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More than 500 people have died in Spain over the past 24 hours from Covid-19

The number of deaths in Spain from the coronavirus has more than doubled since Friday.

Health personnel prepare beds at the field hospital set up at the IFEMA Exhibition center in Madrid.
Health personnel prepare beds at the field hospital set up at the IFEMA Exhibition center in Madrid.
Image: Xinhua/PA Images

THE DEATH TOLL from the coronavirus in Spain has risen by 514 people in the space of a single day, with 2,696 now confirmed dead from the virus in the Iberian country.

The number of confirmed cases has also jumped 20% since yesterday with the health ministry confirming 39,673 have now been diagnosed with Covid-19 in Spain.

These figures have risen sharply in recent days. On Friday, 1,000 people had been confirmed dead from the virus. Now that figure has more than doubled.

Spain is third among the countries with the worst death tolls from Covid-19, behind China in second and Italy in first.

It comes as news emerged of Spanish soldiers deployed to help fight the new coronavirus outbreak finding elderly patients abandoned, and sometimes dead, at retirement homes.

The government of Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez is now set to seek parliamentary approval to extend the state of emergency for an extra two weeks, until 11 April, in a bid to slow the spread of the virus. 

Officials are hoping the rate of infections will peak within the coming days. 

The Madrid region has suffered the brunt of the epidemic with 12,352 infections – just under a third of the total – and 1,535 deaths, or 57% of the national figure. 

The city’s ice-skating rink is now being used as a makeshift morgue, given the rapid increase in deaths in the Spanish capital.

Security forces guarded the outside of the Palacio de Hielo complex on Madrid’s north-eastern outskirts today, as funeral service vans arrived and entered the building’s underground car park.

Madrid city authorities took up the rink’s offer to use the 1,800 square metre centre after the city’s municipal funeral service said it could take no more coronavirus bodies until it restocked with protective equipment and material.

The Spanish capital has also transformed part of a giant exhibition centre into a temporary field hospital with 1,500 beds and an intensive care unit which could be expanded take in up to 5,500 patients. 

Government figures show there has also been an increase in people recovering, with the number reaching 3,794 today after 439 were declared virus-free. Around 60% of the recoveries are in Madrid. 

With reporting from AFP

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Sean Murray

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