Coronavirus horror as care home residents found ‘dead and abandoned’ in beds

Elderly care home residents have been found "dead and abandoned" in their beds by soldiers helping to fight the coronavirus pandemic.

Authorities said that staff at some care homes left after coronavirus was detected inside the building.

Soldiers discovered the deceased elderly patients after being brought in to help disinfect care homes in Spain following the outbreak of the deadly illness.

Spanish prosecutors said an investigation has been launched into the incident.

Spain's Defence minister Margarita Robles told the private TV channel Telecinco the government was "going to be strict and inflexible when dealing with the way older people are treated" in retirement homes.

"The army, during certain visits, found some older people completely abandoned, sometimes even dead in their beds," she said.

Health officials said that in normal circumstances the bodies of deceased residents are put in cold storage until they are collected by the funeral services.

But when the cause of death is suspected to be linked to coronavirus they are left in their beds until they can be retrieved by properly equipped funeral staff.

Officials say that could take up to 24 hours.

Spanish Health Minister Salvador Illa told a news conference that retirement homes were "an absolute priority for the government".

"We will exercise the most intensive monitoring of these centres," she added.

It comes after harrowing footage from inside a packed Spanish hospital has shown coughing patients lying on corridor floors as they wait for medical help during the coronavirus pandemic.

Spain announced earlier this week that it will unleash robots capable of testing 80,000 patients a day into the heart of its coronavirus fight.

The virus killed a further 462 people overnight in Spain, Europe's second hardest hit country after Italy, bringing the death toll to 2,182.

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