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.
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.
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.
"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.
Spain confirmed another 838 deaths in 24 hours from coronavirus on Sunday, a new daily record bringing the total number of deaths to 6,528, according to health ministry figures.
Italy reported 969 new deaths, Spain 769 and France 299 as Europe reeled from a crisis that led the United States on Friday to finalise an unprecedented $2 trillion stimulus package.
The nationwide state of emergency, announced on March 14, bars people from all but essential outings as the country grapples with Europe's second-worst coronavirus outbreak.
A resolution tabled Wednesday called for the national assembly to debate whether to expel the French envoy, for the assembly to condemn Western blasphemy, for Muslim nations to unite on the issue, and for authorities to provide space in cities for future protests.
In addition to the new cases, 1, 744 individuals have recovered and two people passed away.
Turkish police have detained 62 people in an investigation of a cryptocurrency trading platform provider, state-owned Anadolu news agency said on Friday, after thousands of Turks filed criminal complaints saying they had been scammed.