Coronavirus loss of life toll rises once more in Italy, whilst Spain turns ice rink into morgue


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VENICE, ITALY – MARCH 24: The carabinieri check the credentials of local citizens during lockdown in Mestre-Venice on March 24, 2020 in Venice, Italy.

Stefano Mazzola/Awakening

The daily death toll from the coronavirus has increased once again in Italy, after two days of smaller rises, suggesting the worst may not yet be over for the embattled country.

In Italy, 743 people died from the virus on Tuesday, according to government data — the highest daily increase since Sunday. The southern European country has been the worst hit by the deadly disease worldwide, experiencing a higher death toll than China, where the virus emerged in late 2019. As of Wednesday morning, a total of 6,820 people have died in Italy due to the pandemic.

However, the number of new confirmed cases of coronavirus slowed down for a third consecutive day, according to the Emergency Commissioner and Civil Protection Chief Angelo Borrelli. The total number of infections in the country now stands at 69,176, of which 8,326 people have recovered from the illness.

Meanwhile, three Italian trade unions threatening strikes are reportedly close to reaching an agreement with the Italian government, La Stampa reported Wednesday.  Workers in the engineering, chemical, textile and printing industries had said they would go on strike this week. The unions are demanding more stringent measures for the factories that are still open and for bank employees, who they say do not have enough masks, gloves or disinfectant.

Gastronomy attendant working in compliance in compliance with the virus containment rules imposed by the Italian government during COVID-19 pandemic in Italy on March 24, 2020 in Fabbrico, Italy.


Madrid’s ice rink morgue

Spain also recorded a record number of deaths in one day from the virus, with 504 people passing away on Tuesday. Since the pandemic began, a total of 2,991 have died in the second-worst hit country in Europe.

There have been 42,058 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Spain, with the country’s capital, Madrid, home to the highest number of infections.

Given the unprecedented pressure on hospitals, funeral homes and crematoriums around Madrid, an ice rink in the city has been transformed into a temporary morgue. Palacio de Hielo, as it is known, received the first coffins on Monday. The freezing temperatures are expected to protect the bodies until funeral homes have the capacity to bury or cremate them.

Spain has been in national lockdown since mid-March and the restrictions on movement and gatherings of people — just like in other European countries — is preventing family members from attending funerals.

Salvador Illa Roca, Spain’s health minister, said Tuesday that the government had stepped up its efforts to buy ventilators and sped up national production of the most essential products in the fight against the virus.

MADRID, SPAIN – MARCH 24: Staff members of the funeral home Antonio Álvarez speak with a member of the Military Emergency Unit (UME) and local policemen at the entry to the mall Palacio de Hielo, whose ice rink will be used as a morgue due to local funeral homes being over capacity due to COVID-19 on March 24, 2020 in Madrid, Spain.

Patricia J. Garcinuno

Germany’s low death toll

Meanwhile, Germany registered 28 coronavirus deaths on Tuesday and 114 in total since the pandemic began. The figures are substantially lower than in other European countries, even though Germany has one of the highest number of confirmed cases at 32,991.

The highest number of infections in Germany has occurred in the 15-59 age group. The median age for those diagnosed with coronavirus in Germany is 47 years — below what’s considered the riskiest age group.


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