Medics have been taking to social media to share their experiences during the coronavirus pandemic.

In Spain, one doctor took to Twitter in tears to explain the difficult choices he had to make working in intensive care.

He spoke about how medics are forced to triage: removing older patients from ventilators or respirators to provide medical support to younger patients instead, as they're more likely to survive Covid-19.

Spain has nearly 4,000 health workers infected with the coronavirus, more than one in 10 of total confirmed cases, officials said today, as the toll rose in Europe's second-worst affected country after Italy.

Like in other countries hit hard by the virus, nurses, doctors and other health workers say they are not getting enough protective kits. 

Authorities and companies are scrambling to manufacture, buy and distribute more.

"We have some data we do not like, because we should try to control it, such as having 3,910 health workers affected," health emergency chief Fernando Simon told a news conference.

The number of cases registered in Spain rose to 33,089 up from 28,572 cases yesterday. This means health workers account for nearly 12% of the total. They and nursing home staff will have priority as Spain rolls out a testing programme.

The coronavirus death toll there reached 2,182, adding 462 fatalities overnight, the Health Ministry said. Simon said 87% of those who had died were aged 70 or older.

Yesterday, medics at a Northern Ireland hospital urged the public to "stay home" to stop the spread of the deadly coronavirus and save lives.

Standing side by side at the entrance of the city's Mater Hospital, 20 healthcare workers from the Belfast medical team told the public on a video posted online that people were facing "the greatest medical crisis of our lifetime" and pleaded for everyone to "stay at home".

In Italy, which has surpassed China as the country with the most deaths from the coronavirus, 4,268 health workers, or 0.4% of the total, had contracted the virus as of 20 March, according to the National Health Institute.

In Lombardy, the Italian region with the highest number of cases and deaths, at least two hospitals became vehicles of contamination, with patients infecting medical staff who then spread the disease as they travelled around their communities before a stringent lockdown was imposed.

That is one factor that has helped the virus spread so quickly, said Giuseppe Remuzzi, director of the Mario Negri Institute for Pharmacological Research.

"Patients infected other patients and doctors who then went out and contaminated others," Remuzzi said.

In Lombardy's northeastern city of Bergamo, 134 family doctors out of 600, or 22%, had fallen sick or were quarantined, Guido Marinoni, the head of the local association of general practitioners, said. Three doctors have died.

In France, one doctor working in a Paris hospital described conditions in intensive care as like being on the frontline during a war.

In an emotional Facebook post after a 27-hour shift, Nicolas Perolat said: "Never would I have believed I could work so much, even my worst days in the emergency department were nothing, really nothing. How are my friends coping in emergency now? And when it comes to coping emotionally... impossible to describe...

"So many calls to families who aren't allowed to visit their loved ones, who are sick. People are already dying. We’re low on equipment... I didn’t study this kind of medicine, and now we have to practice this kind of medicine. Covid-19 is going to transform us. And this is only the first wave."

We need your consent to load this rte-player contentWe use rte-player to manage extra content that can set cookies on your device and collect data about your activity. Please review their details and accept them to load the content.Manage Preferences

Nicolas says in his 17-bed intensive care unit that they had 18 patients with Covid-19 yesterday, ranging in age from 40-75.

He was asked how morale is among he and his colleagues. Nicolas says it's up and down and changes a lot during the day, but they’re on a war-footing and they have a job to do.

"Every day we have to be strong... we have to be strong for us, because every day one of us breaks," he lamented. 

"I think I will not see my family until the end of this crisis, if I go and see my mother, who is 65 (I will put her at risk)".

"Our family now, is the people we work with, it started 10 days ago and we are exhausted... there will be death every day, and we will have to live with (it)."

Nicolas says that family members aren’t allowed to visit because of the risk of them contracting coronavirus. But because they’re so busy, they don’t have time to keep families up to date. He says he’s had to tell family members that if they don't hear from him, their loved one in intensive care is stable, but if you get a call at 2am from the hospital, it’s because they’ve got worse.

Asked about the first death of a doctor in France from Covid-19, Nicolas says it was only to be expected.

"We knew that some of our guys will die," he said.

"When you ask a soldier to go to war, we know that he can die... we are just normal people... we are not superheroes, we just do what we can do every day."

French doctors have urged officials to extend and possibly tighten the confinement measures keeping people at home, and a scientific advisory panel set up by President Emmanuel Macron is set to deliver an opinion shortly, an Elysee Palace official said.

Yesterday, France's parliament declared a health emergency for a two-month period, giving the government greater powers to fight the pandemic.

The law allows the government to take measures to support companies and backs up its decision to delay the second round of municipal elections.

The government has also increased fines for leaving home without a valid reason, with the penalty for a second offence now €1,500.

Police said nearly 1.8m checks have been carried out since the confinement was imposed last Tuesday, with nearly 92,000 fines issued.

Government spokeswoman Sibeth Ndiaye said yesterday that a confinement extension was "likely", while Education Minister Jean-Michel Blanquer said schools were unlikely to resume before 4 May.