The death toll in Spain has soared over 4,800 after 769 people died in 24 hours, in what was a record one-day figure for fatalities in the country, the government said.

Spain has the world's second-highest death toll after Italy, and has so far suffered 4,858 deaths, while the number of cases jumped to 64,059.

Italy today announced announced 919 deaths in one day. It was the highest daily tally since the outbreak began.

Although Spain's latest figures showed a daily increase of nearly 8,000 new infections, the uptick comes as the country moves to dramatically increase its rate of testing, ordering millions of new kits from around the world.


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Despite the increase, the rate of new infections appears to be slowing, registering a 14% rise compared with 18% on Thursday.

Fernando Simon, the health ministry's emergencies coordinator described the figure as "promising" saying it showed that the flattening trend of the curve "was ongoing".

"There is a clear stabilisation," he said, with the figures indicating "that, little-by-little, we're reaching the peak".

The surge in numbers has brought the medical system to the brink of collapse, with Spain inking a major supply deal with China to source equipment and material to increase its capacity for testing, treatment and the protection of frontline workers.

It has also seen a growing number of cases among healthcare personnel with 9,444 infected, Mr Simon said, giving a figure which has nearly doubled since Tuesday when it stood at 5,400.

Despite the positive indications in the overall numbers, Mr Simon warned there would be no immediate easing of the situation within the heath care system, which could even get worse in the coming days.

"This pressure on the care system will continue and could even increase in the coming three, four or five days," he said.

What was important, he said, was to focus on the trend within the figures, rather than the headline numbers of death and infections.

There have also been cases detected among the thousands of troops and police drafted in to help fight the virus, with officials saying 172 soldiers and 282 members of the Guardia Civil police had tested positive.

Until last night, Italy had registered the largest number of declared cases until it was overtaken by the United States, where 85,991 people have now tested positive for the virus.

Spain implemented a stringent nationwide lockdown on 14 March which will not be lifted until at least 11 April, with the latest figures raising hope that the measures to curb the virus were beginning to take effect.