Spain’s Ministry of Health has proposed changes to the Covid ‘traffic light’ system which will enable more flexibility now that a high percentage of the population has been vaccinated against the virus.
The department suggests raising the acceptable contagions at each alert level so that the ‘low risk’ threshold for the virus should be below 100 cases per 100,000 residents and not the 50 that currently marks the barrier. The ‘high risk’ accumulated incidence level will start at 300, not the 150 it is currently.
The incidence is one of the indicators that is used to help the regional governments decide what measures to put in place to avoid the pandemic spreading again.
The Alerts Report committee indicated that the change could in fact be approved when the Public Health Commission meets today, Tuesday, November 16.
These changes appear in the draft of the new document of coordinated actions, the so-called ‘traffic light’ system, that the Health Ministry has handed over to the autonomous communities. The document prepared by the Ministry's Report on Alerts and Preparedness and Response Plans indicates that "the current epidemiological situation is very favourable, with a marked decrease in serious cases and fatality, coupled with high vaccination coverage”.
The document also presents a review of the risk indicators and the measures that are associated with each of them, that the communities should start taking again if there is an increase in infections. In this case, the Health Ministry also asks the communities "to be especially cautious when reducing the recommendations and control measures applied", asking them to give a "sufficient time, of at least two weeks”.
In regards to the pressure placed on hospitals, below 2% of the total beds and 5% in intensive care units occupied would be considered a 'new normal'. But two new indicators have been proposed, the number of new hospital admissions and the number of patients in intensive care units in seven days per 100,000 population. If they should exceed five and one per cent, respectively, the 'new normal' will be left to enter low risk.
As far as infection rates in Spain are concerned, over the weekend, the pandemic continued with its upward trend. The 14-day incident rate rose by 11 to 82.02 cases per 100,000 residents, a level that hasn’t been seen since September 20.
The seven-day incidence rate which is the main indicator for the future, stands at 48.67 cases per 100,000, more than double that of the two-week rate. The number of infections recorded also showed a notable increase.
The Ministry of Health added 9,798 Covid-19 positive cases during Saturday and Sunday, a figure that is well above the 6,461 reported on Monday of last week and according to official statistics, the total number of Covid-19 infections in Spain during the pandemic has risen to 5,056,954.
In regards to fatalities, since March of last year, Ministry of Health records show that 87,716 people have lost their lives to Covid, with 43 deaths recorded in the last 48 hours.
Image Credit: Pool Moncloa / Borja Puig de la Bellacasa