COVID-19 vaccines are creating great expectations and hope throughout the world. Nevertheless, some people are uncertain of the effectiveness and safety of these vaccines. As with any new medicine, such uncertainties are reasonable, and all the more so in the case of a new illness and a fast vaccine-development process.
Here you will find updated information on the vaccination campaign and vaccines. The goal is to help resolve any doubts and enable people to take the best decisions regarding vaccination.Questions and answers on the COVID-19 vaccine
What can be done to prevent the virus from spreading?
The coronavirus can be prevented from spreading if we take the following general protective measures:
- Maintaining a safety distance from others.
- Washing our hands frequently (with soap and water or alcohol-based solutions). You can find further information on hand hygiene from following links:
- Wearing a mask. For anyone aged 6 or over wearing a mask is mandatory on outdoor spaces if there are crowds and a distance of 1.5 metres between people cannot be observed; on any close space used by or open to the public, and on the public transport.
- Reducing daily social contacts, keeping usual household groups as stable as possible and avoiding crowds.
- When coughing or sneezing, cover your nose and mouth with the inside of your elbow or with a disposable tissue – which will have to be discarded in a bin afterwards – and then wash your hands.
- Avoid sharing food or utensils (such as cutlery, glasses, napkins and handkerchiefs) or other items if they have not been properly cleaned.
- After you have handled any items, especially in public spaces, do not touch your mouth, nose or eyes until you have washed your hands.
- Cleaning, disinfecting and ventilating your home.
- The most vulnerable groups need to be protected above all: the elderly and people with chronic illnesses.
- Detecting cases early on and monitoring people who test positive together with their contacts are key to keeping the epidemic under control. Anyone with symptoms that are compatible COVID-19 infection must contain the public health system.
Latest update 27/017/2021
The highest COVID-19 risk groups are the elderly and anyone with a chronic illness such as a cardiovascular or pulmonary disorder, cancer, immunodeficiencies, high blood pressure and diabetes.
Pregnant women are not presently considered a risk group.
If you have any risk condition:
- Avoid crowded places where social distancing cannot be maintained. Ask someone you trust to buy the things you need (food, medicine, etc.,), bring them to your house and leave them on your landing or by your door.
- Keep your physical distance from others and limit your social activity.
- Reduce your stay in public spaces that are not outdoors.
- Ventilate your home and keep the air there fresh, especially if you’ve had a visitor.
If you live with or are caring for a person at risk:
- Be aware of the risk of infection for every activity you perform. Keep any exposure to a minimum to protect the other person.
- Limit your social activity and do not do anything without following its protective measures.
- Make outdoor activities a priority for yourself and with your stable household group.
If you're visiting your elderly relatives, take every precaution.
Latest update 28/10/2020
Face masks are an additional measure, provided they’re used properly, but they are no substitute for the most effective preventive measures: maintaining you social distance from others and frequently washing your hand.
Currently, it is mandatory for everyone over the age of 6 to wear a mask:
- In outdoor spaces if there are crowds and a distance of 1.5 metres between people cannot be observed, except for people from the same household.
- In indoor spaces for public use (libraries, facilities, hospitals...) or that are open to the public (shops, restaurants...).
- In all public transport, including platforms, passenger stations and cable cars. As well as in private vehicles if the occupants are not from the same household.
- At outdoor events involving large crowds (such as shows and concerts) if attendees are standing, or if they are sitting and the distance of 1.5 metres cannot be observed, except for people from the same household.
Failure to comply with this measure will lead to fines under the current sectoral legislation in force.
And masks are not be required:
- On public roads or outdoors provided that the safety distance of 1.5 metres can be observed, except for groups of people in the same household. But it is recommended that citizens wear a face mask at all times, including outdoors.
You are advised to always wear a mask, whether outside or in public or private indoor spaces.
Wearing a face mask is also recommended:
- For all children aged between 3 and 5 in situations where wearing a mask is mandatory for everyone else.
