After 114 days in a COVID ICU, a trip to the sea

For 63 year-old COVID patient Joan Soler Sendra, it's a well deserved dose of vitamin sea.

Medical staff rolled him across the street in his hospital bed to bask on the sunlit shore, in his first outing after almost four months in intensive care in Barcelona's Hospital del Mar.

Dr Andrea Castellvi is the deputy head of the hospital's intensive care service.

''For patients, after so many days of practically not seeing the light or their families in these circumstances, to be able to go out and see their families, the sun and the sea is like a shot of vitality and gives them a desire to continue fighting."

Sendra and his two brothers were infected with the coronavirus last November in Catalunya, but he was the only one who had to go to hospital.

After finally managing to breathe without a respirator for the first time this week, the the ward's longest-staying patient was due for some sea-and-sun therapy, much to the delight of his brother, Jaume.

"This is a very strong boost of adrenaline, first for him, because he says, 'Hey, you still love me,' because he's been aware of it (his illness) and to us it is a shot of morale."

After falling to its lowest level since August, Spain's infection rate has begun to creep up again.

And while it's a far cry from January's peak, the increase is causing concern ahead of the Easter holidays.