Spain launches a new strategy against Covid19 (since 28 March 2022)
The Public Health Commission (PHC) has approved the update of the COVID-19 Surveillance and Control Strategy following the acute phase of the pandemic. The new strategy responds to the commitment made by the National Health System in the Zaragoza Declaration signed by the Minister for Health and the Spanish health ministers. It will begin from Monday 28th March and will be applied whenever healthcare utilisation indicators are at a low level.
The PHC concludes that the changes they have agreed are based on the fact that the high levels of immunity achieved in the Spanish population have led to a change in the epidemiology of COVID-19 that supports the transition to a different strategy that monitors and targets people and settings of higher vulnerability and monitors severe COVID-19 cases, and in vulnerable settings and people.
The indication for diagnostic tests is amended and will focus on vulnerable people (over 60s, immunocompromised and pregnant women), vulnerable settings (health and social-health care) and severe cases. Surveillance will focus on these groups. The diagnosis of patients with mild symptoms compatible with COVID-19 will be made according to the clinical management needs of the patient.
In this regard, the experts of the Public Health Commission recall that surveillance in this transitional phase will give way to a consolidated surveillance system for acute respiratory infections that should form the sentinel surveillance systems for acute respiratory infections (ARIs).
The end of isolations and quarantines
Regarding the control of COVID-19 in the general population, mild and asymptomatic confirmed cases will not to be isolated and close contacts will not need to quarantine. In this regard, recommendations will be issued regarding preventive measures such as the use of masks in all areas and avoiding contact with vulnerable people.
In vulnerable settings, such as health care or socio-health care facilities, specific isolation and control measures may be implemented.
These modifications have been communicated and assessed jointly with the European Centre for Disease Control and mechanisms have been established to guarantee coordination with surveillance at a European level and the correct inclusion of the information generated in Spain in the reports and documents monitoring the pandemic in the European Union.
It should also be noted that the extraordinary surveillance and control structures put in place during the pandemic will remain in place to monitor key indicators for early detection of changes in the situation that may require the re-implementation of control measures.
This strategy will remain in place until there is either a significant change in the trend indicating uncontrolled circulation of SARS-CoV-2 or a change in the epidemiological situation requiring the re-establishment of surveillance and control measures as proposed by the Alerts and Preparedness and Response Plan.