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Catalan health minister, Alba Vergés, has announced the guidelines established by the healthcare ministry for a "safe de-escalation" of the lockdown. "If the evolution follows the current forecast, the lifting of the lockdown could begin at the end of April," said the minister, rejecting the Spanish government's idea of lifting the total lockdown due to coronavirus on Monday.

Vergés stressed that the strict measures have worked and that all experts consulted by her ministry assure that "a premature lifting of the lockdown could lead to an increase in cases".

The Catalan health minister disagrees with the Spanish government’s proposal and has pointed out that "it is better not to rush" as "the calendar is not ruled by Easter". Vergés has assured that the measures being taken up to now are "absolutely necessary" and "cannot be changed".

Along the same lines, Alba Vergés pointed out that not much time time is left before reaching the peak of infection and recalled that the Catalan government has always said that "the lifting of the lockdown would begin 14 days after reaching the peak".

The head of the public healthcare department, Joan Guix, also appeared to explain four key elements to ensure a safe resumption of activity. The first is to have a good surveillance system, know how to isolate cases when necessary, and conduct indicators of the virus’ evolution. Guix also highlighted the importance of maintaining the healthcare system as it is, reduce community transmission and communicate the risk (know how to explain at all times what is being done and why).

The seriously affected

On the other hand, Vergés explained at a press conference that coronavirus seriously affects 15% of the infected total and that it does not mean that "other healthcare system emergencies that have nothing to do with the virus" should not be attended.

In addition, she reported that the number of critical patients has stabilized at about 1,600 people. Primary care is currently monitoring the health status of 100,000 people.

Vergés has made it clear that everything possible is being done to increase the Catalan health system capacity, but that this effort "will be of no use if we are not able to reduce the pandemic".

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