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Spain's Defence Minister, Margarita Robles, recently in a television interview said that the Spanish military has found residents of some care homes "completely abandoned" and even "dead in their beds" amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The soldiers found the dead when they went to disinfect residential homes across the country, and provide emergency health care services, NPR reported.
Spain is the second hardest-hit country in Europe, with over 39,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 2,800 deaths as of March 24.
A privately-owned home in Madrid reported as many as 20 deaths and 75 infections last week, claiming it lacked adequate material to tend to the sick residents and dead bodies.
Dead bodies in the hospitals are now being left in beds for days, while the usual protocol is to put the body in cold storage until it is picked up by a funeral service.
Robles said that some nursing home staff left after cases of coronavirus were detected there. Ailing residents, some in serious conditions, were left to take care of themselves.
Robles has said that strict action will be taken by the government against those who are responsible.
"We will be completely relentless and forceful with the kind of treatment elderly residents receive in these centres," Robles said. "I know that a vast majority [of centres] are fulfilling their obligations."
The Spanish prosecutors have launched an investigation into these incidents.
According to Health Minister Salvador Illa, residential care homes are "a high priority during this time" for their government, and "maximum control" will be exerted over these centres.
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