Spain has appealed to NATO for international humanitarian assistance and secured a deal to acquire medical equipment from China.
Rabat – The global state of the coronavirus pandemic continues to shift. While China appears to have controlled its outbreak, Spain and Italy are faltering under crushing death tolls and infection rates.
The number of COVID-19 fatalities registered in a single day in Spain has surpassed that of China, making Spain the world’s second hardest-hit country behind Italy.
China’s COVID-19 death toll stands at 3,281, while fatalities in Italy have risen by over 700 in the past 24 hours to reach 3,434.
Spain’s confirmed COVID-19 cases have increased by almost 8,000 since yesterday, totaling 74,386. According to Spanish health authorities, 3,166 patients are in critical condition while 5,367 people have recovered from the virus.
Spain launched a state of emergency on March 13, under a nation-wide lockdown effective for an extendable period of 15 days.
Spanish Health Minister Salvador Lila said the government secured a deal with China to buy $467 million worth of masks, tests, gloves, and respirators. The shipping of medical equipment will commence at the end of the week, according to Lila.
The Iberian nation has also appealed to NATO for international humanitarian assistance, requesting medical and personal protective equipment.
Meanwhile, Italy, the new epicenter of COVID-19, has registered a total of 69,176 cases, with 6,829 fatalities and 8,326 recoveries.
In a bid to stem the virus, Italy has shut down many of its industrial activities including car and clothing manufacturers, along with real estate and tourism companies.
“We are slowing down the country’s engine,” Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte stated on March 21. “It’s a hard decision, but it prepares us to face the most acute phase of the infection.”
Italian authorities imposed a nation-wide shut down on March 23 with some exceptions. Effective until April 3, companies have until today to comply with the measures.
Authorities granted special exemptions to a number of key sectors including the financial sector, petroleum industry, food and agriculture sector, paper, plastics, aluminum, chemical producers, and the pharmaceutical sector, among others. Transport services will also remain operational.
China’s death toll from COVID-19 currently amounts to, with 81,219 confirmed cases and 73,280 recoveries.
The global death toll reached 19,612 with 433,024 confirmed cases and 107,549 recoveries.