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Health advice


General health advice

  • In order to avoid the spread of coronavirus, you need to take the following general protective measures:

    • Maintain physical distancing from other people.
    • Avoid close contact with people showing symptoms of respiratory infection, such as coughing or sneezing, keeping a safe distance from them (1.5 - 2 metres at minimum).
    • Wash your hands often (using soap and water or alcohol-based solutions), particularly after being in direct contact with people who are ill or with their surroundings. You can find more information on hand hygiene by clicking on the following links:
    • When coughing or sneezing, cover your nose and mouth with the inside of your elbow or with a disposable tissue (which must be discarded immediately), 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.
    • You should not touch your mouth, nose or eyes after handling any objects, particularly in public places, without first washing your hands.
    • Avoid crowding and enlosed spaces with large numbers of people.
    • We must especially protect the people who belong to the most vulnerable groups: the elderly and people with chronic diseases.

    Questions and answers on Covid-19 [in Catalan]

    Latest update 16/06/2020

  • Face masks are an additional protective measure, provided they are properly used, but they are in no way a substitute for the most effective preventive measures: keeping a safe distance from others and cleaning your hands frequently.

    As from 9 July, it will be mandatory to wear a mask in Catalonia, in public streets and squares, outdoors and in public spaces, inside or outside, even where social distancing can be maintained.

    Thus, it is currently mandatory for anyone over the age of 6 to wear a mask:

    • On public transport, whether inside vehicles or at stations or stops.
    • This applies in public areas and outdoor spaces, even though you are able to keep a safe distance of 1.5 metres from other people.

    Failure to abide by this measure will lead to fines under the current sectoral legislation in force.


    Wearing a mask will not be mandatory:

    • For people with breathing difficulties that may worsen from wearing a mask.
    • For people who have been advised against wearing a mask owing to 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.
    • For people eating or drinking.
    • On summer activity programmes.
    • In stable household groups.

    And 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.  
    • At home, if you are self-isolating or if you are looking after a sick person or someone suspected of being sick.

    What’s the right way to put on and take off a face mask?

    • Before putting it on, wash your hands and position the mask so that it covers your nose and mouth.
    • Don’t touch it once you’ve put it on. If you touch it, wash your hands. 
    • To take the face mask off, hold it from the back or the elastic threads which hold it in place, without touching the part that might be infected. Then wash your hands straight away.

    Face masks need to be changed as soon as they get damp or wet.

    Answers and questions over the use of masks (CA)

    Last updated on 17/07/2020

  • Surfaces (handles, doors, general furniture, etc.) which the patient and/or their secretions have been in contact with must be cleaned and disinfected. Cleaning staff should wear protection in the form of a face mask and gloves, and wash their hands after cleaning.

    Cleaning and disinfection should be carried out using a household disinfectant containing a 1:100 bleach solution (1 part bleach and 99 parts water) prepared on the day of use. It’s important to carry out cleaning and disinfection using a damp cloth

    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 12/06/2020

  • Currently, there is no scientific evidence that domestic animals can be infected by SARS-CoV-2, nor that they can develop or transmit Covid-19 to people or other animals.

    That being said, animals can be passive carriers for virus particles (in their fur, on their nose, etc.) if they have been in contact with infected people. Remember to wash your hands with soap and water after touching them, and be especially careful not to touch your mouth, nose or eyes.

    When taking a dog outside, make sure that the animal also respects the minimum safe distance (1.5 - 2 metres) from other people.

    If you must take your animal to the veterinarian, it’s recommended that only one person go.

    If someone is infected with coronavirus, they can keep their pet at home, but they must follow a series of hygiene and preventative measures.

