MADRID (AP) — Spain is paying homage to the nation's victims of the new coronavirus and workers who put their lives at risk during the worst of the pandemic, with a solemn ceremony in Madrid.
Relatives of around 100 people who died during the pandemic, representatives of medical personnel, police and other essential workers are joining King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia, government authorities and officials from the European Union and the World Health Organization at an esplanade in Madrid’s Royal Palace.
The guests, masked and seated in a socially distanced fashion surrounding a central cauldron, include representatives from a dozen religious organizations and ambassadors. The ceremony is being shown live on television and online.
All political parties are attending except for the far-right Vox, whose leader has called the event “an exculpatory ceremony” for the left-wing ruling coalition led by Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez.
Spain has officially recorded 28,413 victims who died after testing positive for the COVID-19 disease, although excess mortality figures suggest the actual figure is thousands higher.