PICK OF THE WEEK: Andorra (Pyrenees)

Main places:

Andorra la VellaEscaldes-EngordanySan Julia de LoriaLa MassanaOrdinoEncampCanilloPas de la Casa

LATEST UPDATE ON C19 PATIENTS IN ANDORRA.

500 active cases (11 more than yesterday which was 5 more than the day before)

47 in the hospital: 32 on the wards and 15 in the ICU (12 with mechanical ventilators. The fifth consecutive day without an admission to the ICU where, yesterday another person was taken off their ventilator).

46 positives in El Cedre of whom 17 are from La Salita.

453 cases at home.

17 special workers are positive – one less than yesterday.

90 healthcare workers are positive – one more than yesterday.

58 patients were discharged –6 more than yesterday.

25 total deaths up till now with 583 accumulated positive cases in the country.

MINISTRY OF HEALTH

(Guiding our Minister of Health is the medical consultant: Oriol Mitjà, an international expert in epidemics.)

· Yesterday the Minister of Health, Joan Martínez Benazet (isolated at home with mild Covid-19 symptoms) explained the purchases of health supplies made by the Government. Companies in the country have succeeded in importing supplies at low cost as they have good relations with the Chinese market. This means that we have enough sanitary equipment. He thanked these companies and individuals for their participation. He also said that four mechanical ventilators had arrived and, since yesterday afternoon, had been available to the ICU. Martínez Benazet emphasised that all purchases had been published in the BOPA, (Butlletí Oficial del Principat d’Andorra) and were completely transparent.

· The Government allocated 4.3 million euros to healthcare material for this crisis. Of this, 1.4 million will be returned to the Executive because some material has not yet been purchased.

· Since yesterday, the Cuban doctors have been supporting SAAS professionals. He also reported that more health supplies had been delivered to la Salita residential home. The Minister confirmed that supplies for the residences is also guaranteed.

· A shopping reminder. Plan to spend the least amount of time possible in the essential stores. Only one member of the family can go.

· Births: Only the father is allowed to visit. Given the circumstances, it is necessary to maintain this protocol to protect both health professionals and parents.

· Masks: Martínez Benazet said that at the moment there is no official penalty for not wearing a mask in the street. Instead, the Government appeals to the responsibility of the Andorran population, which, he claims is showing a very high level of maturity. (Compared to some other countries one could name.)

· Medical prescriptions. The validity of prescriptions has been extended until 26th May to avoid people leaving their homes. (Remember you can ring your pharmacy ahead of time. They will then tell you when your prescription is ready for collection or will deliver it to your home.)

· Road closures can be seen at mobilitat.ad (Worth taking a look. The usual overhead traffic cameras are also in action here. When I first looked there was not a single vehicle on the road. As I write there are two, their photo appearing again and again!

THE GOVERNMENT

· Holy Week. During the whole period, all help and assistance numbers will be kept open (180, 181, 188, etc.)

· 1,363 applications have been received to cover operating and refinancing costs, 37% submitted by individuals and 63% by companies representing about 379 million euros in total. Of the 315 applications, 278 have been agreed and 37 have been denied. Those awarded come to about 6.5 million euros. In total, about € 24 million has been given to the economic fabric of the country.

· Andorran Banking joins the initiative to not charge interest and fees for soft loans. Regarding this, the Government spokesman reminded us that banking can be done online, all tin an effort to limit transmitting the virus.

DONATIONS

· On 26th March, instigated by Richard Hooker, International Club member started to raise money for Andorra’s Covid-19 Solidarity Fund and health service. Two weeks later, an impressive 80,000€ was handed in. In his letter to the Cap de Govern, the Club’s President, Simon Binsted said the donation was to express members’ sincere thanks to the professionals of our extraordinary health service and hoped that the money would assist in giving them the economic and emotional support that they deserve.

· Solidarity Funds: the open accounts at all banks in the country have raised 1.5 million euros. Via texting, the number 828 on mobile phones, over 23,000 messages were received with the text “Ajuda”, representing more than another 44,000 euros. (Why not send a text now. It will add 2€ to your telephone bill – and 2€ to help the crisis fund.)

TWEETS FROM THE COMUNS

ENCAMP

· From The National Library of Andorra @ BiblioAndorra. (Copy, paste and scroll down.) Good morning, we continue to share with you the series of # engravings made of Andorran landscapes. Today is Encamp’s turn with: “Le vieil Encamp et la Valira” with a drawing by Gaston #Vuillier (1847-1915) and engraved by Charles #Barant

ANDORRA LA VELLA

· Bravo for them!! At 20h yesterday evening, the capital’s urbanes (traffic police) played the Andorran National Anthem over their loudhailers whilst applauding the health services outside the hospital and El Cedre.

SANT JULIÀ

· Yesterday we approved a budget that includes: 2.5 million euros of investment, tax exemption for those who have had to suspend business activities, the possibility to extend the Cohesion Fund and facilities for paying taxes.

· We encourage you to do sports during the #confinament. See everything they have to offer from the Sports Centre @esportsantjulia

· The weekend is approaching and we propose an initiative to cheer up your Sundays: the CONFI-APERITIF We encourage you to go out on your balconies at 12.30h have a snack and immortalize the moment with selfie to share on our networks,

ESCALDES-ENGORDANY

· From the Department of Culture. SANT JORDI VIRTUAL! The Comú is preparing a new and amazing event, to offer you a good Saint George’s Day, but without leaving the house. Here’s a book and a rose, to say CHEERS and ONWARD!

UNOFFICIAL FEEDBACK

· Andbus information: As from the 18th March, 2020 their reduced time table is

Andorra -> Barcelona: 05:00h & 13:00h

Barcelona -> Andorra: 10:00h & 18:00h

Andorra -> Toulouse: 05:00h

Toulouse -> Andorra: 11:00h

Jan van de Aa has also been talking to them. To cross the border into Spain, you need either a document from a doctor for a medical appointment OR the boarding pass of a flight that same day. It would be interesting to know what is required for the bus to Toulouse.

POSITIVES TO COME OUT OF SHUTDOWN – sent in by readers.

· It’s a resilience test!

· Makes you find new and creative ways to teach online.

· The vast improvement in air quality for millions of people. And the optimism that it should give us all that nature COULD still repair our sick planet – given the chance.

· Fuel bills virtually down to zero.

· Neighbours started talking from balcony to balcony as they used to when we were kids.

· Escape from the old routine and daily pressures of our self-imposed ways of life. We have the freedom to pace ourselves as we wish, reset our daily goals, and indulge in having the time to ” stand and stare” !

· The level of English of my daughter (who goes to the Spanish school) has improved a lot.

· My flat is soooooooo clean!!!!

I’m wondering how many countries Andorra’s Covid-19 Updates reach. I know they’ve ranged from Australia to the Isle of Man, to the UK, Hong Kong, Belgium, Holland, Denmark, US, and Canada. Do let me know of other destinations where they have been shared.

Thanks. [email protected]

See also Andorra travel guide

See also Pyrenees travel guide

See also France travel guide

See also Spain travel guide

Read more: What to do today? Cultural events in Andorra with Clare Allcard ...