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Spain's Cantabria scraps Covid health pass for being 'ineffective'

The Local Spain
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Spain's Cantabria scraps Covid health pass for being 'ineffective'
If there's a positive to draw is that 5,700 adults in the region have received their first Covid-19 vaccinations since the Covid health pass rule came into force. Photo: Cristina Vega RHOR / AFP

Health authorities in the northern Spanish region are the first not to request an extension of the Covid health pass requirement for daily affairs in their region, considering the measure to have “not been effective” in helping to reduce Omicron infections during Spain’s sixth wave. 

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From Wednesday January 19th it will no longer be necessary for people in the northern region of Cantabria to show a Covid health pass to access hospitality and nightlife venues, cultural and sporting venues, and mass events.

Cantabrian health authorities reached the decision on Tuesday, justifying that “it no longer meets its objective” of preventing Covid-19 infections in indoor spaces where food and drink is consumed. 

“This was our objective with the Covid passport but with the Omicron variant infections cannot be avoided, so the measure isn’t effective,” Cantabrian health director Reinhard Wallmann told journalists during a press conference. 

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The Covid health pass requirement has been in place for the last 40 days in Cantabria, where the fortnightly infection rate is now 4,286 cases per 100,000, higher than the national average and described as “sky-high'' by Wallmann.

The rate of Covid hospitalisations and ICU admissions is also slightly above the national rate, which is in the “high risk” level across most of Spain. 

READ ALSO: Is the Covid health pass helping to reduce infections in Spain?

Cantabria is the first of the thirteen regions who received court approval to implement the Covid health pass rule to not request an extension, with all other regional governments having already extended it by several weeks or not yet announced what their next step will be. 

READ MORE: Spain’s Andalusia and Valencia regions extend Covid health pass requirement

One positive Wallmann has pointed out is that since the Covid health pass was made mandatory for daily affairs, 5,700 adults in the region with a population of 581,000 inhabitants have had their first Covid-19 vaccines, instigated either by this measure or due to “fear” of contracting the virus during this sixth coronavirus wave. 

However, this "motivating effect" has now been completed and in recent weeks the number of initial adult vaccinations has been decreasing, so the region does not see "sufficient justification" to keep the Covid health pass any longer.

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