Ministry of Health eliminates quarantines for asymptomatic covid patients as of Monday

Type of isolation will be decided by health personnel depending on the infected person

2 min
A boy with a mask passing in front of a closed store in Barcelona.

MADRIDThe Public Health Commission, a body under the Ministry of Health, has approved this Tuesday the new strategy for surveillance and control of covid-19 that eliminates quarantines for people infected by the virus who are asymptomatic. The measure will come into effect on Monday, March 28, and is a further step in treating coronavirus like influenza.

Following the reduction of quarantines, the Ministry of Health has decided to put an end to isolation of unsymptomatic coronavirus cases, as well as surveillance of close contacts. Thus, isolation, currently reduced to seven days, will only be mandatory for severe cases or for vulnerable population. However, it will be up to health personnel to decide whether to impose quarantines on patients depending on individuals' risk level.

In addition, the Public Health Commission decided to modify the protocol for carrying out diagnostic tests. As of Monday, it will focus on people with vulnerability factors (over 60 years of age, immunocompromised or pregnant women), healthcare workers and severe cases of covid-19.

The Ministry of Health points out that this strategy will be applied as long as the indicators used by healthcare services, such as the number of infections or hospitalisations, remain at a low level. In other words, if the trend changes and cases become uncontrolled again, or if there is a "change in the epidemiological situation that requires measures to be taken", the strategy approved on Tuesday will be reviewed.

High levels of immunity

The decision by the Public Health Commission has been announced after observing "high levels of immunity" among the Spanish population, the Ministry of Health said in a statement. According to the health authorities, the current "epidemiological change in covid-19" is the one that allows a move towards a different strategy to monitor the virus.

At the end of last year, the Spanish government was already advocating a "balance between public health, mental health and economic growth". "These three areas are what the government of Spain is working on in co-governance with regional governments," Spanish President Pedro Sánchez said at the time, opening the door to treating covid-19 as a flu.