The country’s health emergencies chief Fernando Simon said a further 335 people had died from coronavirus within just a 24-hour period. That means a huge increase in deaths to 1,002 from 767 on Thursday, which had already jumped by a third from 24-hours earlier. Spain becomes the fourth country to record more than 1,000 deaths from coronavirus, after China, Italy and Iran.
The number of confirmed cases also surged by more than 3,000 to nearly 20,000 as the crisis-hit country battles to get the coronavirus outbreak under control.
Infections accelerated from 17,147 on Thursday to 19,980 on Friday.
Health Minister Salvador Illa said on Thursday: “The toughest moments are still to come, those moments when we will continue to see an increase in the number of cases.”
Mr Simon added Spain was “probably slowly approaching the peak of cases.”
Spain, which is the second most visited country in the world, is desperately battling with a pandemic that has destroyed its hugely lucrative summer holiday season.
Several thousand troops have been deployed in dozens of cities to help with decontamination efforts and policing.
Army units have been deployed in Catalonia, for disinfection tasks at Barcelona’s airport and port.
The country stepped up measures significantly last Saturday by declaring a nationwide state of emergency.
Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez ordered all hotels to close and promised to quickly introduce special measures in nursing homes following the massive spike in confirmed cases and deaths.
People have been ordered to remain indoors unless they have to urgently buy food or medical supplies, as well as go to work or hospital.
All bars, restaurants, shops and bars are being shut, with all large public gatherings immediately cancelled.
A number of popular airlines have slashed their flights to Spain, following advice from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) against all world travel.
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Flights operated by budget airline Jet2 from the UK to Spain have been cancelled.
Some planes were even forced to turn back mid-flight and return to the airport they had just taken off from.
Ryanair has also warned it is being forced to “severely reduce” travel to the country.
British tourists holidaying in some of Spain’s most popular resorts have been told to “leave now”, with thousands of hotels to be shut from next week.
A spokesperson from the Foreign Office said on Wednesday: “The Spanish government have confirmed that all hotels will close in Spain from Tuesday 24 March.
“We therefore advise British travelers in Spain to contact their tour operator or airline as soon as possible, to arrange their return journey home before this date.”
But some defiant Britons are refusing to leave the country and boycott their holidays.
Several British tourists in popular hotspots including Benidorm and Alicante have been filmed ignoring strict advice from the Spanish police to remain indoors.
They have also been seen out roaming the streets drinking and in local bars.
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