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Contact tracing falters in Barcelona amid virus spike

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Contact tracing falters in Barcelona amid virus spike

BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — When Sonia Ramírez was told by her local clinic that she had tested positive for the coronavirus, she expected to be asked about anyone she had come in close contact with recently.

Instead, like an unknown number of Spaniards in the northeast region of Catalonia, she was left on her own to warn family, friends and co-workers that they could have been exposed amid a new surge of infections.

“They didn’t ask me who I had been with,” said Ramírez, a 21-year-old cleaner in the greater Barcelona area. “They didn’t even ask if I had been to work recently, which of course I had.” This is a modal window.

The media could not be loaded, either because the server or network failed or because the format is not supported. With the virus rebounding in parts of Spain, it appears Catalonia and other regions are not adequately prepared to trace the new infections in what was supposed to be an early detection system to snuff out any outbreaks and prevent a new cascade of cases.

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Spain imposed a three-month lockdown earlier this year and reined in a devastating first wave of infections that left at least 28,000 dead. As conditions improved in May and June, the government in Madrid gave in to pressure by the separatist-minded leaders in Catalonia and the right-wing political opposition to return full control of the health care system to the regions.

Now, Barcelona and an agricultural area in the same Catalonia region have become the two areas hit hardest by a resurgence of the virus.

Ramírez believes she got infected from her boyfriend, who had caught […]

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