Spain passed the number deemed a cause for maximum alert some time ago.

IN Spain both the Health Ministry and the autonomous communities have not published numerical thresholds, but have been working with them since July.

It has since been discovered that in terms of the incidence rate, Spain passed the number deemed a cause for maximum alert some time ago.

The Ministry brought together all the communities to agree on a package of restrictions throughout the territory, such as the closure of nightlife or a ban on smoking without a distance of two metres.

In any case, the incidence is only one of the 13 indicators, which are intended to be jointly assessed. One of them is the delay in the notification: no matter how low the incidence is in seven days.

In addition to the aforementioned criteria, it takes into account the incidence of cases with symptoms, the increase in diagnoses over the previous weeks, the increase in symptoms, the percentage of transmission of known chains, the rates of CRP performed in primary care, those attended to in health centres.

Although Health assigns numerical thresholds in its internal reports to determine in each of these indicators if the situation is good, intermediate or if an alert is necessary, a ministry spokesperson explains that they are not decision-making figures, but rather to study to see the situation in that found in each community in the context of Spain.

“They are dynamic thresholds to develop situation maps so they constantly change. Right now, Spain has an incidence greater than 100, so the threshold of 60 cases per 100,000 inhabitants in 14 days is out of date and has to be updated, “he says.

Many experts have criticised the lack of clear indicators for decision making. Epidemiologists defend that it should not be based on just one, but that there must be several that are made public.

Ildefonso Hernández, spokesperson for the Spanish Society of Public Health (Sespas), believes “The discussion between 1,000 and 500 seems idle to me; I worry about 50 and over. There are some levels that allow you to negotiate with the virus or coexist in a calm way, you know that you can control any event and return to normality, but when it starts to go above 100 cases per 100,000 inhabitants you have to make quite strong efforts, having taken into account the number of asymptomatic patients and superspreaders”, he points out.

He gives the example of Andalucia: With 60 cases per 100,000 inhabitants, we are talking about 4,800 cases, with their respective contacts. You have to do surveys and isolate a crowd,” he adds.

Those 500 cases that Hernández talks about is a minimum rate published in the BOE from which to confine territories and reduce capacity and hours in commercial and hospitality premises.

Health is now working on a traffic light system that, yes, will be public and will order the communities to take certain measures when certain thresholds are exceeded.

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Damon Mitchell

From the interviewed to the interviewer

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