Italy reported 683 new deaths in the coronavirus pandemic, bringing its total to 7,503.
Spain, meanwhile, recorded more than 700 deaths over the past 24 hours - surpassing China in the global death toll - making the country now second to only Italy.
Coronaviruses have caused two other recent epidemics – severe acute respiratory syndrome (Sars) in China in 2002-04, and Middle East respiratory syndrome (Mers), which started in Saudi Arabia in 2012. In both cases, work began on vaccines that were later shelved when the outbreaks were contained.
More than 113,000 of the 454,000 people diagnosed with the disease have recovered, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University. About 20,500 people worldwide have died from COVID-19.