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The Catalonia High Court has received a judge's submission arguing that Catalan president Quim Torra and his health minister Alba Vergés should be investigated for failing to allow the opening of a coronavirus field hospital in the town of Sant Andreu de la Barca, close to Barcelona. Now the court has to decide whether to admit the accusation of serious negligence causing manslaughter. Meanwhile, the judge making the submission, from a court of first instance in nearby Martorell, has opened her own investigation to clarify why the Catalan government rejected the field hospital set up by Spain's Civil Guard in Sant Andreu de la Barca.

The opening of the court file on the matter follows an allegation first made on April 8th by an individual, and later supported by public prosecutors, accusing the Catalan president and the health minister of causing manslaughter through negligence. The complainant considers that the health ministry "unjustifiably" denied the opening of the hospital because it was mounted by Spain's Civil Guard and the Spanish Army's Military Emergencies Unit, presenting as evidence a digital news story and material from a Twitter account.

In a court session last Monday, the judge of first instance gave 24 hours for the municipality of Sant Andreu de la Barca, the Civil Guard, and the Catalan health ministry to give their explanations on who was responsible for denying the permission to open for the field hospital, and the reasons for the decision.

The judge also asked the Martorell Hospital to inform whether it had turned patients away in the last week due to a lack of capacity and, if so, to which medical centre they were then referred.

As well, the forensic medicine specialist assigned to the Martorell courts was asked by the judge to assess the field hospital's capacity and suitability to accept patients with coronavirus.

The Martorell judge acknowledged that a digital news report (in Crónica Global) and comments on Twitter were insufficient to sustain the allegations, and that the complaint had failed to show that Martorell Hospital did not have the necessary resources for coronavirus patients, but "considered it essential to agree to investigate the matter urgently".

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