Hospital staff in Spain wheels recovering coronavirus patients to the beach

BARCELONA - A hospital in Spain is taking coronavirus patients on trips to the sea as part of their recovery from the illness.

Photos shows medical staff at the Hospital del Mar in Barcelona wheeling patients recovering from the virus to the beach on Wednesday, offering them a scenic view of the Mediterranean Sea. The beach trip is part of a program to humanize intensive care units, according to BBC News.

The head of the hospital’s ICU told Catalan daily newspaper ARA Societat that it has been doing therapeutic outings on Barcelona’s seafront promenade with some patients for a couple of years.

Spain was the second European country after Italy to be forcefully hit by COVID-19. The pandemic then spread death in France and Britain.

Spain implemented one of the world’s strictest lockdowns in mid-March, which included a home confinement rule for children under 14 years old that lasted for 44 days. Adults could only leave home for essential shopping or to make unavoidable commutes to work.

The restrictions have gradually eased as the medical situation improves. As of June 4, Spain’s death toll stands at more than 27,000 people with 240,326 cases, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins.

Intensive care staff at the Hospital del Mar are pictured with a recovering COVID-19 patient at the beach on June 3, 2020 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)

Spain on Monday reported no official deaths from the new coronavirus in a 24-hour period for the first time since March.

The development is “very, very encouraging,” emergency health response chief Fernando Simón said.

“We are in a very good place in the evolution of the pandemic,” Simón said. “The statistics are following a trend. They are going in the right direction.”

Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez asked parliament on Wednesday for an extension of the government’s special emergency powers for another two weeks. That enables authorities to order people to stay home.

Simón said recent hot spots caused by people holding unauthorized “fiestas” can potentially bring a major new resurgence.

“We are still at risk. Any of these outbreaks can mean a new wave of infections,” he said. “We must remain cautious.”

This story was reported from Cincinnati. The Associated Press contributed.