From now on, less Covid testing will be done to monitor infections. / ÑITO SALAS

Changes to Spain's coronavirus isolation and testing rules come into effect

From Monday, 28 March, the Ministry of Health will only update Covid-19 case data twice a week

ÁLVARO SOTO

From today Spain will start to deal with Covid-19 in much the same way as it does with flu. Last week the Public Health Committee approved its ‘Strategy for Monitoring and Control of Covid-19’, so that from Monday, 28 March, people with no symptoms or only mild ones will no longer have to self-isolate.

Now only people who are classified as vulnerable and test positive will need to quarantine, for a period of seven days, although the isolation rule will still be maintained in residential homes for the elderly and people in hospital, whether or not they have symptoms. However, there will also be a change in those circumstances: isolation will be for five days and will end after 24 hours symptom-free. Medical staff will also still have to isolate, but only until they test negative for the virus.

Covid testing

There will also be a change to the rules for testing from this week. From 28 March the focus will be on people considered vulnerable (over-60s, immuno-compromised and pregnant women), people in health care and social care environments and serious cases.

Apart from these, it will be doctors who decide whether a patient with minor symptoms should take a Covid test, although lateral flow tests will still be available in chemists for those who want them.

Updates

The health authorities will no longer try to trace cases or count them, so there will be no more updates on overall Covid figures as there have been until now. Instead, the new strategy is to look for cases among the vulnerable population, as they are the people most likely to suffer complications from the virus.

Additionally, from this week, the Ministry of Health will only provide information on coronavirus cases (infections, deceased, hospitalised and recovered) twice a week: every Tuesday and Friday.