THE first patients have arrived at a temporary hospital set up in Madrid’s massive IFEMA conference centre as hospitals are overwhelmed with coronavirus cases.

Since last night (Saturday, March 21) about 70 people have been referred to the facility. At the moment there are 200 beds set up in halls six and seven for patients with ‘mild’ cases of COVID-19.

Ifema Patient
WHEELED IN: Patients started arriving last night. Photo: Comunidad de Madrid.

But the centre is gearing up for higher volumes, with the capacity being expanded to 1,300 conventional and 96 intensive care beds.

Halls one, three and five are also available in case the emergency demands it, with plans for up to 5,000 beds should it be necessary.

The sheer volume of people affected by the virus has seen health facilities overwhelmed.

Ifema Hospital
EMERGENCY: Staff preparing for influx of patients. Photo: Comunidad de Madrid.

The La Paz hospital is extending its emergency area with a tent outside. To help with the crisis the Via Castellana Hotel has been assigned for the use of La Paz patients.

From today it will start receiving up to 60 patients at a time. These will be people who are now recovering but cannot self isolate at home.

Ifema Hosp 2
READY: Patients will find a bed at IFEMA. Photo: Comunidad de Madrid.

The Madrid region has already suffered 1,021 of the 1,720 coronavirus deaths in Spain. It has 9,702 confirmed cases.

Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez has warned that the hardest phase is yet to come.

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