Hospitals in Catalonia, Spain's second worst-hit region by the coronavirus pandemic, are at "maximum stress", the regional leader Quim Torra told Reuters on Friday.
Spain's acting prime minister Pedro Sanchez, seeking parliament's backing to form a government, pledged to resolve the Catalan dispute through dialogue as he received renewed support from separatists in the restive region.
Separatist Catalan leaders on Saturday called on the Spanish government to enter into talks as Barcelona braced for fresh violence after days of clashes between police and protesters.
Pro-independence protesters obstructed major roads and a high-speed railway line in Spain's Catalonia region on Monday, a year after a banned referendum on secession was marred by police violence.
Thousands of people demonstrating both for and against Catalan independence shut down parts of central Barcelona on Saturday, two days before the anniversary of a vote on secession last year that polarised the wealthy Spanish region.
Catalonia's deposed president Carles Puigdemont returns to Belgium on Saturday to keep pressing for his region's independence after a Spanish judge dropped a European arrest warrant for him.
The Spanish court also dropped European arrest warrants for five other Catalan pro-independence leaders living abroad.
Catalonia's new president Quim Torra on Saturday named two former ministers, jailed by Madrid for backing independence from Spain, together with two others who fled into exile, to his regional government.
The Catalan parliament is expected to vote in a hard-line separatist as leader on Monday, heralding an end to seven months of direct rule from Madrid but also more political uncertainty in a region that retains a mandate to seek a split from Spain.