Monday, 06 April, 2020


Spanish soldiers find bodies in retirement homes

Health workers hard hit as Spain's coronavirus cases rise Madrid to use ice rink as morgue for coronavirus victims - The Jakarta Post
Bennie Garza | 26 March, 2020, 00:57

Spain has been struggling so much with the coronavirus pandemic that soldiers have been finding elderly care-home residents left alone, and its capital city is converting an ice rink into a makeshift morgue.

The coronavirus death toll in Spain has jumped by 514 in a single day, as the situation in the country quickly worsens.

Of those infected 5,400 were medical staff, the ministry said, a figure representing 13 per cent of the country's total cases.

The Spanish military has found older residents of some care homes "completely abandoned" and even "dead in their beds, "Defense Minister Margarita Roblessaid in a television interview on Monday".

Spain's general prosecutor has confirmed that a full-scale investigation has been launched into the deaths of these vulnerable people.

"We are going to be strict and inflexible when dealing with the way old people are treated in these residences".

With almost 40,000 confirmed cases and 2,696 deaths, the country ranks only behind Italy amongst European nations.

While Madrid long accounted for about half of Spain's coronavirus cases, data published on Tuesday showed it now had just less than one-third of the total, in a sign the epidemic is spreading throughout the country.

Military units dispatched to help care homes comply with sanitary regulations disinfected 179 facilities on Monday and planned to clean another 96 on Tuesday, officials said. Properly-equipped funeral staff are then called in to retrieve the body.

Volunteer workers of Search and Rescue (SAR) with special equipment, disinfect a volunteer while disinfecting police auto at Local Police station to prevent the spread of coronavirus COVID-19, in Pamplona, northern Spain, Sunday, March 22, 2020.

Nursing union SATSE said Madrid's hospitals were on "the verge of collapse" and needed urgent support, while a doctors' union said it had filed a lawsuit demanding protective equipment within 24 hours.

Retirement homes are "an absolute priority for the government", Health Minister Salvador Illa told a press conference.

Madrid also set up a field hospital in the Ifema trade fair complex that recently housed the COP25 United Nations climate conference.

"We will exercise the most intensive monitoring of these centres". To date, 1,535 people have died in Madrid.

Regional health chiefs sent ventilators and face masks to the privately-run centre and the sick were taken to hospitals, but some residents of the care home were said to be dying in their beds before they could be transferred.

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