514 new coronavirus deaths in Spain; toll rises to 2,696 - GulfToday

514 new coronavirus deaths in Spain; toll rises to 2,696


Medical workers prepare to host coronavirus patients in Barcelona, Spain. Nacho Doce/Reuters

Another 514 people have died in Spain over the past 24 hours, raising the death toll to 2,696, as the number of infections surged towards 40,000, the government said Tuesday.


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The number of people who have tested positive rose by nearly 20 per cent to 39,673, the health ministry said, while the death toll represented an increase of 23.5 per cent over the figures from Monday.

The number of fatalities rose to 2,696 overnight from 2,182, the ministry said.

A man wears a face mask is wheeled into La Paz hospital in Madrid amid a national lockdown to fight coronavirus. AFP

Meanwhile, 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.

A Spanish Emergency Army Unit soldier drives in Madrid, Spain, on Monday. Bernat Armangue/AP

"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.

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.


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