SEGOVIA – On October 17, 2020, a protest of about 100-200 attendees filled the Paseo Conde de Segovia in support of a 100% public healthcare system. The protest took up the 2 northbound lanes of traffic, blocking both cars and public transportation. Multiple police personnel escorted the protesters along the street as they chanted “Sanidad Publica!” and other pro-public healthcare chants.
Spain’s public healthcare system has become a flashpoint for left-leaning activists, especially since the COVID-19 pandemic filled up public hospitals nationwide. While mostly public, about 10% of medical clinics are operated by private entities, many of whom do not accept public insurance. In 2012, the center-right Rajoy (Partido Popular – EPP) government introduced spending cuts to the public healthcare system, a move left-wing activists criticize heavily. During the COVID-19 pandemic in March and April, despite government assurances that the system was prepared for an outbreak, hospitals found themselves unprepared. These events have fueled a nation-wide movement to boost funding for Spain’s public healthcare system.
Currently, Segovia’s case count lies at around 35 cases a day, with 149 positives in the past 14 days in the city of Segovia. The Hospital General witnessed 2 deaths in the past 24 hours. The reproduction number falls at 1.39, indicating exponential growth, with a 40% increase of cases from 2 weeks ago to last week. While plans are underway for a second hospital, no location has been decided by the Segovian government. During the height of the pandemic, nearly 14% of residents contracted COVID-19, with one of the highest infection and mortality rates in Spain.