MADRID, Spain — The reports are simply stomach-turning. A country’s most helpless and vulnerable people are allegedly being left to fend for themselves – abandoned and left to die in nursing homes across Spain.

According to the BBC, army soldiers brought in to disinfect nursing homes found elderly people all alone. Some of them were dead in their beds.

The European news network reports Spanish prosecutors have launched a criminal investigation, saying they are "going to be strict and inflexible when dealing with the way older people are treated."

Spain is dealing with a lethal surge of COVID-19 cases – second only to the staggering numbers that have crippled Italy.

Virus Outbreak Spain
Police officers stand in front of Madrid's ice rink turned into a temporary morgue due the COVID-19 crisis in Madrid, Spain, Tuesday, March 24, 2020. Madrid's ice-skating rink is now being used as a makeshift morgue given the rapid increase in deaths in the Spanish capital. For some people the COVID-19 coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, but for some, it can cause severe illness, especially in older adults and people with existing health problems. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)

The World Health Organization, which tracks coronavirus statistics from around the world, is reporting 1,720 deaths. But the BBC is citing the Spanish Health Ministry, which puts the number at 2,696.

Spain’s 46 million people have been locked down since March 14. The rules are so strict, according to Forbes, that even taking a walk outside has been banned.

People are only allowed to leave their homes to buy food and medicine.

Virus Outbreak Spain
People look out from a window inside of a nursing home where dead bodies were found at the nursing homes of Usera in Madrid, Spain, Tuesday, March 24, 2020. Spanish army troops disinfecting nursing homes have found, to their horror, some residents living in squalor among the infectious bodies of people that authorities suspect have died from the new coronavirus. Prosecutors have launched a judicial probe. For some, it can cause more severe illness, especially in older adults and people with existing health problems. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)

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