A meeting of the Public Health Commission, formed by the Ministry of Health and the general directors of Public Health of the autonomous communities, has unanimously agreed at noon this Wednesday to shorten the isolation time for positive cases of covid from 10 to 7 days should save if they are asymptomatic or develop a mild picture of covid. The seven-day period begins to count from the onset of symptoms or, in the case of asymptomatic patients, from the positive result. The Minister of Health, Carolina Darias, has specified this afternoon, after the meeting of the Interterritorial Health Council, that this reduction of the isolation time will be applied from this Thursday, December 30, and has explained that to end the period of seven days and return to normal life will not require any test, neither PCR nor antigens.
The measure will come into force imminently, waiting for the protocols to be adapted in the coming hours, as reported by Health sources. According to data from the Ministry, more than 500,000 people have tested positive in Spain in the last 10 days and, therefore, are isolated at the moment. Darias has added that the isolated week will have to be saved by people who test positive starting this Thursday, New Year’s Eve.
Cristóbal Belda, director of the Carlos III Health Institute, explained that the decision has been adopted after a sharp reduction in what has been called “time of uncertainty”, that is, the period that passes from the contact from a person testing positive until they have symptoms of covid. “We have seen that this period of uncertainty is shortened, which can be about 48 hours, which allows adapting the isolates to this initial period of uncertainty,” he specified as one of the fundamental reasons for the shortening.
The meeting was called in an extraordinary way at 1:30 p.m. this afternoon, it was held at two in the afternoon and ended just before four o’clock. The Commission, which was not scheduled to meet until next week, has also decided reduce the quarantine required by unvaccinated close contacts of positive cases from 10 to 7 days (Those vaccinated should no longer quarantine from last week).
This resolution does not wait for the request of the Alert Report, in which the experts had requested one more week of time to analyze the scarce existing data on the transmission dynamics of the omicron variant in a meeting this Wednesday. The decision of the Public Health Commission has been rushed in recent hours, after yesterday several communities were in favor of raising the measure in the Interterritorial Health Council that was held on Wednesday afternoon with the assistance of the Minister, Carolina Darias, and the Health Councilors. This type of decision is not taken in the Council, but in the Commission, which is why the meeting has been called at the last minute. Although it usually follows the requests of the experts, these are not binding on the Commission, as has been the case today.
Spain thus follows the path set by countries such as the United Kingdom, which last week also agreed to shorten isolation from 10 to 7 days, or the United States. In the latter case, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommended this Tuesday to reduce the isolation from 10 to 5 five days.