Spain reduces Covid quarantine from ten to seven days

Spain reduces Covid quarantine from 10 to 7 days
Both vaccinated and unvaccinated people who test positive for Covid-19 in Spain will now have to quarantine for seven days. Photo: Engin Akyurt/Pixabay
Spain will shorten the mandatory isolation period for people who test positive for Covid-19 from ten to seven days, the country's health ministry said on Wednesday.

At least 500,000 people who are currently infected with Covid-19 in Spain will be able to end their quarantine earlier than expected.

Spain’s Public Health Commission, which encompasses the Health Ministry and the country’s regional health departments, “unanimously” agreed to adopt the shorter quarantine measure from Thursday at a meeting on Wednesday, Health Minister Carolina Darias said in a statement.

The new seven-day quarantine period applies to both vaccinated and unvaccinated people who test positive for Covid-19 in Spain.

Vaccinated close contacts will still be able to avoid going into isolation before getting tested, whereas unvaccinated close contacts will have to abide by the seven-day quarantine period.

The move follows a similar decision in the United States as a surge of infections sparked fears that staff shortages will disrupt the economy.

A number of other European countries are also currently considering reducing the period of self-isolation for either positive cases or close contacts, or both.

Some Spanish regions had initially suggested the ten-day quarantine should be reduced to five days as in the case of the US or Greece, but finally a week-long period of isolation was agreed.

It had also been recommended that the new rule apply only to asymptomatic cases but this does not appear to have been specified in the initial announcement. In a press conference held on Wednesday evening, Health Minister Carolina Darias clarified that people who continue having symptoms after a week should remain in isolation.

Spain’s Vaccination Committee was against the reduction of the quarantine period and other health experts have argued that it may mean some people can return to work earlier, but others will have to call in sick with Covid-19 as infections will rise as a result. 

Earlier on Wednesday Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez said the country needed to strike “a balance” between public health, mental health and economic growth.

Spain on Tuesday confirmed a record 99,671 new infections in the last 24 hours, bringing the 14-day infection rate to 1,360 cases per 100,000 residents, nearly twice the level from a week earlier.

US health authorities on Monday shortened the recommended time for which people should isolate after a positive test from 10 to five days, so long as they do not have symptoms and continue to wear a mask.

The move was praised by airlines and the hospitality industry, but public health experts criticised the decision to omit a requirement for a negative Covid test.

Spain has been hard hit by the pandemic, recording over 89,000 deaths and just over 6 million infections since it started.


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