In the end, neither the ten that we had nor the five that were said. The Public Health Commission has agreed “unanimously” to reduce the isolation of all COVID-19 positives to seven days, according to Europa Press and sources from the Ministry of Health have confirmed to elDiario.es. The measure does not need to be ratified by the Interterritorial Council that is going to be held this afternoon: it will enter into force as soon as the decision of the Public Health Commission is published, in which the Ministry of Health and all the autonomous communities are represented.
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Likewise, unvaccinated people who have been close contacts of a positive will also see their quarantine period reduced to seven days, compared to the ten that are mandatory so far. The rule already established that those vaccinated who were in close contact did not have to quarantine.
Spain follows in this way the steps that the United States and the United Kingdom took earlier this week, when they lowered their isolation periods for positives and quarantines for close contacts to five days, provided there are no symptoms and they are vaccinated. In any case, this period of five days must be followed by another five days with strict use of the mask.
The Public Health Commission appears to have opted this afternoon for a somewhat more cautious version of this decision. According to the latest studies, the average duration of virus excretion is between five and five and a half days, so that for some epidemiologists a five-day isolation could be excessively tight. In the absence of knowing details about the measure that will be approved in Spain and whether it affects all or only those vaccinated and without symptoms, many experts are more comfortable with the period of one week. “With an average duration of five and a half days we would leave many infected free to infect”, recalls epidemiologist Quique Bassat.
The decision, in any case, is a mixture of “science and necessity”, as defined by the professor of Preventive Medicine and Public Health at the Autonomous University of Madrid Fernando Rodríguez Artalejo. “A very compelling reason is the need. Thousands and thousands of flights are being canceled because the crews are infected. If we ask the vaccinated contacts to do a strict quarantine we would basically run out of workforce. It is this pragmatism, along with certain scientific evidence, which reduces isolations and causes strict quarantine is not required in contacts. This greater need to keep society functioning, especially in essential sectors, causes these measures to be further relaxed “, he observes.
“The picture is very different now”
Pedro Sánchez had advanced this morning that the health authorities would make a decision on the duration of the quarantines this Wednesday. The Alert Panel, meeting during the morning, had closed its appointment without reaching any conclusion on this matter. But the communities, both the PP and the PSOE, were tightening.
“Vaccinated, prevented and with other hospital data, the Covid must begin to be treated” in a different way, “the president of the Community of Madrid, Isabel Díaz Ayuso, endorsed yesterday.” The panorama of decisions in the pandemic and those it contributes This variant is different due to the clinical and epidemiological characteristics of omicron. “The Andalusian Minister of Health, Jesús Aguirre, stated in a similar vein.
This measure also means moving forward, in small steps, towards what some are beginning to consider a necessary debate: the transition from pandemic to endemic, the leap from no longer considering COVID as a disease out of control by the world to one with which we can live together. and that it manifests itself in the form of specific episodes with a more or less high number of cases and usually associated with certain periods of the year, such as the flu. It is still too early to take this step, all the experts agree, but the course that the pandemic is taking, with a variant of less serious effects, points in that direction.
There are even, like the Yale F. Perry Wilson expert, professor at the School of Medicine, that place at the moment when the isolations can be ended, direction in which the measure adopted this afternoon by the Health Commission is advancing, as the exact moment in which the pandemic can be declared over.