Catalan president Quim Torra continued to demand a total lockdown in a televised address from his official residence, Casa dels Canonges, where he is currently in quarantine having tested positive for coronavirus last week.

This comes hours after a meeting was held online between Spanish president Pedro Sánchezand Spain’s regional leaders, where Torra claims – without naming names – that another four presidents asked for stricter confinement rules.

After Sunday’s meeting, Sánchez addressed the press to inform the country that he would ask Congress to approve extending the state of alarm for another 15 days, which Torra said he was in agreement with, but claimed the Spanish government’s policy should not be one of taking over regional powers, but rather one of negotiating with regions to better gauge their actual needs.

Medical equipment

Using the lack of medical supplies as an example, an issue which caused a furor last week in Catalonia as facemasks were confiscated, Torra said the Spanish government should dialogue with regional ones to ensure medical equipment is shared more equitably and when needed ahead of a possible medical system collapse in the coming week.

As for bringing in the army to carry out tasks during the state of alarm, the Catalan leader said he appreciated the help they have provided in past situations, but said that if they were desired during the current covid-19 pandemic he would ask for their assistance.

More social measures required

Torra says he has also asked the Spanish government for further social measures, stating that welfare benefits for regions should be trebled and arguing that “people should be able to stay home without worrying about their salaries, rents or mortgages.”

The Catalan president also stated that rent suspension for vulnerable groups should be regulated and that there should be further assistance for freelancers and self-employed workers whose businesses will be harmed during the ongoing public health crisis.

Catalonia to regulate distance between coworkers

In his speech, the Catalan president said that in the coming hours Catalonia would pass a decree regulating the minimum space between people in their places of work.

With exceptions for certain jobs, like medical professionals or police officers, most people will be required to maintain a 1.5-meter distance between them and their coworkers.

“How does it make sense to stay home all weekend and then go to work with others on Monday?” said Torra, who believes only essential jobs should be carried out.

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