Spain coronavirus hell exposed: Up to 25 percent of health workers on sick leave

Spain’s healthcare is under a lot of stress according to medical director professor Julio Mayol who revealed up to 25 percent on them are off sick with coronavirus. The country’s confirmed cases of COVID-19 have soared in the past few days ahead of China along with, Italy and the US. Barring Italy, the virus has killed more people in Spain than anywhere else, triggering a lockdown that has brought economic activity to a virtual standstill. A survey showed Spain’s manufacturing sector is heading for a slump after shrinking in March at its steepest pace since 2013.

Speaking to Sky News, Professor Mayol said: “It is a difficult time as I mentioned before.

“Between 15 and 25 percent of health care workers are isolated on sick leave because of direct contact with coronavirus.

“This puts the system under a lot of stress and first they witness how patients die in isolation.

“This is emotionally devastating.

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“In addition to that, they also suffer the infection which is also very demanding on them.

“They feel frustrated.”

It comes as two planes packed with protective equipment arrived to restock Spain’s overloaded public health system on Wednesday as its confirmed coronavirus cases rose beyond 100,000 and it recorded its biggest one-day death toll from the outbreak.

Health emergency chief Fernando Simon, who was himself diagnosed with the virus this week, told a briefing: “The central issue is no longer whether we’ve reached the peak or not, it seems like we are there.

“The key issue is to make sure that the national health system is capable of guaranteeing adequate coverage of all our patients and treatment.”

Madrid’s regional government said it was treating more than 700 patients in 11 hotels requisitioned for the purpose.

Health Minister Salvador Illa said the growth rate of contagion was slowing and, after the peak was over, “the second stage will be to reverse it and the third to eradicate the virus.”

Most of Spain has been under lockdown since March 14, with all but essential workers confined to their homes after the state of emergency was tightened. But the virus has continued to spread, overburdening the health system and straining supplies of crucial medical equipment.


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A cluster of infections has sprung up around Moncloa Palace, the seat of Spain’s government, with three ministers catching the virus as well as Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez’ wife and father-in-law.

Three members of the five-strong coronavirus task force, which has been updating the nation on the epidemic via daily briefings televised from the palace, have also tested positive.

In the region of Catalonia, which has the highest number of coronavirus patients in intensive care, the medical emergency service (SEM) issued an internal protocol recommending foregoing intensive ventilator therapy for patients older than 80 and prioritising those with “maximum survival capacity”.

The document, dated March 25, was seen by Reuters on Wednesday. SEM medical director Xavier Jimenez said the criteria used were “generic, ethical, deontological and common-sense”, and adapted to every individual case regardless of age.

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