- When you are at home, whether self-isolating or looking after someone who is either ill or suspected of being ill.
Wearing a mask is not mandatory:
- For people with breathing difficulties that may get worse from wearing a mask.
- For people who have been advised against wearing a mask because of a health issue, disability or behavioural disorder.
- For people doing outdoor physical sport.
- In force majeure circumstances or in a situation of need.
- Where wearing a mask would be incompatible with the nature of the activities.
- When eating or drinking.
- Within stable household groups.
- In nursing homes where more than 80% of residents are vaccinated. But face masks is mandatory for employees or visitors.
- For passengers on ships may take off their masks when they are in their cabins or on deck, in the latter case provided that the distance of 1.5 metres can be observed.
What is the right way to put on and take off a face mask?
- Wash your hands and position your mask, before you put it on, so your nose and mouth are properly covered.
- Don’t touch it once it’s on. If you do touch it, wash your hands thoroughly.
- To take the face mask off, hold it from the back or the elastic threads holding it in place, without touching the part that might be infected. Then wash your hands immediately.
- Masks need to be changed as soon as they get damp or wet.
Latest update 12/07/2021
Any surfaces (handles, doors, general furniture etc.,) which the person concerned and/or their secretions have been in contact with must be cleaned and disinfected. The person cleaning must be protected with of a mask and gloves and wash their hands after cleaning.
Cleaning and disinfection will require a household disinfectant containing a 1:100 bleach solution (1 part bleach and 99 parts water) prepared on the day of use. It is important for damp cleaning and disinfection to be carried out.
These viruses become inactive after five minutes of contact with normal disinfectants, such as household bleach or a sodium hypochlorite solution containing 1,000 ppm of active chlorine.
Latest update 28/10/2020
Covid-19 is accompanied by lots of false information that makes the rounds on social media, creating fear and interfering with the effectiveness of preventative measures. In order to combat the spread of this misinformation, it’s important that you don't share content if it does not come from official sources.
You will find quality, up-to-date information at the following links:
- Barcelona Public Health Agency (catalan)
- Government of Catalonia Health Channel
- Spanish Ministry of Health, Consumer Affairs and Social Welfare
- World Health Organization
Latest update 20/01/2021
What can be done if someone presents symptoms?
Take the Am I a close contact? test (Spanish) and find out in under a minute what measures you should take if the result is positive.
Last updated: 27/07/2021
If someone has a fever, a cough, difficulty breathing, general malaise or diarrhoea or starts vomiting:
- They will need to be isolated from everyone else they live with and stay within the confines of their home.
- They will have to contact their primary health-care centre (CAP) or to call 061 (free during the pandemic).
- A doctor will assess their symptoms and, if necessary, give them a PCR test.
- They will have to identify the people they have been in contact with for the last 48 hours before their symptoms appeared.
- They must go into preventive isolation until they receive the results of the PCR, following the healthcare workers’ instructions. The results of the tests can be consulted from La Meva Salut (spanish]
Latest update 27/07/2021
The school’s management will call, instructing you to fetch your child. Once you are back home, you will need to call your primary health-care centre (CAP) as soon as possible: if your child’s symptoms had been serious, the school itself would have made the 061 call and informed you immediately afterwards.
Staff at your child’s CAP will assess their symptoms and decide whether to give them a PCR test; they will tell you to keep your child isolated until the results are known and to collect any details of close contacts within the family environment.
The Healthcare system will then inform the school of a possible case; it will collect the details of any close contacts within the school environment; monitor the results of the PCR test and —if positive— explain the necessary isolation and quarantine measures.
Your child's classmates will not be quarantined while you wait for the results of the texts. However, your child’s siblings cannot go to school (even if they are at a different one) and no adults from the same household who work in a school will be allowed to go to that school either.
Latest update 18/01/2021
Close contacts are the people with whom you have shared a space of under 2 metres, for over 15 minutes, while not wearing a mask and within 48 hours before the onset of their symptoms.
