Catalan president: Lifting total lockdown now will 'increase transmissions'
Quim Torra sends letter to Pedro Sánchez as Spain will allow employees of non-essential activities go to work from Monday
All workers of non-essential services will be allowed to work from Monday in the whole of Spain – which means that in Catalonia, around 900,000 to 1 million people might be forced to go to their workplace from Tuesday, as Monday is a bank holiday in Catalonia.
On Sunday morning, the Catalan president, Quim Torra, sent a letter to Spain's leader, Pedro Sánchez, saying that according to the reports with which his executive work, "lifting these confinement measures from next Monday, April 13 will lead to an increase of transmissions and a collapse of Catalonia's health system."
Therefore in the missive, Torra asks Sánchez to maintain the measures in place from March 30, including the prohibition to leave home to work except those providing essential services – something already requested by Catalonia since mid-March.
"We request that you send us the health and epidemiological reports that Spain's government has in order to lift the measures," the letter reads.
Torra says that his stance is backed by scientists and researchers in Catalonia, as well as the health department experts, the government's advising committee of experts, almost all officials of hospitals, professional associations and other entities representing the health sector in the country.
Regional presidents' meeting
Later on the day, the Catalan president rejected again Sánchez's plans in a regional presidents' meeting with Spain's leader.
According to presidential sources, Torra called the lifting of the ban "recklessness."
"We won't sit back and do nothing," the Catalan leader said in the meeting. "We will take measures in order to protect our people."
Plan to protect employees
During a press conference after the meeting, Torra specified some of these measures, including a plan to protect workers in Catalonia facing the end of their lockdown to be approved by an extraordinary cabinet meeting on Sunday evening.
Torra said the plan will include four items: "health control with the available tests," calling for joint responsibility of people, a plan to control potential crowds in public transport and workplaces, and enhanced measures for vulnerable groups.
He also insisted in the need of extending the total lockdown: "89% of our ICUs are full, healthcare professionals are overloaded, caring homes are in critical condition, we have no massive tests. And [Spain's government] wants to send one million Catalans to work [from Tuesday]."
For him, it has been proved that "small states and big ones but decentralized have been more efficient in order to fight against the pandemics."