Spain removes more quarantine requirements, another step in Europe’s halting move toward normality


People in close contact with those who have tested positive for the coronavirus in Spain are, as of Saturday, no longer required to quarantine, regardless of their vaccination status.

Instead, the country’s Health Ministry recommends that those exposed to an infected person exercise caution and act responsibly. A similar rule for vaccinated people had been lifted recently, and this extension was attributed in part to lower case rates, the government said.

The change is expected to particularly affect schools, some of which have had to quarantine entire classrooms after detecting cases among students. Children under 12 are less likely to have completed their vaccination program, and only about 17 percent of the age group is fully vaccinated, according to government data.

Spain has joined a number of other countries in Europe in recently easing restrictions. The strategies and situations across the continent have varied, with some taking a more staggered approach and others more immediately trying to “live with the virus.”

Spanish island relaxes more Covid rules from today


Gran Canaria has relaxed more of its Covid restrictions today, making it easier for people to socialise.

The Canary Island was on the highest level of Covid alert – Level 4 – but as of midnight this morning, it has been reduced to Level 3.

The change means that groups of up to 12 people can sit at a table in a restaurant in Gran Canaria, compared to just eight under Level 4 rules.

Hospitality venues, such as restaurants and bars, can stay open until 4am instead of 3am and nightclubs can operate at 100 per cent capacity outside, compared to 75 per cent.

Gran Canaria follows in the footsteps of Tenerife and La Palma which were downgraded from Level 4 to Level 3 last month.

The change will come as good news to Brits with plans to go to the Spanish island in the coming weeks.

Spain Calls for Debate to Consider Covid as Endemic, Like Flu


Spain is calling on Europe to debate the possibility that Covid-19 can now be treated as an endemic illness, setting a model to monitor its evolution akin to the one used for flu.

“It’s a necessary debate; Science has given us the answer to protect ourselves,” Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said in interview yesterday with radio station Cadena Ser, adding that the virus’s lethality has been dropping since the beginning of the pandemic. “We have to evaluate the evolution of covid from pandemic to an endemic illness,” he said.

Sanchez’s comments come as omicron, the latest variant dominating large swathes of Europe, has seen lower rates of hospitalizations and deaths than previous strains even as infections have soared.

Sanchez said there may be reasons now, “with precaution,” to assess the disease with different parameters than those used so far.

Falling Covid cases in Spain’s schools lead experts to believe herd immunity is near


Fears that were rife in Spain a month ago ahead of the return to school of 5.2 million students under the age of 12 have now made way for optimism. A possible rise in infections among the only group of the population that has not been vaccinated against Covid-19 has not come to pass, and experts are starting to consider that the levels of protection reached – nearly 80% of the Spanish population has been fully inoculated – have brought Spain to a situation that is nearing something resembling herd immunity. While the total eradication of the virus is not expected, the experts consider that the moment when students aged over six in elementary schools will no longer have to wear face masks is not far away.

“We are in the best of the scenarios that we could have expected a month ago,” explains Quique Bassat, an epidemiologist and researcher at the ISGlobal institute in Barcelona. “Community transmission has fallen a lot and very fast, and this, together with the protection measures that have been maintained in schools, has been sufficient even with a variant that’s as contagious as delta,” he explains, in reference to the strain that first was detected in India and has now become predominant.

Jesús Rodríguez Baño, the head of infectious diseases at the Virgen de la Macarena Hospital in Seville, shares this view. “If we have to look for an explanation for why the epidemiological situation is improving in a sustained manner, and is also doing so among those who are unvaccinated, given that the delta variant is circulating and we are gradually returning to normal, the only plausible one is that something similar to that concept of herd immunity is already working,” he says.

The daily report from the Spanish Health Ministry provides the data that support these hopes, only tempered by the “necessary precautions that must be maintained when faced with a virus about which we still don’t know things like how long immunity lasts,” as Rodríguez Baño explains. The 14-day cumulative incidence was, in Thursday’s ministry report, at 40.5 cases per 100,000 inhabitants, a third of that registered a month ago. This trend has also been seen among the under-12s, for whom the incidence has fallen from 150 to 60 this month. The fall has been even more abrupt – from 154 cases to barely 30 – among the 12-19 age group, 80% of whom have already been fully vaccinated against Covid-19.

If these data are compared to a year ago, when the second wave began to take shape, the differences are stark. The incidence then was in excess of 250 cases per 100,000 inhabitants, there were 11,300 Covid-19 patients in hospital and 1,600 ICU patients. In Catalonia, for example, a year ago there were 1,500 classes confined – now there are just 100.

Spain’s Covid-19 immunization drive: more than 60% of population fully vaccinated


The Covid-19 vaccination drive in Spain continues to progress at a good pace. According to the latest Health Ministry report, more than 60% of the population is fully vaccinated. This makes it the country with the highest share of completely immunized people out of the world’s 50 most populated countries after Canada, according to Our World In Data, a website run by Oxford University.

Nine in 10 people aged 40 and over are fully vaccinated, according to the latest figures, and the focus now is on reaching out to people who have not yet got their shots. In most regions – which are in charge of the vaccination drive as well as controlling the pandemic in their territories – all of the 12-and-over population are able to make an appointment to get vaccinated. A Covid-19 vaccine has not yet been approved for children under the age of 12.

