Health will only count serious and vulnerable cases of covid

  • The Public Health Commission will decide next week when the change in the surveillance system begins

The Ministry of Health and the autonomous communities have given this Thursday a new step towards the ‘flu’ of covid. They have agreed that during the “transition” phase until the implementation of a complete “sentinel surveillance system for respiratory diseases” an “individualized” surveillance of covid will be maintained exclusively of the severe cases or in settings considered vulnerable. In other words, each contagion will not be counted and notified, only those that affect people in vulnerable areas (such as the elderly or residents in social health centers), at risk of social exclusion and those who develop the disease in a serious way.

According to the so-called ‘Declaration of Zaragoza’, the system will allow “detecting increases in incidence in the general population, early detection of new variants and the measurement of vaccine effectiveness”. The document establishes that the new surveillance system, which will include the coronavirus and a broad set of diseases, will be ready before the end of the first quarter of 2023, but does not set when all the covid cases.

The Minister of Health, Carolina Darias, has clarified that the alert presentation, which brings together the experts, will submit a proposal in this regard next week to the Public Health Commission and it will be this body, made up of the Ministry and the autonomies, which decides from when the change in notification begins.


The decision coincides with the agreement reached last week on the dissemination of epidemiological data. The Interterritorial Council agreed that the balance prepared daily by the Center for Alerts and Emergencies with the data of the communities will be disseminated, starting next week, only on Tuesdays and Fridays. And the report on the vaccination campaign, only on Fridays.

The Community of Madrid has been in favor of matching these changes with the removal of the mask indoors except in hospitals, residences and public transport and with the end of isolation for mild or asymptomatic patients. But it was not on the agenda and both decisions will be studied at future meetings of the Public Health Commission or the Interterritorial Council. Madrid has also advanced that, within its powers, it will not carry out tests on all people with compatible symptoms of covid, but rather it will be the health professionals who will indicate if necessary based on the clinical assessment.

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The State Network

The Zaragoza Declaration goes beyond covid and proposes to create a State Public Health Surveillance Networkwhich is made up of national and community networks, which includes the communicable diseases but also non-communicable diseasesviolence and injuries, social determinants and health inequities and integrate information from other systems such as pharmacovigilance, animal health, food safety, environmental health and others.

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