PRIVATE hospitals and other health facilities in Spain have been put under the control of the regional health authorities.

This means that they could be ‘requisitioned’ for the use of victims of coronavirus should the Spanish NHS facilities be overwhelmed.

Minister of Health Salvador Illa confirmed that the move was part of the state of alert declared on Saturday.

Hospital Quiron Vizcaya  1
UNDER CONTROL: Private hospitals could be taken over during coronavirus emergency.

He added that it was one of the most important measures and is designed to avoid the collapse of the public health system.

The powers given to the regional health authorities also allow them to take over any public or private buildings – thought to include hotels – they need to ensure the health system continues to function.

All medical supplies must also be made available to the health authorities.

Manufacturers and suppliers of items such as masks, diagnostic kits, protective gloves and gowns, disinfectant gels and ventilators were given 48 hours to declare their stock to authorities.

The Guardia Civil have already requisitioned 150,000 protective masks from a factory in Alcala la Real (Jaen).

Some 86,000 were taken to Madrid’s Infanta Sofia Hospital last night (March 15) with the rest transported today.

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