Spain has reported a sharp rise in fatalities from coronavirus since the outbreak began. The overall number of infections has also soared by more than 8,000 over the past 24 hours, officials revealed.

The country registered 655 deaths from the previous day, slightly down from over 700 on Wednesday. The total number of fatalities now stands at 4,089. 

The spike in infections comes as cumulative cases across Europe pass the harrowing 250,000 mark, according to an AFP tally.

Spain now has the second-highest number of infections in Europe, bested only by Italy’s 74,000.

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Researchers around the world are scrambling to create a vaccine to control the pandemic, but it will likely take months before a prototype can be tested and receive approval. Anthony Fauci, who is heading up the US coronavirus task force, has said that the development of a vaccine should be a top priority.

The United States has seen a sharp rise in the number of Covid-19 cases, and passed 1,000 deaths on Wednesday night. At more than 55,000 cases, the country now has the third-highest number of infections in the world, behind only Chia and Italy, according to a tally kept by Johns Hopkins University.

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