Coronavirus cases rise to 32, with first patient in serious condition
Three other new cases have mild symptoms, with a 29-year-old woman also suspected to have Covid-19
Cases of coronavirus in Catalonia rose from 28 to 32, announced the Catalan health department on Thursday afternoon.
One of these four cases, a 50-year-old man from Barcelona, is in a serious condition, due to a previous condition.
He is the first of the 32 patients with coronavirus declared for now that has serious symptoms.
The other three cases are in mild condition and come from the Catalan capital: a 39-year-old woman, a 57-year-old woman and a 34-year-old man.
In addition, the health secretary, Joan Guix, said in a press conference that a 29-year-old woman in serious condition is being investigated as she might also been infected with Covid-19.
Guix added that the patient had a "major" respiratory condition and he hoped, following tests, they would soon be able to confirm or rule out Covid-19 as the cause.
The four cases confirmed on Thursday all arose through contact with other positive cases. "We are in the second generation so to speak." said Guix.
Catalan health authorities estimate that there are about 500 people in isolation at the moment, due to contact with people who have the infection. These 500 people are being monitored and confined according to protocols.
In the 24 hours between 7am on Wednesday and the same time on Thursday, the health service received around 1,000 calls to the emergency number, 061, related to coronavirus inquiries.
It was also announced during the press conference that any congresses and seminars aimed at healthcare professionals would be suspended for the time being, but the health department is ruling out closing schools or universities.
"The situation is Italy is very different," explained Guix, emphasizing that the situation in Catalonia in terms of epidemiological control was "very good."
The health service was preparing to purchase large numbers of protective equipment such as masks or gowns to guarantee all health professional have the material they need, Guix added.
International Women's Day Strike
Josep González, the president of the employers’ association Pimec has asked that basic services in the health sector remain at 100% during the International Women’s Day strike on Sunday, 8 March.
González, who represents small and medium-sized Catalan businesses, said that strikes need to be "respected", but that the coronavirus situation also need to be taken into account.
David Tornos, the head of Foment, another employers’ association, said his organization did not support the strike and predicted that it would be limited as it is not backed by major unions.
On the other hand, the CCOO and UGT unions did call for mobilization during the day despite not officially supporting the shutdown convened by the IAC, Intersindical-CSC and CGT unions.