Chakir El Homrani and Carmen Calvo test positive for covid-19

Catalonia’s work minister and Spain’s vice president latest political figures to contract coronavirus

Spanish vice president Carmen Calvo and Catalan vice president Pere Aragonès in Madrid on February 26, 2020 (by Gemma Tubert)
Spanish vice president Carmen Calvo and Catalan vice president Pere Aragonès in Madrid on February 26, 2020 (by Gemma Tubert) / ACN

ACN | Barcelona

March 25, 2020 08:02 PM

Catalonia's minister for work, Chakir El Homrani, and Spain's first vice president, Carmen Calvo, were both confirmed to have the covid-19 coronavirus on Wednesday, making them the latest political figures to contract the illness.

They are both the third members of the Catalan and Spanish cabinets to be infected with the deadly disease. 

Catalan vice president Pere Aragonès tested positive for covid-19 on March 15, while President Quim Torra announced he had contracted the illness the following day. 

In a parliamentary meeting held via video link on Wednesday, Aragonès said he "overcame" the virus and now finds himself in better health. 

Barcelona mayor Ada Colau spent two weeks in quarantine after showing symptoms of the disease, but tests came back negative for covid-19. 

In Madrid, equality minister Irene Montero tested positive for the disease a number of days prior to Aragonès, while territorial minister Carolina Darias was also confirmed as a positive case the same day. 

After Montero had tested positive, tests were carried out on all Spanish cabinet members, while it has also been confirmed that Begoña Gómez, the wife of Spanish president Pedro Sánchez, has covid-19 too.

Some senior members of the far-right Vox party, including leader Santiago Abascal and the party's second-in-command Javier Ortega Smith, were also confirmed as positive cases. 

Politicians want to 'work together' to prevent health system collapse

On Wednesday, a rare Catalan parliamentary meeting took place via video-link due to the coronavirus crisis. In it, president Quim Torra stated that without a complete lockdown, which only the Spanish government can enforce, the current exceptional measures could be in place until June. 

Politicians of all sides warned of a collapse of the health system, and opposition leader, unionist Ciudadanos' Carlos Carrizosa, urged unity and "responsibility" in the face of this unprecedented situation. 

Carrizosa, along with the Catalan Socialists' Miquel Iceta, also called for the army to be deployed in Catalonia in order to help with the situation.