March 23, 2020 / 5:56 PM / 2 months ago

Madrid to use ice rink as morgue for coronavirus victims

MADRID (Reuters) - A Madrid ice rink is to be used as a makeshift morgue for coronavirus victims, as the number of cases in the capital rose to 10,575 and 1,263 deaths, city authorities said on Monday.

Palacio de Hielo mall, home to a 1,800 square meter, Olympic-sized ice rink, has offered its venue as a morgue, a city hall spokeswoman told Reuters.

The repurposing of the space will be coordinated by Madrid’s regional government and military emergency units, which have been deployed across Spain over the past week to help deal with the coronavirus crisis.

In Madrid, struggling with Spain’s heaviest virus load, the municipal funeral home announced it would stop collecting bodies from Tuesday due to a shortage of equipment. Private funeral homes are operating in the capital city

The ice rink is close to the IFEMA conference center, where beds have been set up to treat coronavirus patients. The Madrid region could treat some 1,300 patients at IFEMA this week, and 126 people have already been admitted, the regional government said.

The number of coronavirus cases rose to 33,089 on Monday in Spain, the hardest-hit European country after Italy.

Reporting by Emma Pinedo, Writing by Jessica Jones, Editing by Ingrid Melander and Mike Collett-White

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