Spain’s Basque Country, the Canary Islands, Murcia, the Balearic Islands, Navarre and Aragón have been vaccinating the 12-and-over population for some time, while Andalusia, Madrid, Catalonia, Extremadura, La Rioja and some provinces of Castilla y León started this week. Valencia, meanwhile, is targeting people who did not get their shots when it was their turn. In a bid to reach this group, the region is sending SMS messages with suggested dates for vaccination appointments. Galicia and Asturias are vaccinating teenagers by descending age, but have not yet reached children aged 12.

Spain’s Covid-19 vaccination drive meets second major target of immunizing 10m people by first week of June


As the fall in transmission rates continues to slow, health authorities are rushing to vaccinate younger people, who play a key role in the spread of the coronavirus. Every region is now scheduling shots for the 40-49 age group

As of today, all of Spain’s 17 regions are on their way to vaccinating the 40-49 age group against Covid-19. This demographic is receiving the BioNTech-Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, which are both based on RNA messenger technology, as well as the medication from Janssen, which only requires one dose. Which of these vaccines is administered to people in this age group depends on the availability of the doses in each region, which are responsible for their own vaccination drives and for containing the pandemic in their territories. Madrid had been lagging behind the other regions, but on Tuesday began to send appointments out to the 40-49 age group and is due to begin administering shots to this segment on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, the overall vaccination drive is continuing to gather pace. Last week, 5.1 million doses arrived in Spain – the largest shipment since the campaign began in late December – and of this figure, 3.1 million were administered. Indeed, the country on Friday met the central government’s second vaccination target: to have 10 million people fully vaccinated by the first week of June. The first goal was to have five million people fully vaccinated by the first week of May, an objective it surpassed. Since the beginning of the pandemic, more than 30 million shots have been administered and around 42% of the entire population has received at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine (nearly 50% of the over-16s – see graph below).

Back to the beach: Spain welcomes all vaccinated tourists from June 7


Tourist magnet Spain will let people from anywhere in the world who are vaccinated against COVID-19 enter the country from June 7, hoping to galvanise a recovery in the devastated tourism sector.

The world’s second most visited country before the pandemic hit, foreign tourism to Spain plunged 80% last year as restrictions brought leisure travel to a virtual standstill, leaving its beaches, palaces and hotels almost deserted.

Entry will be allowed to vaccinated travellers regardless of their country of origin, and notably from the United States, Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez announced on Friday at Madrid’s FITUR international tourism trade fair.

Spain will also permit tourists from 10 non-EU countries deemed low-risk to enter without a negative PCR test for coronavirus from May 24.

New vaccination record in Spain: 611,767 doses administered in one day


New vaccination record in Spain. In the last day, 611,767 doses have been administered , according to the latest daily report from the Ministry of Health on the progress of the campaign, corresponding to this Friday. A record number of vaccinations that comes after several days in which the daily immunization rate seemed to have slowed down.

To date, 21,683,707 vaccines against the coronavirus have been given in our country. Thus, according to Health data, 6,976,683 Spaniards already have the complete vaccination schedule (260,527 more than the day before), while 14.9 million citizens already have at least one dose.

Thus, 31.4% of the population already has at least one dose of the vaccine, while 14.7% have already completed the administration regimen. If calculated on the total population to be vaccinated, these percentages amount to 36.3% with at least one dose and 16.7% with the complete immunization schedule.

Weekly Covid-19 deaths in Spain fall 90% since start of vaccination campaign


Spain is starting to gain ground over the coronavirus. According to the latest Health Ministry report, infections remain at very high levels, coming in on Wednesday at 173 cases per 100,000 inhabitants over the last 14 days. But the progress of the vaccination drive and the restrictions that have been in place to slow the spread of the virus have softened the effects of Covid-19 on the worst parameter of the pandemic: the number of deaths.

Since the vaccination program began to take effect at the start of the year, the numbers of Covid-19 victims have fallen dramatically. The effect of the vaccines, which protect people from serious illness and death, as well as the fall in transmission due to social restrictions, have accelerated this descent. Since the end of January, weekly Covid-19 deaths have gone down by 90%.

Spain was dealing with the third wave of the virus when the first vaccines were administered on December 27, 2020. The first round of shots was more symbolic than anything else: 10,000 doses that were distributed in senior residences, which suffered the most from the effects of the virus and as such were top of the list when it came to who should get protection first.

The vaccines used at the start required two doses and the first shot did not start to take effect until 15 days after its administration. By the end of January, just when the third wave peaked with 900 cases per 100,000 inhabitants on January 27, the first injections began to have an effect and deaths, in particular in senior residences, began to fall.

According to data from the Imserso institute for seniors and social services, in the last week of January 778 elderly people died in care homes due to Covid-19. But in recent months, and with such places completely protected, the number of victims in such centers has plummeted: just six deaths between April 26 and May 2, the last week for which there is consolidated data.

One in four Spaniards has had one dose of COVID-19 vaccine


One in four Spaniards has now had one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, health authorities said on Monday, as the country speeds up its inoculation programme.

In total, 12,162,359 people have received one dose of one of the four vaccines being used in Spain – or 25.6% of the population of 47 million.

Some 5,098,903 people have had both doses of the vaccine, or 11% of the population.

Socialist Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said last month he expected 70% of the population to be vaccinated by the end of August.

The country’s two-week coronavirus contagion rate fell to 223 cases per 100,000 people on Monday compared with 229 on Friday, according to health ministry data.