Barcelona funeral home closes parking garage morgue

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Head mortician Jordi Fernandez, walks next to the coffin of the last COVID-19 victim stored at an underground parking garage that was turned into a morgue, at the Collserola funeral home in Barcelona, Spain Sunday May 17, 2020. A funeral home in Barcelona has closed a temporary morgue it had set up inside its parking garage to keep the victims of the Spanish city’s coronavirus outbreak. The last coffin was removed and buried on Sunday. In 53 days of use, the temporary morgue has held more than 3,200 bodies. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)

BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — A funeral home in Barcelona has closed a temporary morgue it had set up inside its parking garage to handle the overflow of victims of the Spanish city’s coronavirus outbreak. The last coffin was removed and buried Sunday.

More than 3,200 victims of COVID-19 passed through the temporary morgue in 53 days of use, the funeral home said.

Seeing the jump in deaths as the outbreak picked up speed in March, the funeral home run by the private company Mémora said it decided to close its parking garage and condition it to safely keep the deceased inside their coffins.

“We installed refrigeration units to get the same conditions inside the funeral homes,” company spokesman Fernando Sánchez told The Associated Press.

A strict two-month lockdown by Spain has succeeded in slowing down the contagion and the national daily death count has fallen from more than 900 at the worst point of the outbreak to under 100 on Sunday.

Barcelona and the surrounding Catalonia region are only second to Madrid in virus deaths and infections for Spain. Catalonia has confirmed nearly 6,000 deaths and more than 54,000 infections from the virus.

A similar overflow of COVID-19 victims in Madrid led to city officials temporarily converting an ice rink into a morgue. It was closed last month.

Sánchez said the funeral home will reopen a section of the parking garage for public use, while keeping the refrigeration units in place in case the facility is needed again in the coming months when authorities have warned that another wave of infections could appear.

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Follow AP coverage of the virus outbreak at https://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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