Elderly people have been found dead and abandoned in nursing homes in Spain, the country’s defence minister has said.

Margarita Robles, speaking in a television interview, said the army had made the discoveries while disinfecting old people’s homes.

She said although “the vast majority” of nursing homes “are fulfilling the obligation” to care for their residents, others that are not.

Robles did not specify which nursing homes she was referring to or how many were abandoning their care obligations.

The Spanish Prosecutor’s Office said the military had verified “the existence of elderly people, some of them ill, residing in extreme situations and poor conditions, as well as deceased residents”.

An investigation has been launched, it added.

On Monday it emerged 20 people at a nursing home in France were found dead with a “possible link to COVID-19”.

But there is no suggestion of negligence in this case.

COVID-19 is providing deadlier for the elderly and vulnerable than younger people, according to data from 1,600 deaths in Italy.

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