SPAIN will see a fifth wave of coronavirus driven by the rising number of infections among young people, an immunologist has warned.
Alfredo Corell, immunology professor at Spain’s University of Valladolid issued the warning on Monday after more than 1,000 COVID cases across the country were traced back to an end-of-year school trip to Mallorca.
“We should already call it the fifth wave,” he said.
He also slammed communication during the pandemic as ‘disastrous’ and said he was dismayed that rules on the mandatory use of masks outside were lifted in June.
Corell said: “They should have waited for the June festivities to end and emphasised that they are still mandatory, except in cases where the safety distance is observed.”
It comes as the Delta variant, which first originated in India, continues to spread across Spain.
Corell added that vaccinating minors between the ages of 12 and 16 was ‘nonsense’ because the risk was minimal and the new variants could mean the vaccine will not protect them.
Spain has already begun accelerating plans to vaccinate the under 30, with many regions hoping to start offering them jabs this month.
The government says the vaccination programme has reached “cruising speed” and is on track to reach its target of having 70% of the population vaccinated by the end of the summer.
But efforts have been complicated by the arrival of variants of the virus and by the Mallorca outbreak, which has infected at least 1,176 people and left 4,796 in quarantine across Spain.
On Thursday, about 170 students who had tested negative after being confined to a hotel on the Balearic island since last Saturday were allowed to begin their journey home. Another 70 students remain in quarantine in the hotel.
Spain’s health emergencies chief, Fernando Simón, said: “These are important figures that demand our attention.
“We need to be very clear that it’s the unvaccinated groups that are at greatest risk.”
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