Spain coronavirus death toll rises by nearly a quarter, jumping by 514 to 2,696
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Spain coronavirus death toll rises by nearly a quarter, jumping by 514 to 2,696

Number of people testing positive spikes 20% to 39,673; Madrid ice rink being used as improvised morgue to handle fatalities

Undertakers carry a coffin of a person who died of COVID-19 at the La Almudena cemetery in Madrid, Spain, March 23, 2020. (Bernat Armangue/AP)
Undertakers carry a coffin of a person who died of COVID-19 at the La Almudena cemetery in Madrid, Spain, March 23, 2020. (Bernat Armangue/AP)

Another 514 people have died in Spain over the past 24 hours, raising the death toll to 2,696, as the number of infections surged towards 40,000, the government said Tuesday.

The number of people who have tested positive rose by nearly 20 percent to 39,673, the health ministry said, while the death toll represented an increase of 23.5% over the figures from Monday.

Madrid’s ice-skating rink is now being used as a makeshift morgue given the rapid increase in deaths in the Spanish capital owing to the COVID-19 outbreak.

A spanish UME (Emergency Army Unit) soldier walks out of Madrid’s ice rink turned into a temporary morgue due the COVID-19 crisis in Madrid, Spain, March 23, 2020. (Bernat Armangue/AP)

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

Madrid city authorities took up the rink’s offer to use the 1,800 square-meter (2,153 square-yard) center after the city’s municipal funeral service said it could take no more coronavirus bodies until it restocked with protective equipment and material.

Madrid is one of the hardest hit of Spain’s 17 regions with some 1,300 deaths, approximately half the national total.

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