Horror in Madrid: Abandoned elderly found dead in old-age homes, ice rink turned into makeshift morgue

Under Spain’s Health Ministry guidelines, coronavirus dead must be left “as is” until they can be retrieved by the properly equipped funeral staff.

By Aaron Sull, World Israel News.

An investigation has been launched in Madrid after army personnel, charged with helping to disinfect retirement homes, found many elderly residents abandoned and sometimes dead in their beds, Agence France-Presse reported Tuesday.

“The army, during certain visits, found some old people completely abandoned, sometimes even dead in their beds,” Defense Minister Margarita Robles told Spain’s Telecinco news agency on Tuesday.

Robles promised that the government will be “strict and inflexible” with the way elderly people are to be treated.

Health Minister Salvador Illa said retirement homes are an “absolute priority” and the ministry will make sure they receive “intensive monitoring.”

On Monday, 14 public city cemeteries stopped accepting bodies of coronavirus victims because the funeral staff was running short of protective gear.

As a solution, a Madrid ice-skating rink was being used as a makeshift morgue given the rapid increase in coronavirus-related deaths.

Security forces guarded the outside of Madrid’s Palacio de Hielo ice rink complex on Tuesday as funeral service vans arrived and entered the building’s underground car park, AP reported.

“This is a temporary and exceptional measure which aims to mitigate the pain of the family members of the victims and the situation hospitals in Madrid are facing,” the regional government said in a statement quoted by AFP.

Normally there would be no need to bury corpses right away because they could be put in cold storage to be preserved. However, Spanish Health Ministry guidelines stipulate coronavirus victims cannot be put in cold storage and must be left “as is” until they can be retrieved by the funeral staff with protective gear, the BBC reported.

According to Spain’s Ministry of Health, as of Tuesday 39,673 Spaniards have been diagnosed with the deadly disease and 2,696 have died as a result of it.

In the city of Madrid alone there have been 1,535 fatalities.