Coronavirus: First hearses arrive at makeshift Madrid morgue as toll mounts

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The first hearses arrived on Tuesday at Madrid's ice rink, hastily transformed into a makeshift mortuary as Spanish authorities scrambled to deal with a rising death toll from the coronavirus.

Footage from Reuters TV showed vehicles at the building cordoned off by police officers in masks.

Authorities said on Monday (March 23) facilities could not cope and agreed to transform the Palacio de Hielo mall, home to an Olympic-sized ice rink, into a morgue.

Spain is Europe's second-worst hit country after Italy, with 2,696 deaths and nearly 40,000 confirmed cases after 6,600 cases and more than 500 deaths were reported overnight, the sharpest daily increase since the start of the crisis.

Around 14 percent of infections are among health workers.

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