Tuesday, January 18

“I had to come to the clinic to get the COVID passport because I don’t have internet at home”

Miguel Marchena’s luck could change this Saturday. After spending the entire pandemic without a job, this neighbor of the Besòs neighborhood, in Barcelona, ​​finally has a job interview. “I am afraid that they will ask me for the Covid certificate and I have come to have it printed,” he explained this Friday when leaving the clinic.

Catalonia will again require the COVID passport in bars from Friday

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Like Marchena, a trail of people left the Besòs Primary Care Center (CAP) early this morning with the Covid certificate printed in hand: most of them had no other way of achieving it than by approaching their health center. reference. Some residents of this neighborhood, with one of the highest poverty rates in the city, are older and do not know how to get there. Others, like Marchena, do not have Internet either at home or on their mobile.

“I only have a prepaid phone,” explained this 56-year-old neighbor. “I have come several days this week to see if they would print it for me and there was no way, it was collapsed.” As he explains, many residents of the neighborhood have run at the last minute to get vaccinated since the obligation to show this certificate was announced to enter bars, restaurants and gyms. This morning at 9 Marchena I was already in the clinic to get it. He was accompanied by his sister Paqui, who has taken advantage of the visit with her family doctor to have her vaccination passport printed.

The Generalitat de Catalunya decreed the obligation to show this certificate last Friday, but the system to achieve it collapsed to the point that they were forced to suspend the measure for a week. From this Friday it is mandatory again, although you could still find many restaurants that were not asking for it.

According to data from the Department of Health, only between November 22 and December 1, more than 2.7 million certificates were downloaded in Catalonia. On Thursday, a few hours after the measure came into force again, there were more than 267,000 downloads, many of them from a website that the Government opened to facilitate obtaining this document.

“Many patients do not have access to the internet or they have many problems downloading it and they come here so we can give it to them,” explains Meritxell Sánchez, a physician at this clinic in Besòs. “Hopefully now with the new website that has been opened lower demand.”

The professionals of this center explain that they have had to attend to an increase in requests to be vaccinated along with requests for help from many neighbors to download the certificate. All those who left with their passport in hand highlighted, however, how easy the doctors have made it to print this document for them.

Among the people who came out with their certificate there was a general opinion: every day there are more procedures that require the use of technology and there is a sector of the population that is totally relegated. “When you are of a certain age, if you are not very familiar with technology it is a mess,” said Carlos Forner, 66 years old. “For many older people, everything is more difficult every day.”

Rosario Muñoz, 66, pointed in the same direction. “I don’t even have an internet potato,” explained this woman with mahogany hair and pink glasses, matching her coat. “I have a computer that I just dust off.” Muñoz pointed out that he already ended his children’s patience long ago with everything related to technology. This time he did not want to ask for help to obtain the certificate.

“I already saw on TV that they said to call our children,” he said in reference to the words of the Minister of Health, Josep Maria Argimon, in which he suggested that the elderly ask for help from the youngest of the family. “But my son has very little patience and I have not wanted to bother him.”

The reasons for obtaining the certificate varied depending on the neighbors. Juan Antonio Fontanet is 62 years old and is retired due to a heart disease after years working at a gas station. He doesn’t have internet either, but he took advantage of the bar’s Wi-Fi to access the Government’s application and download the certificate. Still he didn’t make it. “It hung up on me and I felt useless at the end,” he pointed out at the exit of the clinic. Now he has come to ask for it so he can have breakfast at the bar below his house.

Others, like Isabel González, 76, who came to the neighborhood from Almería in the 1960s, wanted him to go to their hometown for Christmas. “I don’t know if they are going to ask me for it somewhere, but I wanted to stay calm,” she pointed out. “If suddenly they ask for it to travel by train and I don’t have it, I don’t want to have to stay at home.”

Then there were cases like Rosario Muñoz, who did not want him for anything in particular.

– Why did you come to get it today then?

– I comply with everything they ask me to do to the letter!