Marcos Lamelas. Barcelona 04/05/2020 05:00
The President of the Generatidat, Quim Torra, in a public appearance. (EFE)
The Generalitat offered this Saturday a picture of total shipwreck after a month of coronavirus crisis. At the same time that Pedro Sánchez announced that he was extending the state of alarm, four ‘consellers’, headed by the head of the Presidency, Meritxell Budó, were unable to give an image of having the situation under control. The lifting of the Igualada blockout seemed arbitrary, they were not able to explain the problems with the tests, they had to rectify the death toll in Igualada, admitting that there may be many more than they had reported hours before; And, the worst: in no case could they give the impression of having controlled the situation of the epidemic in the nursing homes, no matter how much the ‘counselor’ of the field, Chakir El Homrani, joined in the public appearance, many times to throw balls out or hold Salut’s ‘counselor’, Alba Vergés, from the same party as Homrani, ERC, as responsible.
Hours before, Quim Torra had sent a letter to all the mayors to try to lead the Catalan municipal government against the Spanish Government and hold it accountable for the situation. But throughout the day the ‘president’ himself was being proved in failure. Ada Colau distanced herself from the Generalitat and even, exaggerating, assured that the radical confinement had been led by her, something false, on the other hand. Much more serious was that the mayor of Igualada, Marc Castells (JxCAT), charged against Alba Vergés for having filled her mouth saying that for the first time in a day there had been no deaths in Igualada. Castells explained that there had been 11 deaths.
At the press conference of the contradictions, Vergés had to admit that “the official data in our circuit, which now includes information from the funeral homes, now total 147 deaths from coronavirus. And we are studying 21 more cases”. In other words, Mayor Castells was finally admitted to be right when two days ago he was already assuring that the dead amounted to 140. In his statement on Saturday, Salut still numbered those killed in Igualada due to the pandemic at 107.
It was not the only uprising focus in the municipalities that are seeing how the Generalitat does not know what to do with the pandemic. The socialist municipalities rejected Torra’s claim. Some went further, as is the case of Vilanova del Camí – one of the municipalities that has suffered the confinement of Igualada. Its mayor, Noemí Trucharte, has announced that the consistory will go to the Prosecutor’s Office so that the Generalitat responds for the 20 deaths in eight days that have occurred in the Amavir senior center. There are almost 100 elderly and 80 workers to whom the Generalitat does not test for the disease despite this situation, according to complaints from center staff.
The hell of nursing homes
And if the municipal front of Torra died before being born, the hell of the nursing homes does not stop increasing. The Generalitat acknowledges that 571 people have died in asylums since March 15, according to Homrani, who to this day continues to be unable to explain whether those deaths are within the 2,058 total deaths. Some are believed to be and some are not. But the Generalitat, literally, is not clear about it.
When journalists complained to Homrani that why there were no quick tests in the nursing homes, he passed the ball to Alba Vergés who could only point out that: “We have done more than 50,000 PCR tests – the normal ones, which are safer – and we have increased our ability to do PCR tests. 25,000 tests have arrived and we are waiting for 20,000 more to arrive between Sunday and Monday”. However, Vergés did not explain when or where these rapid tests will begin, or with what criteria they would be carried out.
Few criticisms of Spain
There was, however, little criticism of the Spanish Government. It was not convenient on a day when the Executive had sent 50 new respirators that were distributed among the Germans Trias i Pujol, Sant Pau, Parc Taulí, Josep Trueta and Arnau de Vilanova hospitals. Ten to each of them. It was good news, maybe the only one they had, but they preferred to ignore it.
Meanwhile, the Generalitat’s solution for nursing homes is for families to take their loved ones back home. After doing the coronavirus test? No. Because it is not yet known when the tests they have will be used, or with whom, according to what was recognized this Saturday. It doesn’t seem the wisest thing to do in the middle of an epidemic. Homrani could not even explain how many old people have already settled in their families’ homes. More lack of control. As with Igualada, as with the dead. As with everything.
And everything indicates that Igualada will soon disappear from the political debate in Catalonia. As a symbol of how there was a “Catalan” way of dealing with the Covid-19 crisis, the javelin that was thrown again and again against the Spanish Government has become a symptom of everything that the Generalitat is doing wrong in this crisis. In fact, it is paradigmatic that not a ‘conseller’ has visited the area in these three weeks. And more so since Alba Vergés is from Igualada, the same as the ‘conseller’ for Business, Àngels Chacón, who chose to cross the line and stay within the isolated area. Police sources point out that the main reason for lifting the siege has been that you could not have so many Mossos troops immobilized in something that was useless. And the problem was not to err with such an unknown virus. The sin was to persist in the mistake for two weeks, since once the outbreak jumped to Capellades, 15 minutes away by car, it was clear that nothing could be done. It was March 19. Since then, useless effort.