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500,000 face masks arrive, with 50,000 rapid covid-19 tests due on Friday

As Spanish government faces criticism over centralized purchasing of supplies, Madrid says pandemic's peak could be close 

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26 March 2020 08:26 PM

by

ACN | Barcelona

Half a million surgical masks and 20,000 medical gowns have arrived in Catalonia, with some 50,000 rapid covid-19 tests due to arrive on Friday, said the Catalan health minister, Alba Vergés, on Thursday.

All of the medical supplies were purchased by the Catalan authorities, and Vergés said the initial batch of rapid tests would be followed by two more batches of 100,000 tests in the following days.

At the same time, the Spanish government's decision to centralize all purchases of medical supplies and distribute them to the autonomous communities came under fire, with the Catalan government saying the system "does not work."

"Centralized purchasing has been a failure. If from the beginning each territory had been allowed to make their own orders of this material, by now we'd have won valuable time that we don't have," said government spokeswoman, Meritxell Budó.

Meanwhile, as Spain registered more than 56,000 positive covid-19 cases and over 4,000 deaths, the health minister, Salvador Illa, informed the Spanish congress that "given all precautionary measures, we could be close to the curve's peak."

Saying that the Spanish government is now beginning to study what to do once the pandemic reaches its peak, Illa warned that "we will not be done with this in a week or two," and stressed the need to keep to confinement restrictions in the meantime.

 

 

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  • A medic puts on gloves before treating a patient with covid-19, March 23, 2020 (by Francisco Avia/Hospital Clínic de Barcelona)

  • A medic puts on gloves before treating a patient with covid-19, March 23, 2020 (by Francisco Avia/Hospital Clínic de Barcelona)

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