All close contacts of Covid positives will have to quarantine even if vaccinated
Catalan health authorities change protocol due to surge in cases and new variant
All close contacts of people who tested positive for Covid-19 will have to quarantine for 10 days from next week even if they have been vaccinated.
The Catalan health minister, Josep Maria Argimon, announced the change on Friday. Up until now, people who had been vaccinated were exempt from self-isolating if they had been in close contact with someone with the virus. Argimon insisted on the importance of self-isolating and lamented that around 40% of close contacts do not.
Authorities are facing a significant surge of cases amid the sixth wave, which is "conditioned" by the new variant, Omicron.
Indeed, Argimon said that he expects this strain to account for the majority of transmissions in a week to ten days and said it would be behind almost all new cases within three weeks. "It will be fast," he said.
On Friday, his ministry said that the Omicron variant may already account for 20% of the new Covid cases in Catalonia and around 25% of those in Barcelona.
As for whether new restrictions will be required, Argimon stated that this department was awaiting new recommendations from the Covid-19 Scientific Advisory Committee. He did not, however, state which measures would be considered, but he did stress that social interaction was an important factor behind new transmissions.
The Scientific Advisory Committee will meet on Friday evening and is set to begin preparing a report that will be given to the government at some point next week.
The government did confirm on Friday that over the next few days, the health department will call all over 60s without the booster shot to try to persuade them to have the extra jab.
Covid-19 figures in Catalonia
As of December 16, 2021, official figures, released daily on this website, state there have been 1,107,267 confirmed Covid-19 cases (PCR tests and others including antibody tests), and a total of 24,286 people with or suspected to have had the virus have died.
6,145,297 residents have been given the first dose of the vaccine, 77.6% of the total population. Out of those, 5,366,757 have also been administered a second dose (67.8% of the total population). 6,016,023 residents are considered to be fully immunized (75.7%).
Under 65s who have already had the virus are only required to have the first dose, and others have received a single-dose jab. Therefore, the % of two doses administered and % fully immunized do not match.
Booster shots will be given to over 60s, immunocompromised people, care home residents, and anyone who received the Janssen vaccine. Catalonia has administered 1,314,200 booster shots to these groups.
Filling the Sink podcast
Released on December 4, the Filling the Sink podcast episode below includes EU Covid certificate FAQs as well as information on travel rules, Omicron, and what to expect over the Christmas holiday season.