Gov’t preparing to isolate ‘asymptomatic positive’ cases

Ambulance delivering patients to Spanish hospitals as daily death toll appears to fall. Photo: EFE via El Diario
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Spanish President Pedro Sánchez has asked leaders of the country’s 17 regional autonomous communities to begin preparing for isolation of people who test positive for coronavirus but who do not display any symptoms, as a means to stopping further contagion of the virus in Spain.

The move comes following the announcement by Sánchez on Saturday that he will ask Congress for a further two-week extension of Spain’s “state of alarm” through 26th April.

During the extension period, Sánchez said in televised remarks on Saturday, his government would consult health experts on whether or not some of the restrictions on movement of people might be eased, including allowing people to leave their homes on an individual basis to exercise and allowing a parent to accompany children out of the home for exercise.

► News Sources: El País, La Vanguardia and El Diario …

On Sunday, the Health Ministry announced that the daily number of deaths due to coronavirus in Spain appeared to be falling, noting that in the previous 24 hours the daily death toll had dropped to 674, the lowest figure over the previous ten days. Officials cautioned that the apparent fall may be due in part to delays in reporting deaths over the weekend.

In confirming he will request a new two-week extension of the state of alarm, Sánchez said Saturday that health experts were predicting that a further lockdown period through 26th April would push Spain past the peak of the contagion curve and put the country on the road to a reduction in daily new cases of coronavirus.

Even so, Sánchez cautioned that the upcoming extension would not be the last. “The exceptional measures are not going to last another fifteen days,” he said, “they are going to last for a longer period.”

In his fourth weekly video-conference with regional leaders on Sunday, Sánchez told them the government is now distributing some 1.3 million rapid test kits to allow for massive coronavirus testing across Spain and said that the government had received “expert advice” from epidemiologists that the best way to slow the contagion during the subsequent phase may be to isolate away from their homes those who test positive for the virus but who do not yet show symptions.

Sánchez asked the regional leaders to each provide the central government with a list of public and private facilities in their regions, including hotels and sports centres, should it be necessary to use those facilities to isolate asymptomatic people who test positive in order to keep them from spreading the virus to family members.

► Click to read more news about Spain’s Coronavirus crisis …

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