People who come into close contact with someone who has been diagnosed, that has not been fully vaccinated, or who has been fully vaccinated but is showing symptoms, must self-isolate for 10 days following that contact.
People who come into close contact with someone who has been diagnosed, that has been fully vaccinated and is not showing symptoms do not have to self-isolate, but they must watch out for any symptoms compatible with a Covid-19 infection. Neither do they have to submit to any diagnostic test while they are not showing symptoms.
Latest update 12/07/2021
Assessment by healthcare workers is the main diagnostic criterion for COVID-19. Detection tests are support tools that complement their assessment.
It is the healthcare workers who determine the most appropriate test and it has to be taken, depending on the person’s circumstances and the stage of the pandemic.
Latest update 18/01/2021
Anyone with minor symptoms that are compatible with COVID-19 infection or who has been in close contact with an infected person must isolate themselves at home from everyone else living with them and follow the measures they are instructed by healthcare workers. The aim is to keep the virus isolated and prevent the infection from spreading.
- They must not leave their home under any circumstances (not even for shopping or taking a stroll wearing a mask etc.)
- They will have to isolate themselves in a separate room not used by everyone else and which is properly ventilated, and use their own loo. If that's not possible, they will have to keep as far away from others as possible, especially anyone considered a member of a risk group, such as anyone over the age 65 or with a chronic illness.
- They must inform all those they have been in close contact with so they can isolate themselves too.
- They will need to monitor their symptoms twice a day, using the STOP COVID19 CAT app, during their quarantine.
- Both personal hygiene and home cleaning are very important. The individuals tasked with cleaning must protect themselves with a mask and gloves and wash their hands after they finish.
It is also advisable for one person alone to take on the role of main carer and anyone who is in contact with the person affected must take precautionary measures.
COVID-19 quarantines are for ten days.
Healthcare workers are the ones who decide whether or not a person needs to go into home isolation. They will contact the person concerned and monitor their condition.
Latest update 20/01/2021
Advice for elderly people
- Reduce how often you watch, read or listen to news that may make you anxious.
- Use relaxation techniques on a daily basis: deep breathing, listening to music or doing activities or movements that make you feel good.
- Talk every day with people you trust
- Speak on the phone, through WhatsApp, or through video calls every day with people you love and trust, about your worries, about the activities you do, and about how you’re feeling.
- Have a list handy with the phone numbers of your Primary Healthcare Centre (CAP), family members, taxis, etc.
- Ask others to buy the things you need (food, medication, etc.) and have them bring the items to your house, leaving them on your landing or doorstep.
- Take care of yourself and enjoy life
- Focus on your daily routine, live in the present moment, seek out the positive things, and keep in mind that this, too, will pass.
- Take a shower, get dressed, and groom yourself every day.
- Do activities that you like: reading, sewing, hobbies, cooking, listening to music, dancing, writing, painting, watching films and so on.
- If you have one, go out on the terrace or balcony. Open the windows several times a day and make sure to get some fresh air and sunlight. (It’s necessary to produce vitamin D).
- Sleep between eight and nine hours.
- Take your normal medications and do the health checks that you normally do at home.
- Eat healthy
- Prepare healthy meals, with fresh vegetables and fruits that are in season, as well as legumes and whole-grain foods.
- Be very careful to maintain correct hygiene for your hands, food, and kitchen surface.
- Clean your fruits and vegetables by adding a little bleach to water, following normal recommendations.
- Cook meat thoroughly.
- Drink water often. Teas, soups, and vegetable broths are also a good option.
- It’s best to not drink alcohol. Do not smoke.
- Plan your meals and make a weekly shopping list to give to the person who is helping you by going to the supermarket.
- Get moving
- If possible, go out for a daily walk.
- Stretch or do exercises in which you flex your ankles and knees.
- Make and follow a simple daily physical-exercises chart.
