although the growth in infections is waning, health ministry data showed.

The total number of deaths stood at 10,003 while coronavirus infections rose by nearly 8% overnight to 110,238.

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(PA Graphics)

(PA Graphics)

Press Association Images

(PA Graphics)

The government has acknowledged that the real level of infection could be much higher because Spain only has the capacity of doing between 15,000 to 20,000 tests per day.

In the US, New York is rushing to bring in an army of medical volunteers as the statewide death toll from coronavirus doubled in 72 hours to more than 1,900.

As hot spots flared around the US in places like New Orleans and southern California, the nation’s biggest city was the hardest hit of all, with bodies loaded on to refrigerated mortuary trucks outside overwhelmed hospitals.

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(PA Graphics)

(PA Graphics)

Press Association Images

(PA Graphics)

“How does it end? And people want answers,” said New York governor Andrew Cuomo. “I want answers. The answer is nobody knows for sure.”

President Donald Trump acknowledged that the federal stockpile is nearly depleted of personal protective equipment used by doctors and nurses and warned of trying times to come.

“Difficult days are ahead for our nation,” he said. “We’re going to have a couple of weeks, starting pretty much now, but especially a few days from now that are going to be horrific.”

There was also grim news for the US economy as figures showed more than 6.6 million Americans applied for unemployment benefits last week.

The job cuts are mounting in the US as businesses close and a severe recession looms. Last week’s jobless figure is much higher than the previous record of 3.3 million reported the previous week.

Close to 940,000 people around the world have contracted the virus, according to a tally from Johns Hopkins University, and more than 47,000 people have died.

The real figures are believed to be much higher because of testing shortages, differences in counting the dead and large numbers of mild cases that have gone unreported.

European nations are facing extraordinary demand for intensive care beds and are putting up makeshift hospitals, while unsure whether they will find enough healthy medical staff to run them.

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Spanish soldiers erect a tent to be used by patients (Bernat Armangue/AP)

Spanish soldiers erect a tent to be used by patients (Bernat Armangue/AP)

AP/PA Images

Spanish soldiers erect a tent to be used by patients (Bernat Armangue/AP)

Italy reported another 760 deaths on Thursday, bringing the total in the country to 13,915.

But new infections continued to level off three weeks into the West’s first nationwide shutdown, with 4,668 new infections in a total official caseload of 115,242.

More than 10,000 medical personnel have been infected nationwide and 69 doctors have died, according to the National Institutes of Health and the Italian association of doctors.

Scientists offered more evidence on Wednesday that the virus can be spread by seemingly healthy people who show no clear symptoms, leading the US government to issue new guidance warning that anyone exposed to the disease can be considered a potential carrier.

Many countries are modelling their response in part after China, which in January closed off an entire province, home to tens of millions of people, in what at the time was an unprecedented lockdown. Beijing says the measures have been a success, with nearly all new cases of the virus imported from abroad.

People in Wuhan, once the epicentre of the crisis, are starting to return to work. They are being tracked by a smartphone app that shows if they are symptom-free. The app is required to board a subway, check into a hotel or just enter the city.

PA