Emergency Tents Back as Madrid Struggles to Curb Virus Wave

People wearing face masks to prevent the spread of coronavirus queue to buy lottery tickets in downtown Madrid, Spain, Friday, Sept. 18, 2020. With more than 11,000 new daily coronavirus cases, the attention in Spain is focusing on its capital, where officials are mulling localized lockdowns and other measures to bring down the curve of contagion. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)

MADRID (AP) – A line of green tents have been installed at the gates of a Madrid military hospital four months after similar structures to triage incoming coronavirus patients and to lighten the load at crammed emergency wards were taken down.

Spain’s Defense Ministry, which manages the Gómez Ulla military hospital, said Friday that the tents are empty for now, installed as a precaution in case the second COVID-19 wave taking hold in the Spanish capital continues to spread.

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With a rate of virus transmission six times higher than the national average in the 6.6 million Madrid region, authorities are set to announce Friday “drastic measures” to try to slow down the outbreaks. They could include localized lockdowns or other restrictions on movement centered in the city’s hardest-hit areas, which are also the poorest and more densely populated.

Spain on Thursday added more than 11,000 new infections and registered 162 new confirmed deaths for the new virus. The country has Europe’s highest caseload since the beginning of the pandemic. More than 625,000 people have been infected and at least 30,400 have died, according to the Health Ministry’s official data.

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