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The Ministry of Health in Spain has reached an agreement with the autonomous communities in regards to a transitory monitoring system against COVID-19 that will continue to work on the detection of serious cases, possible increases in incidence and discovering new variants.
A final version of the monitoring system will be similar to the one in place for the flu and it should be launched by the first quarter of 2023.
In the first phase, the monitor system should be capable of detecting increases in incidence in the general population, allowing for the early detection of new variants and the measurement of vaccine effectiveness. PCR and tests will continue to be used, but the measures and decisions will be based on the number of serious cases that require hospitalization, not on the accumulated incidence or on the total number of infections.
In the second phase, which should be functional within a year, a sentinel system will be launched, similar to the one used to detect flu outbreaks, which takes into account the selection of a representative sample of citizens (by age, sex, urban or rural place of residence).
“We believe the need to accelerate the implementation process of sentinel surveillance systems was essential, as it's going to be absolutely essential to achieve the surveillance of COVID-19, influenza, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) in a practical way. It is a more sustainable type of surveillance over time, more efficient for professionals. It can provide valuable information on the evolution of infections and what the patterns of severe disease are” Spain's Minister of Health, Carolina Darias added.