Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez is amongst the first from Europe to push for treating the Omicron as nothing more severe than the flu.
"The situation is not what we faced a year ago. I think we have to evaluate the evolution of COVID to an endemic illness, from the pandemic we have faced up until now." Fortune reported Sánchez saying to Spain's Cadena SER.
This would shift the country's approach to the Omicron strain of the coronavirus to that of the flu- without the severe lockdowns or restrictions.
Spain's take on the situation differs from other European countries that face resistance over vaccines, Fortune reports, such as in Germany that is pushing for a vaccine mandate, or France, where President Emmanuel Macron said that he aims to restrict public life of those unvaccinated to such an extreme as to get on their nerves.
- Is Israeli Health Ministry misleading government on Omicron deaths?
- French Pres. promises to 'hassle' unvaccinated
- Record-breaking streak continues: 43,815 new COVID-19 cases
- COVID expert: Millions will be infected with Omicron
Sánchez also stated that the fatality rate stands at 1%, in contrast to the fatality rate of 13% during the the first wave. In addition to the vaccines given, they are now introducing the new Pfizer medicine Paxlovid, of which they purchased 344,000 doses, according to the Fortune report.
"Now, given [Omicron's] enormous transmissibility, it is a huge challenge to strictly comply with universal surveillance protocols. It's becoming impossible," Amparo Larrauri, heads of surveillance for flu and other similar viruses in Spain, reported the newspaper El Pais.
Spain has attempted to shield the economy and school system from a severe blow during the Omicron wave, cutting isolation time from 10 days to 7, and requiring students to go into isolation only from classrooms of five or more corona cases.
"It's premature to talk about the 'flu-ization' of COVID," said a former director of WHO, in response to the outlook of the PM of Spain. "It is inappropriate to trivialize the sixth wave and think that we are in an endemic phase. This type of discourse does not obey a rigorous epidemiological analysis. It will happen in many months, not now, " Fortune reported,