Madrid to use ice rink as makeshift coronavirus morgue, officials say

Clay Curtis
March 24, 2020

Patients lay on towels or coats in the corridor of the Infanta Leonor hospital as they waited for treatment, footage posted on social media showed.

Israel is now in a partial lockdown, with most people discouraged from leaving their homes, but police are only enforcing orders against gatherings and shuttering stores where social distancing rules are not kept.

Spain declared a state of emergency on March 14.

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez announced on Sunday that the nationwide lockdown affecting the movements of just under 47 million citizens would have to be extended in order to gain control over the outbreak.

The regional government has set up a special helpline to supply information to members of the public (900 121212), and also urges people to call the 112 emergency services line if they suspect that they may have contracted the virus rather than going straight to hospital or to a medical centre.

A nearby congress centre has been converted into a field hospital for coronavirus patients that will have 5,500 beds. In Madrid, which has seen the highest number of cases and deaths, as well as the refusal of many undertakers to handle the bodies, that could take up to 24 hours, officials said.

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In a sign of hope, Chinese authorities said they would finally end a two-month lockdown in hard-hit Hubei province where the coronavirus outbreak first began, while nations in Europe, North America and elsewhere pressed harder to enforce the stay-at-home restrictions placed on 1.5 billion people worldwide.

The repurposed skating facility is close to a conference center that has been kitted out with hospital beds and already received 126 of the 1,300 patients it expects in the coming week.

The nationwide state of emergency, announced on March 14 and meant to last 15 days, bars people from all but essential outings.

"I know it is a drastic measure. but experts agree that it is an effective measure in the fight against coronavirus", Sanchez told a news conference after holding talks via video with the heads of Spain's regional governments. She is now awaiting coronavirus test results.

The discovery of the corpses came as Spanish health workers begged the government for help after shocking video emerged of patients lying on the floor of an overwhelmed hospital in Madrid.

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