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Spain: Army Has Found Elderly Abandoned, Dead at Care Homes

Newser — Evann Gastaldo

The news out of Spain is grim: As the coronavirus death toll continues to rise, Madrid has turned an ice rink into a temporary mortuary for victims of COVID-19.

On Tuesday, health officials in the country announced there had been 514 new deaths over the past 24 hours, a new record for the country that brought its death toll to 2,696 so far, the BBC reports.

There are currently 39,673 confirmed cases in Spain, the second highest number in Europe behind Italy. Madrid's municipal funeral home announced it would stop collecting coronavirus victims because it doesn't have the necessary protective equipment, so the city will use the Palacio de Hielo (Ice Palace) temporarily until funeral homes can collect bodies.

The ice rink is near a field hospital that has been set up for coronavirus patients. The Spanish defense minister also said this week that while making rounds, the army found older people "abandoned" by staff at some care homes, "completely left to fend for themselves, or even dead in their beds," per Sky News.

Anyone found to have abandoned their responsibilities in cases like that will be prosecuted, the minister said, per the Guardian. Health officials say 87% of coronavirus deaths in Spain were people aged 70 or older.

Meanwhile, Italy has 69,176 confirmed cases and 6,820 deaths, but since not everyone is being tested, one official says the true number of confirmed cases is likely 10 times higher, per Reuters.

Cases in Germany, however, seem to be leveling off, per DW.

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