Spanish police union blasts health bosses after quarantined officers were forced to drive hundreds of miles for a Covid-19 test

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Spanish police officers – the majority in quarantine – were forced to drive hundreds of kilometres across provinces to be Covid-19 tested, “a measure which borders on inconceivable” blasts union leaders.

THE Unified Association of the Guardia Civil (AUGC) said it has no choice but to publicly denounce health chiefs and government authorities, for “putting the lives of serving officers in Castilla-La Mancha at risk.”

AUGC claims the allegations amount to mistreatment of officers during the management of the coronavirus pandemic.

In a statement, the union said: “Officers have had to travel hundreds of kilometres to be tested, and are ordered back into service without guarantees.

“Just when we thought things couldn’t get any worse, the General Directorate of the Guardia Civil once again has to overcome the mistreatment of its officers, in a general way, and in an accentuated way, since we found ourselves in a State of Alarm due to Covid-19.”

AUGC went on to say that, while in the Toleda Province, all barracks and vehicles are disinfected, “thanks to exemplary work of the Civil Protection corporations,” in other provinces of Castilla-La Mancha this action “is not carried out or is done in a very insufficient manner.”

“In addition, there is the absurdity which is that the Guardia Civil units of Castilla-La Mancha summoned their officers to carry out tests to detect the Covid-19 in Toledo on April 29 and in Guadalajara on April 30.

“In most cases, officers had to travel alone and in their own vehicles, regardless of their physical and psychological condition. Many are officers who are on sick leave and in quarantine, either because they had previously tested positive, showed symptoms of the disease, or because they had been in contact with other infected people.”

Some travelled more than 500km and crossed up to four provinces to have tests which take half an hour, “and that undoubtedly could have been made in the same province, as had been done previously,” claims AUGC.

The union also condemns the way in which sick officers are returned to work, which the union says is “extremely dangerous.”

“A large number of officers who were on sick leave or in quarantine because of risks, are being returned to work by telephone, by Guardia Civil health personnel or the the Health Service of Castilla-La Mancha (SESCAM).”

AUGC claims some are incorporated back into the force without further tests or having finished the agreed sick leave.

“This measure borders on the inconceivable, since not only is the officer being put at risk, but also their colleagues.

“We (AUGC) are here to defend the rights of our members and of all the components of the Corps and we must publicly denounce this and other abuses that are systematically being committed against the Guardia Civil.”

“It is time for the relevant administration, Ministries of Health, SESCAM, DGGC, etc., to take control of this mess and put some sense into it before it is too late.

“If this is not the case, AUGC will take the necessary measures to demand responsibility for the abandonment, neglect of duties, non-compliance with the rules and any other matter that has caused damage.”

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Written by

Tara Rippin

Tara Rippin is a reporter for Spain’s largest English-speaking newspaper, Euro Weekly News, and is responsible for the Costa Blanca region.
She has been in journalism for more than 20 years, having worked for local newspapers in the Midlands, UK, before relocating to Spain in 1990.
Since arriving, the mother-of-one has made her home on the Costa Blanca, while spending 18 months at the EWN head office in Fuengirola on the Costa del Sol.
She loves being part of a community that has a wonderful expat and Spanish mix, and strives to bring the latest and most relevant news to EWN’s loyal and valued readers.

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