The virulent Indian variant of the coronavirus could have already entered Spain. Two days after the director of CCAES, Fernando Simon, ruled out its presence in the country, this Wednesday it became known of the existence of a suspicious case in Valencia. It is about a woman, the sister of another who recently arrived from India, who remains admitted and isolated in the General Hospital of the city of Valencia. At the moment, however, there is no confirmation.
“It is very preliminary what we have, there is a suspicion but not confirmation, and until genomic sequencing is done there is no more information, “explained the Minister of Health, Carolina Darias, at the press conference after the Interterritorial Health Council.
Thus, at the moment all eyes are on this woman from Valencia to know if the variant that is overflowing the pandemic in India has arrived in Spain, where the british variant has become almost totally hegemonic, since it is the one that is registered in more than 95% of infections, Simon said Monday.
Sources from the Valencian Ministry of Health have indicated that “it is important to know that the case is unique and isolated“, until the results of the genomic study are known that indicate the origin of the infection of the woman in question.
Meanwhile, the measures to prevent the Indian variant from entering Spain and also the warnings about the risk that existing vaccines will not be effective against it.
Of this the World Health Organization (WHO) through its latest weekly epidemiological report in which it points out that the Indian variant could be behind the great rise of the pandemic in South Asia.
According to this document, laboratory studies show indications that it could be more contagious and resistant to some vaccines and which includes mutations “associated with increased transmission.”
The WHO also cites studies conducted in the United States that indicate a possible rreduction of neutralizing effects of vaccines against this variant. For example, one of the next to be approved in the EU, that of Novavax, you might not be able to counter it.
Faced with these warnings, Ugur Sahin, one of the founders of Biontech, that next to Pfizer has developed the vaccine that is administered the most right now in Spain, has “trusted“in which this serum is also effective against the Indian variant.
“Our method is based on the experiences gained against cancer. We experimented with many variants and, so far, we have achieved good results in all of them “, Sahin said in a virtual meeting with foreign correspondents in Spain.
Travel and quarantine
In this situation, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has updated this Wednesday its travel recommendations to other countries to advise Spaniards who do not travel to India given the seriousness of the situation due to the pandemic. To those who are there temporarily, he asks that come back as soon as possible.
On the other hand, until midnight from Friday to Saturday -at 00 hours on May 1- the quarantine will not take effect that the Government has imposed on people arriving in Spain from India, not on direct flights because there are no direct flights between the two countries, but on connecting flights with a stopover, for example, in other EU countries.
The decision to impose this quarantine was taken in the Council of Ministers last Tuesday, but it will not come into force until three days later, a delay that Darias has justified in that it is a decision that must first be have the green light of the National Court.
“Yesterday we adopted a Ministerial Order that has to be ratified by the National Court and a time limit is always set “, explained the minister, who has said that it is “inferior to other occasions”, given that the situation in India is “tremendously worrying”.