    Questions and recommendations on Covid-19 and domestic animals [in Catalan]​ [PDF]

    Latest update 15/06/2020

  • 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:

Advice for elderly people

    • Disconnect
      • Reduce how often you watch, read, or listen to news that might cause you anxiety.
      • 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
      • Go out for a walk every day if possible.
      • Stretch or do exercises in which you flex your ankles and knees.
      • Make a chart with simple physical exercises to do daily.
    • Ask for help
      • If you feel anxious or stressed out, ask for help (from your family, friends, or your reference healthcare centre).

    Health Channel. Advice for elderly people

    Latest update 15/06/2020

  • The elderly, especially if they exhibit cognitive decline or dementia, might be more anxious, irritable, stressed, disoriented, or absent.

    In these situations, it’s essential to show continued support, convey a sense of calmness, and be patient.

    • The elderly may have a greater risk of having more severe symptoms if they contract coronavirus. Follow the recommended hygiene measures very closely.
    • Try and keep the person properly informed of what is happening and make sure they understand the reason for the protective measures.
    • Give them clear information about how to reduce the risk of getting infected, in words that 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.
    • Take care of yourself: both confinement and taking care of people involve an emotional strain.
    • If you have symptoms of COVID-19, proceed according to the official recommended protocols and look for an alternative arrangement for their care.

    Health Channel. Advice for elderly people

    Latest update 15/06/2020

What can I do if I don't feel well?

  • The most common symptoms of COVID-19 in 80% of infected people include a fever, coughing and difficulty breathing. In more severe cases, the infection can cause pneumonia, kidney failure and other complications. These more severe cases are generally found in the elderly or people suffering from a chronic disorder such as cardiovascular or lung diseases and immunity problems.

    Further information (CA)

  • The highest risk groups are the elderly and people with chronic illnesses, such as cardiovascular or pulmonary disorders, cancer, immunity problems, high blood pressure and diabetes. Pregnant women are also considered a high risk group, by way of precaution. 

    Latest update 13/05/2020

  • If you have mild symptoms of Covid-19 or you have been in contact with someone who was diagnosed with it, stay at home and isolate yourself from those who live in the same house.

    The Health Department recommends that you report your symptoms through the STOP COVID19 CAT app. The health service will monitor your case using the data sent through the app and, if needed, will activate emergency medical services.

    If necessary, you can call 012 to ask general questions about the health system, 061 for health emergencies and coronavirus-related issues, and 112 for emergencies. Due to the high volume of calls being made to 061, you can also call your primary healthcare centre.

    FAQ on accessing health centres [in Catalan][PDF]

  • People with mild symptoms that could be related to Covid-19, the people who live with them and those who are in close contact with either must self-isolate from the other people in their homes and take the steps indicated by their healthcare professionals. The main aim of self-isolation measures is to keep the virus isolated and prevent it from spreading.

    It is the healthcare professionals who will decide, by assessing the clinical criteria and the circumstances of the healthcare and social environment, whether a person is a suitable candidate for self-isolation at home (confirmed cases, possible cases and close contacts). Healthcare professionals will monitor and remain in contact with the infected person.

    The conditions within the home must allow for the person to be isolated in a well-ventilated room and, if possible, to have their own bathroom. The isolated person must be available for the medical evaluations that may be necessary and both they and the other people living in the home must be able to correctly and consistently apply basic hygiene, prevention and control measures to combat the infection. Health service professionals will provide you with all the instructions necessary.

    If you don't have symptoms and you're not in close contact with people who have been diagnosed with Covid-19, you should follow the general measures provided for citizens. These include staying at home whenever possible, respecting hygiene measures and maintaining safe distances from others.

    More information on home confinement

    Municipal quarantine support programme

  • If you have symptoms, you can call your local primary care centre in order to receive medical attention. For emergencies, call 061.

    Latest update 28/05/2020

Covid-19's impact in Barcelona

  • The latest municipal six-monthly Barometer, which collects the opinions of Barcelona’s residents based on 805 interviews conducted between 3 and 13 July 2020, shows that people are very aware of the need for more sustainable mobility and the creation of more public spaces for pedestrians. They are also concerned about the social and economic consequences of Covid-19.

