With Spain likely to exceed 50,000 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the next 24 hours there has been a stark realisation in Madrid that with 3,434 deaths the death toll from the coronavirus has now surpassed the official figure from China, making it the second highest in the world.

In comparison, China has officially reported 3,285 deaths, while Italy – the worst affected country – has 6,820. And what doesn’t make the figures read any better is the death toll suffered by Spain in the last 24 hours, which at 738 is a record spike for the country.

Globally the planet is closing in on half a million cases although 113,000 of that number have now recovered. Of the 20,500 deaths over 16,000 of them have occurred in Italy, Spain, Iran and China although with only 4 deaths in the recent figures China now seems to be moving toward clear water.

In Spain the Community of Madrid continues to be the most affected, with 14,597 cases, 1,825 deaths, followed by Catalonia with 9,937 affected and 516 deaths.

However the director of the Centre for Coordination of Health Alerts and Emergencies, Fernando Simón, said that the increase of 20% of cases diagnosed by coronavirus is “lower” than that registered last week and equivalent to that experienced in recent days . For this reason, he says that Spain is approaching the peak of the pandemic.

Meanwhile, Spain’s Deputy Prime Minister Carmen Calvo has tested positive for the virus, the government says. She was admitted to hospital on Sunday with respiratory symptoms.

This afternoon local media reported that more than 20 residents who were confirmed to have the virus or had symptoms of it had died at the Fundación Santísima Virgen y San Celedonio care home in Madrid’s Chamartín district. Some 50 members of staff were in isolation.

As the coronavirus continues to hit the health sector with particular force, not only those who work in ICUs, but also those who are at the forefront of patient care, two family doctors are understood to have died from Covid-19, one in a town in Salamanca and the other in Córdoba, becoming the first two doctors to die in Spain from this cause.

Up until now, the only death recorded in the health sector was that of a nurse from the Galdakao hospital (Bizkaia), last week.

Some 5,400 Spanish health workers have been infected during the pandemic, more than 13% of all cases, according to the Ministry of Health.