Health and the communities will address the new covid-19 surveillance system on March 10 in Zaragoza

The Ministry of Health and the autonomous communities will meet next week in Zaragoza, specifically on the 10th, to address the elimination of masks in schools, an issue that the Ministry considers has a place in that meeting called to discuss the new covid-19 surveillance system.

This was expressed by the Minister of Health, Carolina Darias, at a press conference after the Interterritorial Health Council, which this Wednesday has not debated this issue despite the fact that some communities such as Catalonia or Andalusia they had requested a progressive de-escalation of masks in classrooms, from younger to older, as recommended by the Spanish Association of Pediatrics.

The minister explained that at that meeting in Zaragoza the new global health surveillance strategy will be discussed and also the transition towards the control of the new covid-19 and has hinted that this scenario is the right one to talk about the removal of the masks, a decision that, he said, should be made “paced and with consensus based on the data”.

This transition towards a new public health surveillance system will be carried out in a coordinated manner throughout the National Health System and with European partners. Darias has recalled that Spain had already proposed on occasion to the EU institutions the obligation to advance to a new system.

Regarding the end of the mandatory nature of masks in closed spaces, today the majority of the communities have asked for caution, although with differences according to the territories. In the Basque Country they prefer, for the time being, to keep them, while Catalonia it is more prone to its withdrawal starting with the classrooms, a position that Andalusia also defended yesterday.

At this start of a new surveillance strategy, whiche is on the way to the covid flu, Darias has also advanced that as of next week the periodicity of the reports will be modified, which will be issued once every seven days in the case of vaccination and twice a week those related to data and accumulated incidence.

Darias has justified this new strategy in an epidemiological situation that “progresses adequately”, and for this reason the Public Health Commission agreed to eliminate the quarantines of close contacts, regardless of vaccination status.

The Minister of Health has highlighted the downward trend consolidated in the last six weeks.

Thus, he emphasized that in the last week the accumulated incidence has been reduced by 30%, going from 753 cases per 100,000 inhabitants to 486 registered today. And he added that in the last six weeks the incidence has gone from 3,397 cases per 100,000 inhabitants in 14 days to the current 486, a reduction that is observed in all age groups.

This good evolution of the pandemic is linked to a lower severity of the disease, which has made it possible to lower hospital pressure indicators, well below those of a year ago.

This Wednesday, the occupancy of hospital beds is at 4.9% compared to 9.3% in the same period of 2021, and the same occurs with the occupancy of the ICUs.

Regarding the omicron variant (BA.2), the minister has said that it has been identified in ten communities, although its presence is varied, since it ranges between 0.8% and 35% of infections.

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