Spain pays homage to victims and heroes of coronavirus disaster

King Felipe VI of Spain (2L) and his daughter Crown Princess Leonor of Spain leave roses next to a cauldron, flanked by the brother of Spanish journalist Jose Maria Calleja, who died of COVID-19, Hernando Calleja (R) and the Catalan nurse Aroa Lopez (L) during a state ceremony to honour the 28,400 victims of the coronavirus crisis as well as those public servants who have been fighting on the front line against the pandemic in Spain, on July 16, 2020, at the Royal Palace in Madrid. (Photo by Fernando Alvarado / POOL / AFP)


Spain paid tribute Thursday to the nation’s victims of the brand new coronavirus and employees who put their lives in danger through the worst of the pandemic with a solemn state ceremony in Madrid.

Relatives of round 100 individuals who died through the pandemic, representatives of medical personnel, police and different important employees joined King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia, authorities members and officers from the European Union and the World Health Organization at an esplanade in Madrid’s Royal Palace.

The visitors, masked and seated in a socially distanced trend surrounding a central cauldron, included representatives from a dozen non secular organizations and ambassadors. The ceremony was proven stay on tv and on-line.

In an emotional speech, Hernando Calleja mentioned he was sharing the ache of the lack of his brother José María, a well known journalist and author in Madrid, with different kinfolk of “anonymous” victims.

“Let’s not forget that the coronavirus was and continues to be a cold, cruel and wrecking executioner,” Calleja mentioned.

Aroa López, a nurse from the Vall d’Hebron hospital in Barcelona, spoke representing employees in hospitals, well being facilities and laboratories, at the least 52.600 of whom have been recognized as contaminated with the virus. She additionally remembered truck drivers, cleaners and 1000’s of others who “took care of the millions of Spaniards who were confined.”

After telling how some well being employees made videocalls between kinfolk and dying sufferers, or held the fingers of those that didn’t need to die alone, she urged politicians to guard the general public well being system.

“Who will take care of us if the person who takes care of us cannot do it?” she implored. “Let us never forget the lesson learned.”

As a stay efficiency of string music took over from the phrases, attendees left white roses by the cauldron.

The nation’s monarch praised the residents’ response to the outbreak and known as for accountable conduct in preventing the virus.

“We have a moral obligation to always recognize and respect the dignity of the deceased and a civic duty to promote the best values that underlie our society,” Felipe VI mentioned earlier than the ceremony got here to an finish with a minute of silence.

All Spanish political events attended the state tribute apart from the far-right Vox, whose chief has known as the occasion an “act of propaganda” and “an exculpatory ceremony” for the left-wing ruling coalition led by Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez.

Spain has formally recorded 28,413 victims who died after testing optimistic for the Covid-19 illness, though extra mortality figures recommend the precise determine is 1000’s greater. The nation is grappling with dozens of contemporary outbreaks after it emerged from a strict lockdown final month.


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