Dancing and drumming in the street, doctors and nurses protested in Madrid on Sunday against cuts that they say have left them struggling to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic.
Singing “less flags and more nurses,” some 4,000 protesters marched through the Spanish capital, the region most affected by the coronavirus.
“They are segregating (health). In private health companies it is a business. In the public, everyone comes. If you don’t have money, you don’t receive it, ”said Lucía Tielvez, 65, an auxiliary health worker.
Madrid’s conservative regional government has denied cutting health services.
Photographs published in Spanish media on Sunday showing cities packed with Christmas shoppers sparked fears of an increase in infections.
“In Madrid we are very aware of COVID,” Antonio R. Ajeno tweeted ironically, about an image of crowds in Madrid.
Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez urged Spaniards to avoid large family gatherings this Christmas to avoid an increase in COVID-19 cases.
“The next few months will be decisive. Experts predict that we will attend a critical stage of the pandemic, coinciding with the first mass vaccines, ”he told party supporters on Saturday.
Spain’s left-wing government is considering limiting Christmas gatherings to six people.
Spain added 10,853 new COVID-19 cases to its count on Friday, according to data from the Health Ministry, up from more than 12,000 new cases the day before.
The number of people who died from coronavirus in Spain increased by 294 on Friday, bringing the total death toll from the pandemic to 44,668, while the cumulative total of cases reached 1,628,208.