The Spanish government has nationalised all private hospitals as the spread of COVID-19 continues to grip the country.
The step was announced by Salvador Illa, Spain’s health minister, The Guardian reported, as part of a raft of measures rolled out to combat the spread of the virus.
Illa also said fourth-year medical students in Spain would be asked to help the country’s health service, while companies capable of producing medical equipment should get in touch with the government.
Spain is one of the worst-affected countries outside China, and its government has taken a number of extraordinary steps in an attempt to combat the spread of the coronavirus.
The government last week declared a state of national emergency, closing schools and public spaces and telling citizens they can leave the house only to go to work and buy essentials like food and medicine.
Madrid has also closed restaurants, bars, and shops — except for supermarkets and pharmacies.
There were 9,191 confirmed cases of the virus in Spain as of Monday, with 309 deaths linked to it.
‘Disgraceful’ private healthcare firms
Jeremy Corbyn branded private hospitals in the UK “disgraceful” for charging the NHS £300-a-bed for coronavirus patients.
The Labour leader hit out at the plans which could see ministers paying around £2.4m-a-day for the use of 8,000 private hopsital beds in an effort to relieve pressure on the NHS as the coronavirus outbreak intensifies.
Shadow Health Secretary Jon Ashworth had already backed a call by the GMB Union, which represents NHS staff, to “requisition” beds in private hospitals to tackle the crisis, but Mr Corbyn said the facilities should be provided “rent free”.
In a tweet on Saturday, he said: “It’s disgraceful that private healthcare companies are making a profit out of the coronavirus.
“The beds should be used by the NHS. Rent free.”