Spain Surpasses China in the Overall Number of Coronavirus Deaths With 3,434

Spain's Health Ministry reported on Wednesday that the coronavirus death toll in the country rose to 3,434 from 2,696

Beds are prepared for coronavirus patients at a military hospital set up at the IFEMA conference centre in Madrid, Spain, March 21, 2020
Comunidad de Madrid/Handout via REUTERS

Spain registered 738 fatalities from the coronavirus over the past 24 hours in the steepest increase of the death toll since the epidemic hit the country, the health ministry reported on Wednesday.

The number of reported deaths from the virus rose to 3,434 from 2,696 on Tuesday, the ministry said. The overall number of cases soared to 47,610 from 39,673 on Tuesday.

Spain surpasses China in the overall number of coronavirus deaths, now second to only Italy.

Latest virus updates from Europe: 

* Nearly 421,000 people have been infected across the world and more than 18,800 have died, according to a Reuters tally.

* Fatalities in Italy surged on Tuesday, dashing hopes the epidemic was easing after more encouraging numbers in the previous two days.

* France's death toll is much higher than the official tally, which only accounts for those dying in hospitals and does not include those dying at home or in retirement homes, the head of the hospitals federation said.

* More than 170,000 people signed up to help Britain's National Health Service, and the parliament is set to suspend sitting for at least four weeks.

* Nurses and doctors demanded action after Spain reported its sharpest daily increase in new cases on Tuesday and said about 14% of the nearly 40,000 infections were among health workers.

* Russia's total number of cases reached 658 on Wednesday with a record daily rise, a day after Moscow's mayor warned the outbreak in the capital was much worse than official figures showed.