SEVENTY scientists have demanded the ‘total confinement’ of Spanish residents to their houses over fears the health system will collapse this week.

The letter, signed by the 70 professionals, asks for the prohibition of all work that is not of ‘primary need’.

The medical experts from across Spain predict the lack of tighter controls will see the collapse of the health system this Wednesday, March 25 – in two days.

Coronavirus cases have hit 33,000 as the Spanish nation becomes the third-worst hit in the world. The scientists blame the crisis on a spike in patients with abnormal symptoms, and on transmission of the virus from infected people before they produce symptoms of Covid-19.

The scientists note that 18% of the Spanish population is over 65, which will ‘increase the risk of complications and mortality’.

“The measures adopted to date will not be sufficient to avoid the collapse of the health system and, consequently, the mortality from Covid-19.”

Three scenarios are predicted in mathematical models:

  • Scenario 1 models no restriction of movement whatsoever, in which the rate of infection sky rockets.
  • Scenario 2 predicts partial mobility, where roughly 50% of workers are allowed to circulate on public roads. The scenario will see significantly less infections than scenario 1, but still enough to collapse the system. The scientists said this is the current situation (read current rules here).
  • Scenario 3 looks at total restriction of movement. Measures will include total isolation of confirmed cases, quarantine of their recent contacts, social distancing of the over-70s and prohibition of all non-vital work. The rate of infection drops dramatically, and is the preferred course of action of the scientists.

The scientists have suggested the government could partially quarantine the country, with badly hit regions such as Madrid totally locked down while other regions continue as at present.

They still recommend full quarantine, however.

The general secretary of the Ministry of Transport, Mobility and Urban Agenda, María José Rallo del Olmo, said yesterday that confinement is giving ‘good results’.

“It is necessary to persevere and to maintain the discipline for the good of all.”

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