Spain is now second only to Italy in worldwide deaths from COVID-19 after it surpassed China, where the outbreak began.
The coronavirus death toll in Spain has climbed to 3,434, surpassing China in overall number of deaths.
Spain recorded 738 deaths in the past 24 hours, its deadliest toll in a single day. It is now the second country in the world with the highest number of deaths from Covid-19, behind Italy.
China says it recorded 3,287 deaths, while Italy’s death toll stands at more than 6,800.
The outbreak has hit Spain hard, putting its fragile healthcare system under immense strain, especially in the central region around Madrid, with one-third of the positive cases and roughly half of the casualties.
The spiralling number of deaths came as Spain entered the 11th day of an unprecedented lockdown to try and rein in the COVID-19 epidemic that has now infected 47,610 people, the health ministry said.
As the authorities stepped up testing, the number of cases showed a 20 per cent increase on the figures for Tuesday, while the death toll showed a 27 per cent rise over the same period.
Despite the national lockdown imposed on March 14, which is to be extended until April 11, both deaths and infections have continued to mount, with officials warning this week would be particularly bad.
“We are approaching the peak,” the ministry’s emergencies coordinator Fernando Simon said in announcing the figures.
Health authorities are hoping it will soon become clear whether the lockdown is having the desired effect.
The Madrid region has suffered the brunt of the epidemic with 14,597 infections — just under a third of the total — and 1,825 deaths, or 53 per cent of the national figure.
With hospitals on the brink of collapse from the surge in patients, troops have set up a massive field hospital in Madrid’s vast IFEMA exhibition centre which currently has 1,500 beds but which could be expanded to take in up to 5,500 people — making it the largest hospital in Spain.
And with the city’s funeral services overwhelmed, officials have commandeered the Palacio de Hielo ice skating rink to serve as a temporary morgue.
Countries across the world continue to battle the spread of coronavirus, which causes COVID-19, with India on Tuesday implementing the world’s biggest lockdown of 1.3 billion people.
India followed the example of a number of countries, especially in Europe, which remains the global coronavirus hotspot.