The Public Health Commission in Spain has stressed the importance of "promoting sequencing" to “detect the possible appearance of new variants" of the COVID-19 virus.
This was highlighted by the ministry of health in a press release following the meeting of the interterritorial committee, formed by representatives of the ministry and their counterparts at the regional governments (CISNS), held on Thursday, 12 January.
According to the ministry, the meeting monitored the Covid-19 situation following the increase in cases in China, as well as the measures put in place at both the national and European level.
The ministry also stressed the importance of "promoting the vaccination campaign with second booster doses with vaccines adapted to variants, especially for the most vulnerable people".
On Wednesday, the director general of the World Health Organization (WHO), Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, called on all countries to continue sequencing the coronavirus and testing the population because the virus "is not going to disappear".
Also on Wednesday, the regional director for Europe of the WHO, Hans Henri P. Kluge, recommended that European citizens continue to wear masks indoors and on public transport given the wave of coronavirus infections in China.
On Thursday, the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and the European Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (ECDC) issued a series of recommendations to control the arrival of Covid-19 in Europe via flights from China, including the use of masks and testing of travellers, as well as monitoring of waste water for new variants.
One of the key measures they propose is to "randomly test a sample of arriving passengers". The EASA and ECDC have called for those tests that are positive to be sequenced "to obtain early information on circulating variants and any new variants that emerge in the region of origin".
The EASA and ECDC also stated that waste water "should be monitored at airports with international flights and on aircraft arriving from China to monitor the level of infection and detect any new variants".