Madrid’s authorities have taken the decision to close the makeshift hospital at IFEMA tradefair grounds, as the number of deaths from Covid-19 and the infection rate have fallen considerably in the capital and country, according to the latest bulletins from Spain’s Ministry of Health.
In total, over 215,000 active Covid-19 cases have been registered in Spain and 25,000 people have died in a country at the forefront of the coronavirus curve.
IFEMA was turned into a large field hospital in late March and admitted over 4,000 Covid-19 patients. Dr Antonio Zapatero, temporary Medical Director at the facility, said at the weekend: “The huge challenge is over thanks to the enthusiasm of so many people who wanted to help. The mission is accomplished.”
Some beds, however, are to remain in IFEMA in case of a second wave of infections and there will be a continuing logistical role but, as of 2 May, all patients have been discharged.
The move at IFEMA comes as the Spanish government’s new decree that now allows people to exercise outdoors for the first time in seven weeks.
From 9 May, a further easing of restrictions across Spain is set to follow.
The Spanish government has forecast the economy could contract by 9.2% and unemployment could rise to 19% in 2020 as a result of the pandemic.
The Madrid authorities’ ceremony to mark the winding up of the temporary hospital at IFEMA and salute the medical staff who took over the centre was, however, criticised on social media for not observing social distancing at the event.
Spain’s beaches and hotels still lie empty in a tourism sector that is one of the biggest contributors to the economy.
Mash Media's Stuart Wood adds: The Spanish government has set out a roadmap for how it will ease lockdown measures in the country, including the return of concerts and live events.
The recovery plan will have four phases. Phase zero runs until 11 May, after which phase one will allow 'cultural events' to return with a maximum capacity of 30 people for indoor venues that usually have 90 or more capacity.
For open air events, a maximum capacity of 200 people will be allowed, with social distancing rules applied. All outdoor events must be seated.
Capacity will increase for phase two, starting on 25 May, when indoor events will be allowed to welcome 50 people. Seated open-air events will be able to hold up ton 400 people. During this phase, cinemas and theatres will also reopen.
The final phase, beginning 8 June, will see clubs and bars reopened at a third of their usual capacity.