The president of the Barcelona Chamber of Commerce, Joan Canadell, He has criticized the Generalitat’s management of the coronavirus crisis, considering that it did not allocate the necessary resources to contain the first outbreaks and that its latest “alarmist” messages may end up sinking the tourism sector.
“I think that it has not been done well enough in Catalonia,” says Canadell in an interview with Efe.
The businessman admits that “it is very easy to speak to the past bull”, but that now, seen in perspective what has happened in recent weeks, he can say that the Generalitat “lacked foresight” when controlling the first outbreaks that were registered in the Segrià region (Lleida) and later also in other areas, such as La Noguera, Barcelona or L’Hospitalet de Llobregat.
In his opinion, after learning of the first cases of Covid-19 infections, the Catalan government should have had more trackers to follow up on the contacts and decree “selective confinements”, which surely would have avoided reaching “alarmism” that has been generated.
“More PCR tests, trackers and a tracking app were needed. That would have helped us to control the concept of micro-confinement much more, “says the independence businessman, who states emphatically:” We believe that the Generalitat has failed here. “
Canadell is also very critical with the messages of “alarm” that the Govern of the situation in Catalonia has given and that “it has caused an effect called not to come” from countries such as France, Belgium or Germany, from which it is easy to reach by car or plane and which constitute some of the main tourist markets for the community.
Canadell assures that at the beginning of Julyhe level of reserves in Barcelona was one of the highest in Europe, with occupancy rates that some days were close to 60%, but that after the confinement of Segrià, the first cancellations began to occur and that these have increased in the following days, coinciding with the latest measures of the Government in the face of the coronavirus crisis .
This week, the President of the Generalitat, Quim Torra, appeared at a press conference to warn that Catalonia is in a “critical” situation and that your pulse will not shake if you must apply more restrictive measures to contain the infections, such as home confinement.
“I think we have anticipated the alarm,” says Canadell, who recalls that the situation is now very different from that of March, since, unlike four months ago, hospitals are not stressed, the vast majority of infected they are asymptomatic and the age of the infected is much younger.
Businessman understands that the Govern “prioritizes health and life”But he believes that he could have transferred the message to the public “in another way”, seeking “a balance point” and measuring the consequences that this type of statement has on the economy.
“Between health and economy we have to say health, there is no doubt. But without an economy there is no health, because if we cannot collect taxes to pay for the health system there will be no health in the medium term,” says Canadell.
Map for tourism
“I think we should have been much more cautious, we should have focused much more where the problem was and not draw a general Catalonia in red when there are areas that are really green and that may even be safer than the countries of origin of tourists, “stresses the president of La Cambra.
With the objective of restore tourists confidence in Catalonia and try to save the tourist season, the Chamber proposes to the Government and the Generalitat the creation of a map to follow the evolution of the Covid-19 in the different tourist destinations, so that the safe areas appear in green and those with a higher incidence of the coronavirus in red.
“We must give the message to Europe that it is not true that Catalonia as a whole has a high risk of coronavirus, but that it is very focused,” emphasizes Canadell, who fears that not only foreign tourists will stop coming to the community, but also visitors from other Spanish regions.