- Ask for help
- If you feel anxious or stressed out, ask for help (from your family, friends, or your reference healthcare centre).
Latest update 20/01/2021
Elderly people, especially those presenting cognitive deterioration or dementia, may become more anxious, irritable, stressed, disorientated or withdrawn.
In these situations, it’s essential to show continued support, convey a sense of calmness and be patient.
- Elderly people may be at a greater risk of suffering serious symptoms from coronavirus infection. Follow the recommended hygiene measures very closely.
- Try to ensure the person is properly informed of what is happening and understands the reason for the protective measures.
- Give them clear information on how to reduce the risk of infection, using words they can understand.
- Repeat the information as often as necessary. Give them instructions in a clear, concise, respectful, and patient way.
- Facilitate frequent virtual contact with their family members and friends.
- Look for things that will make them happy. Talk to them about the things that worry them, but also talk about other things, to distract them and make the time go by in a more pleasant way.
- Look after yourself: both confinement and caring for others lead to emotional strain.
- If you have COVID-19 symptoms, follow the official recommended protocols and look for an alternative arrangement for the person you’ve been caring for.
Latest update 20/01/2021
Covid-19's impact in Barcelona
As with many cities in Spain, Europe and the USA, the pandemic has seen an increase in the number of people in Barcelona who would rather live away from the city, with the figure of 15.5% from 2017 rising to 30% at present.
This is a global trend, with the lockdown and the prevention measures for Covid-19 identified as likely causes. The report “Covid and Urban Trends” analyses the shift and has been produced by the Municipal Data Office.
“Covid and Urban Trends” (Catalan)
Last updated: 06/04/2021
Based on the official register of people residing in Barcelona, the Municipal Data Office (OMD) has compiled a provisional report on migration flows for the city during the Covid-19 pandemic. The initial figures show that emigration increased by 8% between June and October, while immigration dropped by 43.7% compared to the same period for the previous year.
In particular, there was a preference for people leaving the city in favour of municipalities with smaller populations (under 50,000) and away from the metropolitan area.
This migration appears to be people who have left the city to go and live in a second home and who essentially come from areas with higher incomes.
Further information (Catalan)
Last updated: 29/12/2020
Although the last four years have seen a reduction in the digital divide in terms of internet connections across income levels in Barcelona, the pandemic has highlighted inequalities in the use of information and communication technologies (ICT) and in access to teleworking and online schooling. These are the conclusions of the report The digital divide in the city of Barcelona (spanish), produced by the Fundació BIT Habitat and based on a survey of 2,540 citizens in the autumn of 2020.
The use of ICTs has increased as a result of the health crisis: some 62% of people made more use of them in 2020 and they have been used for activities where their use was uncommon before, such as teleworking, online schooling and online procedures.
There are significant differences depending on income: some 66% of people in low-income areas were unable to work online, while just 24% of people in high-income areas found themselves in this situation.
In terms of online education, some 73% of pupils under 16 were able to study online during the lockdown, compared to 25% who were unable to do so. Difficulties pursuing online schooling affected low-income families more.
The lockdown and the social and health crisis have also led to a sharp increase in the number of procedures carried out online via the electronic adminstration. Over 75% of people living in average or above-average income areas have conducted e-procedures with the administration, compared to 63% in low-income areas.
The programme to help people conduct e-procedures with the administration has provided face-to-face support to more than 1,904 people. Two out of three people required support to apply for economic support: 33% for unemployment benefits and subsidies, 21% for income support and 7% for the guaranteed citizen income.
Last updated: 22/01/2021
The Barcelona Institute of Culture set out to find out, through a survey, the importance of culture during the pandemic and the cultural activities that residents of not just Barcelona but its metropolitan area too have taken part in.
According to the results, 43% of city residents perceive culture as something “very important” in their lives. Young people, women, students and immigrants are those who value it most.
