The national Ministry of Health and the regions in Spain have agreed to reduce the quarantine period for people who test positive for Covid-19 from ten to seven days.
The measure, adopted unanimously, went against the position of the Health Risk Report, which advised against reducing the isolation period and maintaining it at ten days.
Similarly, unvaccinated individuals who have been in close contact with a positive will also have their isolation period shortened to seven days, compared to the ten at present. It had already been established that those fully vaccinated who were in close contact with a positive infection did not have to quarantine.
Several regions, such as Madrid, had expressed their wish that the isolation of those who tested positive for Covid-19 be reduced to five days. The president of Castilla-La Mancha, Emiliano García-Page, had gone even further and called for the self-isolation to be shortened to three days.
Speaking just hours before the decision, Spain’s PM Pedro Sánchez, in his round-up of 2021, said that it is "evident" that the situation in Spain "is not like a year ago".
"We are more prepared and better protected, because we have more than 90 per cent of the population vaccinated with the full schedule and 80 per cent of people over 80 years of age with the booster dose."
Sánchez highlighted that those over 80 years of age, who haven’t been vaccinated have up to "18 times more chance of admission to an intensive care unit" than those vaccinated, and up to 25 times more for those aged 70 to 79 years who are unvaccinated.
“Clearly there is a relationship between those without a vaccination and the level of admission to an ICU,” he said.
“Faced with this new challenge from the virus, after almost two years of living with it, we can draw some lessons from science and our own daily experience. The fundamental thing is that we are better prepared to face Omicron than a year ago," Sánchez added.
The prime minister called for "perseverance" in the fight against Omicron: "In the first instance, through vaccination, because having strong numbers vaccinated weakens the virus; and prevention, because the use of masks helps a lot to protect against the spread of the virus.”