Nurses and doctors demanded action after Spain reported its sharpest daily increase in coronavirus cases on Tuesday and said about 14% of the nearly 40,000 infections were among health workers.
Nursing union SATSE said Madrid’s hospitals were on “the verge of collapse” and needed urgent support, while a doctors’ union said it had filed a lawsuit demanding protective equipment within 24 hours.
The capital’s Palacio de Hielo mall, home to an Olympic-sized ice rink, began operating as a makeshift mortuary after authorities said facilities were unable to cope.
The Health Ministry reported around 6,600 new cases and 500 deaths overnight. Spain is Europe’s worst-hit country after Italy and has recorded 2,696 deaths.
Health emergency chief Fernando Simon attributed the nearly 14% infection rate among medical staff to limited availability of protective equipment and several early clusters of the virus occurring in hospitals.
He said pressure on intensive-care units would continue even after transmission of the virus among the general population had peaked.
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