An 80-person lunch has led to a huge coronavirus outbreak in the Igualada municipality near Barcelona, sources reveal.
Authorities have revealed that this origin of infection in the town may have caused some of the 24 covid-19 deaths so far there.
The authorities say that the outbreak that has led to the town and three others nearby being cordoned off by police can be traced back to a lunch held on February 28 that was attended by 80 people, many of whom work in Igualada Hospital.
The mayor of Igualada, Marc Castells, he stressed the “extreme seriousness” of the situation and warned that what has happened in his town is a “spoiler” for what is likely to happen in the whole of Catalonia in the coming days.
“The situation is going from serious to very serious. I insist, please, that we continue to follow the confinement protocols, as it is more important than ever that everyone be aware of the situation we are subject to,” he added.
Since the beginning of the outbreak in and around the town with a population of 39,000 people, some 207 people have so far tested positive for coronavirus, seven of whom are in a critical state, and 91 of whom are health professionals.
From the lunch, the infection was traced to two groups, one in the hospital and one in a family of five, a member of which attended the meal. Catalan health minister Alba Vergés said that since then the hospital “has had within it many vectors of transmission.”
Igualada was also in the news this week when Vergés and Castells complained to the state authorities about a shipment of medical equipment, including 4,000 face masks destined for Igualada hospital, being impounded by the Guardia Civil.
However, on Friday, the hospital authorities said the institution is “at breaking point” and said that the situation is such that the 4,000 face masks that were supposed to arrive would not have lasted for more than a week.
Meanwhile, in the town itself, the local authorities stressed the need to stay at home except for essential outings, such as to buy food or go to work, and said that the fines issued for unjustified breaking of the confinement would be increased.
The town’s annual festival of pop-up stores in May has been cancelled.