File photograph of mass testing for the virus. / SUR

Spain notifies 14,000 new Covid infections, the highest daily number since August

The number of people confirmed infected by the Omicron variant now totals six - three in Madrid, two in Catalonia and one in the Balearic Islands

ÁLVARO SOTO

The Ministry of Health in Spain notified 14,500 new coronavirus cases on Thursday (2 December), the highest daily figure since the beginning of August. Additionally, the country's cumulative incidence rate rose by 17 to reach 234.03. The department also reported 42 Covid deaths (making a total of 88,122 since March last year) and hospital pressure increased with Covid patients occupying 8.39% of intensive care units (8.07% on Wednesday).

Concern about the presence of the Omicron variant in Spain grew after the Madrid region confirmed the first case of infection with this variant by community transmission. This is a 62-year-old man with ‘mild symptoms’ who has no travel history or close contact with another person from countries where this variant has been detected, as had happened in previous cases.

In addition, the General Directorate of Public Health in the region is investigating two other cases with suspected infections from this variant, both with mild symptoms and also without a history of travel to risk countries. In Catalonia, the two cases that were being studied, two travellers from southern Africa, have also been confirmed positive. The total number of people infected by Omicron in Spain now amounts to six (three in Madrid, two in Catalonia and one in the Balearic Islands).

Greater transmission capacity

The new variant has triggered fears again, but the data available so far does not suggest that those infected suffer a more serious disease than those infected with Delta, although it does indicate that the new variant has a greater transmission capacity.

After Thursday's Interterritorial Health Council meeting, held in Cordoba, the Secretary of State for Health, Silvia Calzón, explained that the vast majority of Omicron cases detected so far (352 in 34 countries, according to the European Centre for Prevention and Disease Control) are in "asymptomatic" patients who travelled to countries at risk. "This variant may be more contagious than Delta, but it is not yet known whether it is more serious or its vaccine escape," said Calzón.