The prosecutor of the Supreme Court will be in charge of gathering information following the Army’s discovery of corpses in nursing homes, where people were kept in “extreme situations and poor sanitation” to determine if there is a case for possible criminal charges.

This was announced in a statement after the Defence Minister, Margarita Robles, said on that members of the Armed Forces, “have found elderly that were either dead in their beds or who had been completely abandoned after they had been brought in to help disinfect the homes.”

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. In Madrid, which has seen the highest number of cases and deaths, as well as the refusal of many undertakers to handle the bodies, that could take up to 24 hours, officials said.

All this, after the Madrid Provincial Prosecutor’s Office agreed, last Wednesday, to investigate events similar to those reported on Monday, the death of a number of elderly in the Monte Hermoso nursing home in Madrid.

For this reason, the prosecutor will investigate “the care of elderly people, some of them ill, residing in extreme situations and in poor health conditions, as well as deceased residents, and why such incidents are being allowed to occur.”

ENHANCE MONITORING

Due to the health crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Office of the Prosecutor has increased the monitoring of nursing homes with the government ordering Communities to take charge of such homes in the regions.

As a result, the State Attorney General, Dolores Delgado, held a meeting by videoconference, with senior prosecutors in which it was agreed to establish a network aimed at gathering information and issuing guidelines in order to act consistently in defence of the rights of these older people.

Members of the Armed Forces are currently working in 73 nursing homes throughout Spain, 18 of them in the Community of Madrid.

The 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,” he said.

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