In Spain, Covid-19 can be legally recognized as an accident at work if it is proved to be “exclusively caused by work”. In practice, such recognition is difficult for non-healthcare workers. However, the Social Court of Jerez has just recognized the death of a cleaning agent of the city’s hospital as an accident at work.
Indeed, it was proved that no relative of the deceased had contracted the coronavirus at that time, while in the hospital of Jerez, the entire outpatient dermatology department – doctors, nurses, assistants and secretaries – was affected by the Covid-19.
The facts date back to the very beginning of the pandemic. Infected between 2 and 11 March 2020, the victim was arrested on 18 March due to acute rhino-pharyngitis. On 22 March, she was admitted to intensive care with a “coronavirus infection”. She died on 19 April.
According to the court, “the temporal and chronological framework cannot be ignored” since the pandemic “was starting and the special cleaning and protection protocols had not yet been activated; they would be activated at the end of April”. It was thus considered that “the injuries suffered by the worker during the time and place of work or the aggravation of pre-existing injuries constitute an accident at work”.