ASTURIAS has become Spain’s first coronavirus free region, going two weeks without registering a new positive case.
According to the daily reports by the Health Ministry, it is the only region to have moved onto this stage, after not having recorded a new infected patient in 14 days.
The two week period has been an important benchmark throughout the coronavirus crisis, as the virus is thought to take up to 14 days before manifesting itself.
That’s why self-isolation and quarantine periods were set for two weeks.
Epidemiologists however suggest that 28 days is the optimal period in order to completely guarantee that the virus is 100% gone.
Luis Hevia, the head of Asturias’s largest healthcare area told El Pais: “The PCR tests are consistently coming back negative.”
Several weeks ago, the Central University Hospital in the region was almost exclusively dedicated for COVID-19 patients, but there is now only one patient in the general ward and six in the ICU.
Rafael Cofiño, the regional government’s managing director of public health told El Pais: “We have been working so much with the same routine to detect cases and define protocols that we didn’t even realize that we had made the two-week benchmark.”
Asturias’s northwestern geographic location has helped the region in registering consistently low numbers and now being coronavirus free, but officials are worried the virus will make a comeback now that tourists are allowed to visit.
In addition, many Spaniards from the big cities have second homes in the region and are expected to spend a good chunk of their summer holidays there.
“After the great effort we have all made, we do not want to let our guard down,” added Blanca Aranda, the cabinet head of the regional health department, also speaking to El Pais.
“We know that people from other regions will arrive in the summer and it is very likely that the virus will be reintroduced.”