Madrid closes hospital set up in conference centre as cases fall

Madrid (dpa) - Spain closed a sprawling field hospital at a Madrid conference centre on Friday that was established to handle the large numbers of patients infected with the novel coronavirus.

The closure holds symbolic importance in the hard-hit country's battle against the epidemic and was taken as the number of infections falls rapidly. 
More than 4,000 people were treated at the hospital, where only 17 people died. Those healed include a 103-year-old woman, according to the leader of the Madrid region, Isabel Diaz Ayuso, at the closing ceremony.
She said she was sure that such a hospital would never again be needed, even if the virus flares up again in autumn, because Madrid's health care system has been reformed and modernized. 
The hospital at the Ifema conference centre - which is normally used for fairs, exhibitions and cultural activities - was set up in a record 48 hours and contained 1,350 beds, 16 of which were equipped for intensive care. At a royal visit, King Felipe VI called the hospital a place of hope for Spain's morale.
More than 215,000 people suffered from the virus, and 24,800 died, according to the latest figures from Spain on Friday. Madrid, with more than 60,000 infections, was worst affected throughout the country. 
The numbers of infections are now falling and the government has started to ease the lockdown, allowing people to take walks or do sports starting from Saturday. 


Friday, May 1st 2020

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