Inside Madrid, Spain | Inside The Outbreak | Associated Press

Spain has been hit especially hard by the coronavirus outbreak and the country’s death toll remains comparatively high despite a two-week lockdown. With more than 9,000 COVID-19 deaths documented, officials have been forced to convert hotels into hospitals and ice rinks into morgues. Madrid-based AP reporter Aritz Parra explains what is happening inside Spain’s overburdened medical facilities and funeral homes.

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Coronavirus: in Madrid, the big ice rink transformed into a morgue | AFP

Madrid’s large ice rink, the Palacio de Hielo, has been converted into a morgue where the bodies of victims of the novel coronavirus recovered from hospitals and nursing homes are stored. This makeshift morgue was set up to help the municipal funeral home, which was unable to collect the bodies due to a lack of protective equipment for its staff. IMAGES

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Spain ice rink converted into morgue for COVID-19 victims | AFP

Images of workers and vehicles, including a hearse, entering and leaving the Palacio de Hielo (Ice Palace) shopping centre in Madrid where an ice rink has been converted into a temporary morgue as Spain struggles to contain the coronavirus pandemic.

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Coronavirus Deaths Are Skyrocketing in Spain

MADRID — Before the outbreak in Spain began, the only people who went in and out of the small hospital where Alfonso Molina Moreno works as a nurse were visitors, staffers, and cleaning crews. Patients come to Hospital La Fuenfria for long-term, palliative care and Moreno, who has worked as a nurse for 16 years, found a sense of purpose in bringing them care and company at the end of their lives.

Now, he and his colleagues worry that they’re doing harm. A few days before we spoke, patients at the facility started testing positive for COVID-19. “We don’t know where it came from,” Moreno said. “We don’t know whether we, the staff, brought it here. We don’t know whether it was due to the patients’ visitors. We don’t know the source.”

The hospital has cut off all visits. Staffers now take exhaustive precautions when working with patients who have tested positive—putting on protective equipment they dispose of in contaminated rooms and washing their hands on both sides of the door.

But there’s still a degree of uncertainty. When we spoke, Morena hadn’t been tested, and Spain’s health ministry says health workers currently make up 12-percent of positive cases. Now, as the country scrambles to contain the virus it’s ordered 640,000 test kits from China and Korea in an effort to screen health workers and the most vulnerable. The hope is that this will help identify people who need to self-isolate.

Morena isn’t just thinking of the patients he’s now caring for. He’s worried about how long the virus was in the hospital. After a patient with cervical cancer died, a post-mortem X-ray showed her lungs had advanced, bilateral pneumonia. “It could have been coronavirus, right? She wasn’t tested,” he said. “And it’s like, oh my God, to what extent—let’s see, this needs a pinch of salt but—what if it was me? That’s it. So I can’t hide it, because you really don’t know. Even with all the security measures in place, you still don’t know.”

Like everyone working despite an outbreak, Morena worries about infecting his loved ones. “I told this to my colleagues, and we have this kind of sharing moment. We’re all going through this bad phase, this suffering.” But he isn’t thinking about quitting. “I really find myself fortunate to be able to work because I have the chance to go and feel useful,” he says. He’s even volunteered to take on more shifts. “The healthcare providers, at this moment, we have to be there no matter what. Because if it is not us, who will it be then? There is no one else.”

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Coronavirus: Madrid ice rink transformed into a morgue as COVID-19 death toll rises | AFP

With Madrid’s funeral services overwhelmed and hospitals on the brink of collapse from the surge in patients, officials have commandeered the Palacio de Hielo ice skating rink to serve as a temporary morgue. Spain’s coronavirus death toll is now 3,434 after 738 people died over the past 24 hours, taking the toll above that of China’s.

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Madrid convierte pista de patinaje de hielo en morgue

Madrid convierte pista de patinaje de hielo en morgue

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Coronavirus: the Puerta del Sol in Madrid is almost empty | AFP

Usually very busy, the Puerta del Sol in Madrid is almost empty as Spain continues its quarantine in an effort to stem the spread of the new coronavirus. The outbreak is spreading in the country, and the death toll has surpassed 2,000. IMAGES

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Coronavirus: Madrid empty as Spain continues lockdown | AFP

Images of the empty garden and streets in front of the Palacio Real in Madrid as Spain continues its lockdown. The country reported 394 new deaths from the novel coronavirus in under 24 hours. IMAGES

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Madrid’s largest exhibition centre transforms into hospital in battle with coronavirus spread | AFP

Madrid’s largest exhibition centre is being transformed into a hospital, where 5,500 beds will be installed, as Spain ramps up its efforts to battle against the coronavirus pandemic. The country on Saturday reported a 32 percent spike in new deaths from the coronavirus, bringing the national total to 1,326 fatalities, the second-highest in Europe after Italy.

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Europe in the time of coronavirus: reported cases pass 100,000 mark | AFP

Coronavirus lockdown has left cities across Europe deserted: Rome, Paris, Madrid. But for Europe it all began on 24 Jan. Within days new cases had been confirmed in many neighbouring states. Today all countries within continental Europe have declared at least one case of the COVID-19 coronavirus.

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Madrid hotel transformed into coronavirus hospital | AFP

A four-star Madrid hotel is transformed into a medical care facility to treat people with mild cases of coronavirus in a bid to ease pressure on hospitals grappling with the pandemic.

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Timelapse footage of almost empty Puerta del Sol and City Hall in Madrid | AFP

Madrid’s Puerta del Sol, normally full of people, is empty as the national lockdown continues in order to halt the spread of the coronavirus. Madrid remains the worst-hit area, accounting for 5,637 cases, or 41 percent of the infections in Spain, while the number of deaths there rose to 390 deaths — around two-thirds of the national total. IMAGES

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Spain: Madrid’s Puerta del Sol empty as lockdown continues | AFP

Madrid’s Puerta del Sol, normally full of people, is empty as the national lockdown continues in order to halt the spread of the virus. Madrid remains the worst-hit area, accounting for 5,637 cases, or 41 percent of the infections in Spain, while the number of deaths there rose to 390 deaths — around two-thirds of the national total. IMAGES

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Today in History for March 11th

Highlights of Today in History: Bomb attack on Madrid’s commuter trains; Former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic found dead; Mikhail Gorbachev becomes leader of Soviet Union; General Douglas MacArthur leaves Philippines in WWII. (March 11)

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Largas colas en supermercados de Madrid por virus

Largas colas en supermercados de Madrid por virus

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Spanish government holds meeting on novel coronavirus | AFP

Pedro Sanchez and the Spanish government hold a meeting on novel coronavirus as Spain reported five new deaths due to the novel coronavirus on Friday, bringing the toll to eight as officials shuttered elderly care centres across Madrid after a spike in cases. IMAGES of the meeting

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Venezuela’s Juan Guaido attends a demonstration in Madrid | AFP

Juan Guaido, leader of the Venezuelan opposition, arrives at a stage in Madrid’s Puerta del Sol where people have gathered to express their support. IMAGES

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