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COVID-19 vaccine

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.

The Barcelona Public Health Agency offers you up-to-date information to help you clear up these uncertainties and put everyone in a position to make the best decisions regarding vaccinations:

COVID-19 vaccinations, questions and answers (spanish)

You can also obtain information on COVID-19 vaccinations from the Catalan government’s Canal Salut.

Last updated: 18/01/2021

What can be done if someone presents symptoms?

  • 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). If it's the weekend, they will have 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 and inform them. They can do that with healthcare staff or with a form they will receive by text message or email.
    • 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]

    Barcelona Public Health Agency. Questions and answers on Covid-19

    Health Channel. information for the public on COVID-19

    Latest update 18/01/2021

  • 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.

    Public Health Agency. School and COVID-19 (catalan)

    Health Channel. Managing COVID-19 cases in schools

    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.

    Anyone who has been in close contact with someone who tests positive for COVID-19 will be informed of this by telephone or text message and explained what measures they will have to take:

    • They will need to go into quarantine for ten days following contact with anyone who has tested positive, keeping all contact with their co-habitees to a minimum and wearing a face mask in common areas.
    • They will need to monitor and look out for symptoms using the STOP COVID19 CAT app.
    • If they present symptoms during this period they will have to contact their Primary Health-Care team or call 061 (free during the pandemic) if it is the weekend.
    • If ten days have passed since their last contact with a positive case and they have not presented any symptoms, they can then return to their usual routine.

    Public Health Agency. Questions and answers on COVID-19 

    Health Channel, Information for the public on COVID-19

    Latest update 18/01/2021

  • 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. 

    Public Health Agency. COVID-19 detection tests (catalan)

    Health Channel. Detection tests

    Latest update 18/01/2021

Testing for Covid-19

  • New Covid-19 detection testing has begun for people aged 18 or over who are not showing symptoms.

    The aim is to detect as many infected people as possible, because some people do not show any symptoms and may, without knowing it, transmit the virus to their family, friends or other people that they know.

    Tests are being carried out in the city’s various neighbourhoods: These are the ones currently in progress:

    • Pilot screening programme in Les Corts pharmacies
      • Where: pharmacies in the Les Corts district
      • When: from 16 December to 22 January
      • How: a letter or text message will be sent to more than 32,000 people, informing them of the screening programme. If you decide to take part, you will be able to collect a free self-sampling saliva test at any of the pharmacies on the list. A pharmacist will give you the instructions for taking your saliva sample at home and which you will have to return to the pharmacy before 12 noon the following day.
      • Ages: 18 to 59 years
      • Priority Basic Health Area:: Montnegre, Les Corts - Pedralbes and Les Corts - Helios

    Last updated: 31/12/2020

  • The City Council has granted the city’s primary healthcare centres (CAP) the use of twenty-five municipal spaces to carry out Covid-19 tests. The goal is

    to streamline the daily work carried out by these medical facilities and ensure patient safety.

    The twenty-five spaces are located all round the city and correspond to different types of places, such as elderly people’s centres, community centres and outdoor gardens, where marquees will be set up.

    Use of the spaces will initially be for six months, with the Catalan Health Service to meet any related costs.

    The City Council has also transfered the use of 45 spaces for the flu jab campaign.

    Last updated: 18/01/2021

Home isolation

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.

Public Health Agency. Questions and answers on COVID-19 [CA]

Health Channel. Home isolation

Latest update 28/10/2020

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:

    • Wearing a mask. For anyone aged 6 or over wearing a mask is mandatory on public streets and squares, in outdoor spaces, in any close space used by or open to the public, irrespective of whether social distancing between people is maintained, apart from a few exceptions.
    • 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.

    Public Health Agency. Questions and answers on COVID-19 [CA]

    Latest update 28/10/2020

  • 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.

    It has been mandatory for everyone in Catalonia since 9 July to wear a mask in public streets and squares, outdoors and in public spaces, whether inside or outside, even where social distancing can be maintained.

    It is therefore currently  mandatory for everyone over the age of 6 to wear a mask:

    • on public transport, whether inside vehicles or at stations or stops.
    • In public streets and squares and outdoor spaces, even where everyone can maintain a social distance of 1.5 metres.
    • In any indoor space used by or open to the public, even where everyone can maintain a social distance of 1.5 metres.

    Remember that face masks must also be worn in healthcare centres.

    Failure to comply with 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 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.
    • On summer activity programmes.
    • Within 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. 
    • When you are at home, whether self-isolating or looking after someone who is either ill or suspected of being ill.

    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.

    Health Channel. Answers and questions over the use of masks

    Latest update 28/10/2020

  • 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.

    Health Channel. Cleaning and disinfecting in the home

    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:

    Latest update 28/10/2020

Advice for elderly people

    • Disconnecting
      • 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).

    Health Channel. Advice for elderly people

    Latest update 28/10/2020

  • 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.

    Health Channel. Advice for elderly people

    Latest update 28/10/2020

Covid-19's impact in Barcelona

  • 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

  • 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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