Spain sends out Covid-19 vaccine as Storm Filomena snow blocks roads

The heaviest snowfall in decades has cut off central areas of the country and killed four people

The Spanish government will send convoys carrying the Covid-19 vaccine and food supplies on Sunday to areas cut off by Storm Filomena.

Four people were killed when the country's central region had its heaviest snowfall in decades.

In the Madrid area, rescuers reached 1,500 people trapped in cars, while police broke up a large snowball fight after authorities appealed for citizens to stay at home to avoid accidents and spreading the coronavirus.

Forecasters warned of dangerous conditions in the coming days, with temperatures expected to fall to up to minus 10°C next week and the prospect of snow turning to ice and damaged trees falling.

“Due to the heavy snow in Madrid the airport has suspended operations at least until Sunday evening – if you are flying to or from Madrid, follow @aena or contact your airline,” Foreign Minister Arancha Gonzalez Laya tweeted.

About 20,000 kilometres of roads across central Spain were affected by the storm and the government would send convoys transporting the vaccine and food supplies to those in need, Transport Minister Jose Luis Abalos said on Saturday.

A 36-year-old woman gave birth in an ambulance in Madrid on Saturday after health workers were unable to get her to hospital.

One man and a woman in a car drowned after a river burst near Malaga in the south, while two homeless people froze to death in the capital Madrid and in Calatayud in the east, officials said.

The State Meteorological Agency said as much as 20 to 30 centimetres of snow fell in Madrid on Saturday, the most since 1971.