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  • BBC News

Coronavirus: Europe's care homes struggle as deaths rise

As nursing and care homes across Europe battle to stop the spread of Covid-19 among the elderly, France has revealed 884 residents have succumbed to the virus since the epidemic began.

Alarming cases have emerged in the Spanish capital Madrid, with reports of dozens of deaths in two nursing homes.

Residents were taken to hospital in the Italian city of Naples after a care home outbreak claimed several lives.

Cases have also been reported in 100 care homes around the Swedish capital.

Although authorities in the Stockholm region have not given figures, public broadcaster SVT says more than 400 people have been infected and about 50 have died.

What is happening in France?

For some time, French health officials have made clear the number of cases and fatalities they report every evening does not include nursing and care homes.

Late on Thursday, a top health official revealed that at least 884 people in such homes had died since the start of the pandemic, on top of the 4,503 fatalities across France.

Even that figure was incomplete, said Jérôme Salomon, as not all homes had passed on details.

The area worst affected is the Grand Est region near the German border, where two-thirds of care homes have been caught up in the pandemic. Regional health agency ARS says 570 elderly residents have died in the Grand Est.

While it is unclear how many deaths were caused by coronavirus or if it is was a contributing factor, one care home director in the Bas Rhin area told French TV that he would normally see 10 deaths a year, and he had seen five in March alone.


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