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Spain sees record death toll with 849 dead in 24 hours

Once again, Spain hit a new record with 849 people dying of COVID-19 in 24 hours, hiking the overall death toll to 8,189, the government said on Tuesday.

The increase came after a day in which the number of deaths had fallen slightly, raising hopes the epidemic could be reaching its peak in Spain, which has logged the world’s second-highest number of deaths from the virus after Italy.

Another 9,222 people tested positive for the virus over the past 24 hours, raising the total number of confirmed cases to 94,417.

With both new infections and deaths up around 11% each, Spain is seeing a slight rebound in the outbreak.

That’s despite an overall timid slowdown in its spread for the past week, allowing authorities to focus on avoiding the collapse of the health care system. At least one-third of Spain’s 17 regions were already at their limit of capacity in terms of intensive care unit usage, while new beds are being added in hotels, exhibition and sports centers across the country.

At least 14% of those infected are much-needed medical personnel. Many of them lack proper protective gear.

The government also wants to cushion the social effects of a major economic slowdown. Spain is officially “hibernating,” with new measures halting all but essential economic activity coming into full force on Tuesday.

Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez’s left-wing cabinet is expected to add a new 700-million-euro aid package, including zero interest loans, as well as suspend evictions for families who can’t afford to pay their home rent.

Header: A priest gives funeral rites at Salvador cemetery during the coronavirus outbreak, near Vitoria, northern Spain, March 30, 2020. (Alvaro Barrientos/AP)