    The majority of the city’s residents (94.7%) are in favour of encouraging public transport, and eight out of ten agree that more public spaces reserved for use by local residents should be created. In addition, 57.9% are in favour of creating more bike lanes. 

    As for teleworking, most of the people surveyed (68.3%) agree with the implementation of teleworking systems by companies and government bodies. 

    In terms of mobility, the way that people use means of transport to go to work or a place of education has changed. Before the pandemic, 50.2% of respondents commuted to work or their place of education by metro, FGC railway trains or Renfe suburban commuter trains. That figure has now dropped to 33.3%. The number of bus users has gone from 24.3% to 20.2%. 

    On the other hand, more people are walking (from 16.8% to 19.2%) or cycling on privately owned bicycles (from 6.5% to 8.1%). The use of cars (from 13.6% to 28.9%) and motorbikes (from 9.7% to 15.1%) is also on the rise.

    As for summer holidays, the Covid-19 pandemic has drastically changed the city’s residents’ plans. Defining “holiday plans” as those involving leaving the city for three or more days, 40% said they will not be going anywhere, and half of those who had made plans have changed them as a result of the health crisis.

    Main concerns

    Insecurity is still the main concern of citizens (17.6%). However, concerns about the Covid-19 crisis (7%), its consequences for the economy (8.5%) and unemployment (7.1%), adding up to a percentage of 22.6%, together constitute the city’s most significant concern

    Other problems that Barcelona’s residents are concerned about include traffic (5.6%), access to housing (5.6%), cleaning (5%) and tourism (5%).

    Barcelona Six-Monthly Barometer. Summary of results (July 2020) (CA)

    Last updated on 24/07/2020

  • Barcelona City Council has created a website with the main indicators showing the impact the pandemic is having on the city.

    The new site offers information updated every day on the scope and impact of Covid-19 among the city’s population and in areas such as the healthcare system, deaths, mobility, the economy and air quality. It offers an overall view of what the city was like, the situation now and how it is expected to gradually recover.

    The site provides data on the following areas:

    • 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), focused on the health impact of Covid-19.

    In addition, Barcelona City Council carries out a weekly public opinion survey to monitor the impact of Covid-19 and the crisis it is generating.

    The surveys gather data on the impact that the coronavirus is having on health, work, confinement and the perception the public has of the crisis and how government institutions are handling it. The results can be consulted in the opinion section of the Municipal Data Office website.

    Go to the municipal website on the development of the pandemic

    More information on the public opinion surveys

    Latest update 21/04/2020

  • 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 and the excess mortality among Barcelona’s resident population based on burial data.

    Above all, the website includes serious hospitalised cases with positive PCR lab tests, which also include healthcare staff. These data are therefore not a representative sample of all the Covid-19 cases, as they do not include information on people with mild symptoms or asymptomatic cases.

    The ASPB's new website is a tool that enables needs to be assessed in each of the districts and helps to prioritise specific areas of action when it comes to implementing programmes and interventions from public-health, social and economic areas.

    #Covid19aldiaBCN (CA)

  • 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 two projects led by universities and research centres:

    • 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 in Barcelona, one at the Somorrostro beach and the other at the Bogatell beach.
    • H2020 SCOREWATER, a project intended to provide new data in the study of the creation of an early warning system for the pandemic through the analysis of wastewater in each neighbourhood. The first testing station for wastewater quality will be set up in Poblenou in September, with two others to follow in the neighbourhoods of Sarrià and El Carmel.

    The City Council is also offering technical support to two projects which have included the analysis of the coronavirus among their goals:

    • UNBIASED, the main aim of which is 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.

    Working group on Covid-19 and the water cycle

    In parallel to these international projects, the city of Barcelona has been invited to take part in a working group to coordinate and seek synergies in the initiatives being carried out in Catalonia to broaden knowledge on the coronavirus in the water cycle.

    Latest update 05/08/2020

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