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Spanish soldiers find bodies in retirement homes
Published on: Wednesday, March 25, 2020
By: AFP
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A health worker in a protective suit pushes a man in a wheelchair into the Burgos Hospital in northern Spain.
MADRID: Spanish soldiers deployed to help fight the new coronavirus outbreak have found elderly patients abandoned, and sometimes dead, at retirement homes, as an ice rink inside a Madrid shopping mall was turned into a temporary morgue to cope with a surge in cases.

The army has been charged with helping to disinfect retirement homes in Spain, one of the countries worst hit by the pandemic. Dozens of deaths from Covid-19 have been recorded at facilities across the country.

“We are going to be strict and inflexible when dealing with the way old people are treated in these residences,” Defence Minister Margarita Robles said in an interview with private television channel Telecinco.

“The army, during certain visits, found some old people completely abandoned, sometimes even dead in their beds,” she added.

An investigation has been launched, the general prosecutor announced.

The coronavirus death toll in Spain surged past 2,000 after 462 people died within 24 hours, according to health ministry figures.

Meanwhile, the ice rink at the Palacio de Hielo, or Ice Palace, shopping centre in Madrid was turned into a temporary morgue to deal with a surge in deaths in the capital, a spokeswoman for Madrid city hall told AFP.

Earlier, the city hall said the city’s 14 public cemeteries would stop accepting more bodies because staff there did not have adequate protective gear.

The improvised morgue would start to be used “in the coming hours,” the regional government of Madrid said.

“This is a temporary and exceptional measure which aims to mitigate the pain of the family members of the victims and the situation hospitals in Madrid are facing.” A nearby congress centre has been converted into a field hospital for coronavirus patients that will have a total of 5,500 beds. –AFP

 


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