Catalan president Quim Torra has made three broad proposals to Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez to fight the spread of COVID-19: a comprehensive stay-at-home order; full protection for workers, the self-employed and vulnerable people; steps to reduce the economic impact of the crisis; and measures to bolster the health system based on equitable criteria. In a videoconference this morning, the president called for “more drastic measures” in line with the principles and recommendations put forward by experts.
Comprehensive stay-at-home order
President Torra once again called on PM Sánchez to issue a comprehensive stay-at-home order, stop all but essential activities, and only allow local travel by key workers. “We know, as the best scientists are telling us, that it’s essential to order everyone to stay at home and to stop all work activity that’s not related to essential services, including the production and distribution of food and drugs. In the absence of such an order, people have to go to work and put their own health and that of others at risk. The contagion rate and the number of deaths are growing at an alarming pace.”
The head of the executive stressed that the Catalan government has been calling for these measures for 10 days now and has received no response from the central government. “Today, four regional presidents expressed support for the measures I’m proposing, and I’d like to thank them because it gives us strength after facing so many accusations,” said the president, noting that the Spanish executive has promised to study the proposals.
Full protection for workers, the self-employed and vulnerable people, and measures to reduce the economic and social fallout of the crisis
President Torra also called for the urgent strengthening of measures already approved by the Spanish government to prepare for the day after the pandemic and avert a long-lasting social and economic crisis. “We need a series of guarantees to ensure that workers, the self-employed, the voluntary sector and everyone else feel confident that they can stay at home during the period of confinement we’re calling for.” Torra said that the sooner such guarantees were put in place, the better.
The president proposed 22 specific measures focusing on the economy; healthcare; social measures; employment, SMEs and self-employed workers; funding for companies; research and telecommunications.
Urgent measures to bolster the health system in a way that is “fair and transparent”
Finally, President Torra urged the Spanish government to define transparent, equitable criteria for the distribution of protective and treatment equipment and diagnostic tests. He said this had been one of the main points discussed during the meeting. “We’ve proposed that the Spanish government maintain a dialogue with the autonomous communities on this point.”
The head of the executive stressed the urgent need for supplies and said it was important to avoid situations that could “lead to grievances or generate false rumours around a sensitive issue like this, which is affecting hospitals and health centres throughout Spain and Catalonia”. To prevent such reactions, President Torra is proposing that “fair criteria for the distribution of health supplies” be announced as soon as possible.