Coronavirus fallout: Hunger queues in Madrid in wake of COVID-19 lockdown.

A trail of hunger left by COVID-19 is flooding the streets of Madrid.

Spain has recently made huge strides in curbing its COVID-19 outbreak. But millions of residents are now paying the price of weeks of economic shutdown.

And for a growing number of people, food banks and neighbourhood associations are currently the only things helping to cushion the blow.

According to the federation of neighbourhood associations, more than 100,000 people in the capital are turning to social services and neighbourhood aid networks to get the food they need to survive.

Spain has now started to gradually ease one of the strictest lockdowns in the world, which it introduced mid-March to fight the coronavirus pandemic. COVID-19 has killed more than 27,000 people in the country and infected more than 277,000.

However, Madrid and Barcelona remain largely shut down and have been told by the central government to wait until they improve their capacity to track new cases.

That has led to complaints by regional leaders and to daily anti-lockdown protests in Madrid and other cities including Salamanca and Zaragoza. Spain's far-right Vox party and the conservative leader of the Madrid region have voiced their support for the demonstrations, saying the city's economy must restart soon to save jobs.

According to Spain's National Statistics Institute (INE), the country's unemployment rate jumped to 14.4% in the first three months of this year.

According to official Spanish figures shared with the EU, more than 7 million people have applied for some kind of subsidy from the government – either because they have ceased their activity, or they have become temporarily or indefinitely unemployed.

But these figures do not take into account workers without a proper contract, who previously offered their services on the black market. Many of those invisible workers are now waiting in line for food handouts.