Reading, watching films, series and listening to music are the cultural practices that have contributed most to bringing people relief from the pandemic this year. Favourite pastimes include: reading, for people over the age of 60 or with a high level of studies; watching films, for people aged between 30 and 44; going to the cinema, theatre and exhibitions and doing sport, for young people, aged 18 to 29.
Last updated: 26/03/2021
A study carried out by the Barcelona Public Health Agency (ASPB in Catalan) on the impact of the first two waves of Covid-19 has detected patterns of gender and social inequality.
In the first wave, where the most serious cases and those concerning healthcare personnel were recorded, senior citizens were the most affected population segment. However, the second wave, which is more representative of the impact on the general population, affected younger people more.
During the two waves of the pandemic, there was a higher incidence of the virus in women up to the age of 65. But the incidence of serious cases and deaths is higher in men, due to biological reasons, habits and other factors.
The most disadvantaged neighbourhoods suffered a higher incidence, and the risk of contagion increased in areas with lower income levels, especially during the second wave.
Last updated: 22/02/2021
Barcelona City Council has drafted a report on the impact of COVID-19 on the lives and rights of children and teenagers, identifying as many as 16 aspects that have been adversely affected by the pandemic.
The seven rights of special importance which have been uniquely affected by COVID-19 are the right to a decent life, to education, to health and health services, to a family and protection, to protection against abuse, to receiving appropriate information, and to play, rest, leisure and culture.
The document also includes the measures that the City Council has launched or strengthened to mitigate these effects.
“COVID-19 and children in Barcelona” report (catalan) [PDF]
Last updated: 14/12/2020
In Monitoring covid-19 in Barcelona (catalan) you will find information updated every day about the main indicators showing the impact the pandemic is having on the city.
The site provides you data about:
- Covid-19: Trend in Covid-19 cases (persons who have tested PCR positive), territorial breakdown by neighbourhood and impact on the health system (number of people in hospital and number of health workers off sick).
- Deaths: Daily death toll and services carried out at cemeteries, as well as the deaths noted and expected.
- Weather conditions and air quality: Daily information on environmental and acoustic pollutants, and meteorological data on the temperature, rain and wind in the city.
- Mobility: Demand for public transport and vehicle mobility.
- Economy: Wholesale food prices and the price of petrol; the labour market (unemployment, new contracts, social security registration, lay-offs); stock market and consumption (electricity, water and vehicle registration).
- Opinion: Main results of Covid-19 crisis monitoring opinion survey in Barcelona.
- Neighbourhood support networks: Description, location and contact details of various neighbourhood support spaces and networks.
- Decidim Barcelona: Initiatives in the areas of culture, care and mutual support, education, children and sport.
This site supplements that of the Barcelona Public Health Agency (ASPB) [catalan], focused on the health impact of Covid-19.
Go to the municipal website on the development of the pandemic (catalan)
Latest update 22/01/2021
The Barcelona Public Health Agency (ASPB) has launched a website that enables users to monitor the development of the Covid-19 pandemic in Barcelona on a daily basis and the breakdown by age, sex, neighbourhood and census section.
This tool, which is open to every city resident, also shows the breakdown according to a residential area’s socio-economic level.
Last updated 22/01/2021
Barcelona City Council is backing various European research projects to analyse the impact of Covid-19 on the water cycle and establish systems for detecting and warning about the virus in wastewater.
The City Council is offering technical support for the following projects:
- LIFE iBATHWATER, a project studying the presence of the coronavirus in sewage and bathwater. Two testing stations are currently conducting ongoing research on water quality, one at the Somorrostro beach and the other at the Bogatell beach.
- H2020 SCOREWATER, a project for the creation of an early warning system for the pandemic through the analysis of wastewater in each neighbourhood.
- UNBIASED, to define tools for gauging the impact of pollution in the air, in water and in soil in the urban environment.
- URBANWAT, which aims to come up with tools to improve the management of subterranean water in the urban environment.
Latest update 22/01/2021