The Catalan government has warned the public to "not to let down its guard" and to ensure that they maintain Covid protection measures and follow all recommendations after expressing its concern about the latest figures for the pandemic in Catalonia. "We are at the beginning of the second wave," warned government spokesperson, Meritxell Budó, in the press conference this Tuesday after the cabinet meeting at which the health minister Alba Vergés reported on the new measures which the Procicat civil protection committee is finalizing.
The motivation for the alert is, as Budó explained, the data: the increase to 338 in the outbreak risk - a predictive indicator which is "high" when it exceeds 100 - while the Rt reproduction rate, which must be below 1 to slow the virus, is at 1.33, and this has resulted in an increase in the number of hospitalized patients and admissions to ICUs. The minister did not specify what measures the Catalan administration will introduce, although she explained that they will be aimed at reducing mobility and social interaction and will be closely in line with decisions taken in other European countries. They may be announced tomorrow Wednesday and will be applied over two weeks initially, with the option of possible extension depending on the situation.
State of alarm, never ruled out
The minister assured that if necessary, the government would have no problem asking the Spanish state to declare a state of alarm, but at present this is not the situation. "Depending on how the epidemiological results evolve, we do not rule out asking for the state of alarm," she admitted.
She assured that the government is not considering a perimeter confinement, but rather, other measures such as distance working to reduce mobility and interaction. The minister explained that right now 8% of people are using remote working via internet, and this could be increased to 25%, and the government is addressing the situation with employers and unions to promote this measure.
The Catalan government itself is considering returning to cabinet meetings via internet, in addition to imposing restrictions on the holding of events.
"Yes" to conference presence
Where the Catalan executive will be present, according to Budó, is at the conference of Spanish autonomous presidents called for October 26th, with the participation of European Commission president Ursula Von der Leyen, and where the distribution of European funds will be discussed. What the spokesperson did not specify is whether Catalan vice-president Pere Aragonès will represent the government at the meeting. She said it would be decided according to the agenda, given that Catalonia "does not have a president".
Budó also today addressed the industrial action by doctors working in primary care which has been called in Catalonia this week. She said the government had heard the message, that it is aware of the mental and physical fatigue of health workers. Some 5,900 doctors have been called on to take part in four days of strike action. Some unions have not supported the call, saying "now is not the time".