‘Unsustainable’ Expats face Christmas nightmare as Spanish hospitals cave under Omicron

Spain: British expat questions enforcement of Covid passes

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On Thursday, Spain recorded 72,912 new Covid cases and 82 new deaths, with infections climbing due to the Omicron variant. Reports from the country suggest primary care centres now fear a collapse after Christmas due to the surge in infections.

Reports from Spanish outlet 20 Minutos say an emergency room in La Paz, Madrid, has 18 patients in a 12-bed ward and elderly people sitting in armchairs as there is not enough space for them to lie down.

Juan González Armengol, head of Emergency at the Hospital Clínico San Carlos, told the newspaper hospitals across Spain are seeing a surge in hospitalisations.

He said: “This wave is directly affecting us, the emergency services.

“Both in Madrid and in other regions, we are doubling the number of patients.

“It is true that many cases are mild forms, if not, we would be completely collapsed as a system, but little by little hospitalisations are increasing.”

Òscar Miró, research coordinator of the Emergency Department of the Hospital Clínic de Barcelona, echoed Mr Armengol’s fears about the spike in cases.

He said: “Usually, from twelve, one, two o’clock in the morning, the activity of the emergency services decreases, but not now.

“In the early hours of the morning, the emergency department visits patients who have been arriving since midday and in the afternoon and who have not been attended due to lack of space and resources.

“They are on the verge of collapse.”

Other Spanish doctors noted that, unlike previous waves of the pandemic, where patients did not come to emergency rooms as often, there is a twin rise in Covid cases and regular procedures.

Javier Millán, head of the emergency department at La Fe Hospital in Valencia, said: “In the last few weeks, we have detected an increase in the number of cases of patients infected with coronavirus.

“Many are mild or moderate, but they are coming to the emergency department. In addition, there is an increase in admissions, both conventional and ICU.

“Added to this, this year we have the pressure from non-COVID patients, which had been reduced during the lockdown period.”

In response to the spike in Covid cases, Spain has introduced harsh measures on travellers from the UK.

Brits can only enter the country if they show proof of a Covid vaccination, with Spain’s government saying: “The appearance of new variants… obliges an increase in restrictions.”

Spain’s Industry, Trade and Tourism department said approximately 300,000 British people who are residents in Spain will not be affected by the new measures.

It comes after a British expat living in Alicante tore into Spanish authorities for not doing enough to enforce face masks and regular Covid checks.

Speaking to TalkRadio’s Mike Graham, he said: “The problem we’ve got here at the moment is [that from] tomorrow it’s mandatory to have face masks.

“If it was 50 people you didn’t have to have passports but they changed it now so it doesn’t matter how many people you got, you still need to have a passport.”

“You are supposed to [have a mask when you go to a restaurant].

“It’s only the people in the restaurant that ask you but we have never seen the police.

“It’s supposed to be enforced but who is enforcing it?

“It’s only when you go into the restaurant they ask you for the passport. But when you go outside you don’t have to have it.”

Additional reporting by Maria Ortega

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