Spanish law enforcement officials said Monday that an investigation would be launched after soldiers reportedly found elderly citizens dead from the coronavirus abandoned in nursing homes.
“The army, during certain visits, found some older people completely abandoned, sometimes even dead in their beds,” Defense Minister Margarita Robles said on Monday, according to the BBC.
“We will be be totally relentless and assertive over this,” she added, according to Turkish state-run news organization Anadolu Agency.
Robles said that staff members at some care homes had fled the premises after the virus was first detected.
“We have a clear message: The law will fall on all those who don’t comply with their obligations in these residences.”
Nearly 40,000 cases of the coronavirus have been confirmed in Spain as the country tracks only behind Italy among the hardest-hit countries in Europe. The country’s death toll is now at almost 2,800, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
The country’s deputy prime minister is currently hospitalized awaiting treatment for a respiratory infection and has been tested for the coronavirus, though the results of that test have not yet been returned, a government spokesperson told Business Insider.
“The deputy Prime Minister went to a hospital yesterday afternoon and after medical tests were carried out doctors decided she had to remain there to receive treatment for a respiratory infection,” said the spokesperson.