Quarantines back for close contacts – even if vaccinated

Experts to propose more restrictions to counter expansion of Omicron variant and Catalan Government to make a decision next week

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Ambient in the center of Barcelona with the Christmas lights

BarcelonaAnyone having been in close contact with a confirmed case of covid will have quarantine for ten days, whether they are vaccinated or not. Health minister Josep Maria Argimon has advanced that the change in protocol will be published this Friday and will be required as of next week. So far, this restriction only applied to the unvaccinated and close contacts of Omicron cases.

The threat of the Omicron variant, which is spreading across Catalonia, and the rampant growth of infections throughout the country in the run up to Christmas has led to an extraordinary meeting of the scientific advisory committee this Friday to propose a series of recommendations to try to control the pandemic. The report will raise the need to deploy new restrictions over the Christmas holidays or tighten existing ones – mainly the use of the covid pass – as well as to accelerate the booster vaccination campaign for the over 60, as advanced by the epidemiologist and president of the advisory committee, Magda Campins. At the moment no further details of this report have been made public.

The Health Department has confirmed that next week the commission will hand over a document with technical recommendations to try to curb the curve of infections, which are currently soaring with over 28,700 positive a week. A decision will then be made on whether follow to the recommendations and increase restrictions now, or wait until after Christmas.

Currently, the Omicron variant is spreading very quickly across Catalonia. In fact, Health has reported in a statement that 20% of the samples analysed are already suspected of having the mutation emerged in South Africa. The first two cases were detected in travellers to South Africa on November 29 and were confirmed on December 2. This has led the Health Department to reiterate calls to reinforce known protective measures (hand washing, interpersonal distance, mask and ventilation of spaces) and vaccination of those who have not yet done so, as well as the administration of a booster dose for the over 60.