HEALTH professionals in Spain are taking legal action against the Socialist-led government to force it to give them personal protective equipment during the Covid-19 crisis.

The State Confederation of Medical Unions (CESM) accused the administration and the country’s health ministry of failing to comply with World Health Organisation (WHO) recommendations to provide members with protective gowns, masks leggings and glasses, as well as installing clinical waste bins in hospitals.

Gabriel del Pozo, CESM general secretary, said the government’s inactivity would damage the professionals’ interests “given the extraordinary risk to their physical and moral integrity and protection needs”.

However, Supreme Court magistrates said they wanted to hear from Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez’s administration.

Spokesperson Pablo Lucas Murillo de la Cueva said: “The legal issue to be resolved … is not insufficient resources, but whether it can be a result of the administration’s unlawful inactivity and, while that lack is not debatable, this chamber lacks sufficient elements to affirm such inactivity exists … without hearing [from] the administration.”

The legal case came as Spain reported a new record of 864 deaths in one day from Covid-19, while total infections passed the 100,000 mark – the third country to pass that milestone behind the US and Italy. Health authorities said yesterday 9053 people had died since the beginning of the outbreak. Spain is two-and-a-half weeks into a national lockdown with stay-at-home rules for all workers except those in healthcare, food production and distribution, and other essential industries.

The country is working to add to hospital intensive care units which are filling up quickly. Hotspots in Madrid and north-east Catalonia have almost tripled ICU capacity, hotels have been turned into recovery rooms and field hospitals are being built in sports centres, libraries and exhibition halls.

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