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File photograph of a woman having a coronavirus test. PEPE MARÍN
Spain set to drop quarantine requirement for close Covid infection contacts

Spain set to drop quarantine requirement for close Covid infection contacts

The national Public Health Commission plans to address this measure at its meeting this Tuesday, in which, at the moment, "it is not on the agenda" to remove the use of masks indoors

J.A.G.

Tuesday, 1 March 2022, 09:52

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Spain’s Public Health Commission plans this Tuesday, 1 March, to eliminate the coronavirus quarantines for all close contacts of people infected with Covid-19, which are still in force for the unvaccinated, which, above all, affects schools, where the lower levels of vaccination, with only 57 per cent of children between 5 and 12 years of age jabbed with at least one dose, compared to 93 per cent of the rest of the population.

The commission, which includes representatives from the Ministry of Health and the autonomous regions, will discuss dropping the measure for which, according to sources, there is a high consensus. From the Ministry of Health, however, they have only confirmed to SUR that the quarantine issue will be one of the issues to be discussed, "but we do not know if it will be approved or not". But, in any case, those infected with Covid-19 must continue with the seven-day isolation period.

Some regions had already anticipated this measure in the school environment. Last Wednesday Catalonia eliminated the quarantines of students who are close contacts of those infected by Covid. The decision was made against Ministry of Health guidance, which was in favour of maintaining quarantines in schools until the incidence rate among children falls to lower levels. At its meeting last Thursday, the Public Health Commission postponed this decision, which was also requested by Madrid, the Valencian Community or Castilla y León. Now, according to sources from the body, there is a "high consensus" so that close contacts can continue to lead a normal life instead of keeping a quarantine.

Three million unvaccinated

Currently, 91 per cent of people in Spain over 12 years of age have completed the vaccination schedule and 93 per cent have received at least the first dose. There are still three million who have not been vaccinated. The figures are lower among those under 12 years of age. Only 1.8 million children (57 per cent) have received the first dose, and only 17 per cent have both doses. According to the current school quarantine protocol students in classes in which four or more children test positive for Covid must be quarantined. If today, the Public Health Commission finally eliminates the quarantines for close contacts, those infected will have to isolate themselves, but the rest of the class will be able to continue normally.

Sources from the Ministry of Health have explained that at the moment the other major restriction that remains pending is not on the agenda of the Public Health Commission, that of the elimination of masks indoors, especially in school classrooms. This measure, which is still up in the air, does not have the unanimous support of the scientific community, which sees it as premature until the incidence rate of cases among the youngest drops even further. Currently the incidence among those under 19 years of age is above the national average (613): it is 664 among those under 12 years of age and 938 in the group between 12 and 19 years of age.

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