Several countries are trying to find the right balance between public health and economic growth in the face of the explosion of Covid contaminations and in particular the Omicron variant. This is what Spain is currently trying to do. Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez announced on Wednesday to reduce the duration of the quarantine of people positive for Covid-19 to seven days, down from ten previously.
The country fears the destabilization of its economy after a record 100,760 cases recorded in 24 hours.
The decision is also justified by the observation “of a shorter incubation period for this variant (Omicron) compared to others” according to some experts, explained the Spanish Minister of Health, Carolina Darias. This reduction in the isolation period only concerns people who are asymptomatic on the seventh day, she detailed Wednesday evening to the press. The contact cases of a positive person at Omicron are also not obliged to isolate themselves but to limit their contacts.
The economy worries more than the pressure on the health system
Argentina announced a similar measure on Wednesday: isolation is reduced to seven days for people positive with the full vaccination schedule, and to five days for asymptomatic contact cases, but vaccinated. The duration will remain ten days for those who have not received the two doses, including for contact cases.
“The current concern (…) in countries with vaccination coverage like ours, with the Omicron variant which is more transmissible but less lethal, is not so much (the pressure on) the health system, as it is ‘was the case before, but an economic impact linked to the isolation, ”said the Minister.
Argentina, like other South American countries, has experienced an exponential increase in the pandemic in recent days, with more than 42,000 new positive cases recorded on Wednesday for the last 24 hours, twice as many as on Monday, and six times more than a week ago.
In France, the duration of isolation is still a headache
The United States also chose Sunday to halve the duration of the quarantine of infected people and their contact cases from ten to five days, also to curb economic disruptions, especially in the aviation sector. This concerns asymptomatic people. The duration is reduced from 14 to five days for unvaccinated contact cases.
Before Christmas, the United Kingdom was the first country to review its isolation rules for the Omicron variant. People who test positive, but vaccinated, must now self-isolate for a week, against ten days previously.
In France, new isolation rules for patients and their contacts must be set “by the end of the week”, explained Labor Minister Elisabeth Borne on Thursday morning. Currently, simple contact cases must be isolated for 7 days, but contact cases of a person living in the home must be quarantined for 17 days, according to Health Insurance.