The number of people who have died after testing positive for coronavirus in Spain has risen by 769 in one day, taking the total to 4,858.

The number of confirmed cases of the COVID-19 disease in the country also went up on Thursday from 56,188 to 64,059, according to the national health ministry.

The number of coronavirus patients who have died in Spain is second only to Italy, where 8,215 people have died.

Spain ranks fourth for the number of confirmed cases worldwide, according to Johns Hopkins University.

The US took the lead on Thursday evening with 85,991 positive tests, moving ahead of China, where the disease originally emerged back in December.

Italy is set to surpass China’s total when its latest figures are released later on Friday.

There are 80,589 confirmed cases in Italy, which has been overwhelmed by the deadly disease in the past month, compared to 81,894 in China.

China has seen a sharp decrease in new cases and has suspended visits from almost all foreign nationals – a turnaround from the situation in January, when the US and Europe were limiting travel from China.

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases worldwide topped 500,000 on Thursday.

There have been concerns that Spain could become the new epicentre of the pandemic in Europe, as the number of cases and deaths has continued to rise.

However, health emergency chief Fernando Simon said the numbers were showing some signs of stabilising since a lockdown was imposed by the government earlier this month.

“In percentage terms, today’s increase is roughly equivalent to that of the past three days, in which we seem to see a clear stabilisation,” he said.

Hotels are being converted into hospitals to deal with the outbreak, and an ice rink at a Madrid shopping mall is being used as a temporary morgue to store bodies until they can be buried or cremated.

An investigation has also been launched after troops disinfecting nursing homes discovered elderly people living amid the corpses of suspected coronavirus victims.

The Spanish army has asked fellow NATO countries for coronavirus testing kits, ventilators and protective gear.

Spain’s central bank expressed fears for the state of the country’s economy following the outbreak, with many businesses in the country having already started to temporarily lay off thousands of workers.

Many European nations may be looking to Germany for inspiration in tackling the disease, with the country so far recording an incredibly low death rate compared to neighbouring nations.

In Germany, just 0.6% of their confirmed coronavirus cases have so far ended up being fatal – the lowest figure amongst any of the most affected countries.

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