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Pharmacies will have 14 million masks to distribute among Catalan residents

Masks to be available on April 20 while Spanish authorities also commit to handing them out at public transport stops 

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10 April 2020 03:42 PM

by

ACN | Barcelona

Catalan pharmacies will have 14 million masks to distribute among residents. Although president Quim Torra initially announced in an interview with Catalan radio station RAC1 that they would be available from April 14, on Friday it was confirmed that they would actually be ready on April 20

Torra explained on Thursday that the masks would be distributed in an "orderly" manner, with people being able to claim them showing their CatSalut public health card

In his opinion, gloves and masks should be compulsory in public – yet, Spain's cabinet is the one with powers to take such a decision.

Catalan government spokesperson Meritxell Budó also stated in a press conference on Thursday that 100,000 of these masks are expected to arrive next week and that everybody's first mask will be free.

Having supplies of health material, a "feat" 

Torra criticized the centralized sales of health material imposed by the Spanish government as the state of alarm came into force, calling it "havoc."

"One day we will have to explain the feat of the Catalan government to go to the global market. I have spent a full day looking for medical gowns," he said. 

Torra also censured the comments by Spain's leader, Pedro Sánchez, who in congress on Thursday morning said that the Covid-19 crisis "is under control." 

"I understand it is not easy to say it, but we have to: the situation is very difficult," Torra retorted. 

He also insisted in Catalonia's stance against lifting the lockdown for workers of non-essential services next week, as Spain plans, and said this cannot be done without testing people.

"Without tests, going to work is recklessness," he emphasized.

Applying for CatSalut card online

Residency papers are not required to obtain a CatSalut health card, even under normal circumstances, as people are only required to prove that they live in Catalonia.

The Catalan health department now allows residents to apply for the card online due to the health crisis.

Spanish government to distribute masks

Spanish authorities announced on Friday that they would begin to distribute facemasks at public transport stops on Monday as people employed in non-essential sectors will be allowed to leave home to go to work.

Health minister Salvador Illa also said that the government recommends the use of masks in addition to following other hygiene and social distancing measures and confirmed that another million rapid diagnostic tests would be given to regional authorities throughout Spain starting on Friday. 

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