In Alicante, a Spanish port city popular with tourists, doctor Victor Pedrera said that on March 5, he asked the management of his healthcare centre and the local health authority to cancel all non-essential medical appointments to prepare for the pandemic.
The request was ignored, he said.
“I felt totally helpless, because more and more people with respiratory symptoms were coming,” he said. “It was like a tsunami movie where you see the wave coming and no one is doing anything.”
Only more than two weeks after Pedrera’s request did his clinic totally suspend non-essential appointments, he said.
Valencia’s health authority said it had recommended hospitals set up virtual appointments from early March, and had always acted to minimise the risk for the population.
Infections of healthcare workers have continued to rise.
On Monday Fernando Simon, the health emergency chief, tested positive for coronavirus.
The health ministry said Simon was not available to comment as he was in isolation. On Tuesday, he connected by video to the government’s daily news conference. He said, “I’m feeling very good. A good night’s sleep has done me good. I have to keep the quarantine even inside my house. I’m in my room and I’m not coming out of it.”[mr/reuters]