Spanish media reported that 23 residents in a Madrid retirement home had died from COVID-19 or symptoms related to the new virus, news reports said.
The residence hung up when called by The Associated Press, but its management released a statement saying it had been pleading for more staff and supplies, including virus tests, after 55 of its workers had been forced to take medical leave.
Madrid, March 25, 2020 (Reuters/NAN) Spain registered 738 fatalities from the coronavirus over the past 24 hours in the steepest increase of the death toll since the epidemic hit the country.
The health ministry said on Wednesday that the number of reported deaths from the virus rose to 3,434 from 2,696 on Tuesday, the ministry said.
The overall number of cases soared to 47,610 from 39,673 on Tuesday.
Similarly, the Spanish army has asked its NATO partners for coronavirus testing kits, ventilators and protective gear as part of the alliance’s international assistance arrangements, Spanish Armed Forces Chief Miguel Villarroya said.
He said Spain made the request to NATO which would pass it on to the member-states’ armies.
Fernando Simon, head of Spain’s health emergency co-ordinationcentre, said he hoped the numbers would peak soon.
“If we are not already at the peak, we are very close,” he said. “I cannot say that we have reached it.”
Even once the numbers crest, it would be “counterproductive” to think about relaxing restrictions anytime soon, he added
The elderly are among the most vulnerable to the coronavirus, and Spain’s nursing home system has been hit particularly hard. Prosecutors are investigating several homes after military troops disinfecting them discovered elderly people living among suspected coronavirus victims who had died.
National police also arrested two people in southern Spain on Tuesday for throwing stones and other debris at a convoy of ambulances and police vehicles as 28 elderly people were being transferred from a nursing home with a high number of infections to another facility in their town.
With its health system overwhelmed, Spanish hotels have been converted into hospitals and a Madrid ice rink is being used as a temporary morgue. Lawmakers were set to extend the country’s lock down for two more weeks, to April 12.