21st June 2024
Children returning to school.
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Spain lifts quarantine for Covid close contacts, ‘regardless of vaccination status’

Spain is to lift the need to quarantine for Covid-19 close contacts from Saturday 5 March, even for those who are unvaccinated. The measure will particularly benefit families with children – as only 18% of the 5-11 age group are currently fully vaccinated. 9% of adults in Spain (aged over 12) are also not fully vaccinated. Also read: Covid-19 Vaccinations in Spain.

The country’s public health committee, together with the regional health authorities, made the decision on Tuesday evening.

Those people who have been in contact with a positive Covid case, however, are still recommended to take ‘extreme precautions’ in the immediate days after and ‘reduce social interactions as much as possible’ by wearing a face mask, in addition to avoiding contact with vulnerable people.

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez had said there was ‘unanimity’ regarding the change in the measures on Monday evening, during an interview with Spanish public broadcaster TVE. The debate regarding the end of the quarantine has been on the agenda for a few weeks.

Three months ago it was decided to exempt the fully vaccinated from isolation if they had been in close contact (that is, 15 minutes or more without a face mask) with a positive case. From Saturday, it will apply to everyone ‘regardless of vaccination status’.

The quarantine of close contacts had become a headache for families with children in Spain, with the minors, not being vaccinated, having to stay at home in case of close contact with a positive case, whilst their vaccinated parents did not. With the sixth wave in decline and a vaccination rate throughout the country that now exceeds 92% among those over 12 years of age, Catalonia had already gone ahead of the public health commission and last Wednesday unilaterally abolished school quarantines. In addition, the Catalan government had abolished the obligation for families and schools to communicate if a minor has Covid-19.

For those who are positive with Covid, it is still compulsory to isolate for at least seven days. Several regions have asked in recent weeks for the number of days to be reduced.

In his TV interview on Monday evening, the Spanish prime minister had avoided setting a date on when the compulsory wearing of face masks indoors in public spaces will be removed, after they are no longer compulsory outdoors

Covid-19 Figures (1 March)

The latest figures released on Tuesday 1 March show the incidence rate has now dropped to 515. There are now 6,478 people hospitalised with Covid across the country (5.23% occupation of hospital beds), and less than 1,000 intensive care beds occupied (5.23%). There have been 99,883 deaths related to Covid in Spain since the start of the pandemic. We will publish full weekly statistics this Friday 4 March. Click here for all our reports on: Coronavirus in Spain.

Children returning to school.
From our archive: children having their temperatures taken when they returned to school in Valencia in September 2020. (Education Dept, Valencia Gov)

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