The regional health ministry doesn’t, as standard, publish data for imported cases.

The regional health ministry doesn’t, as standard, publish data for imported cases.

29-05-2021Jason Moore

The central government and the Madrid regional government are arguing about controls of travellers at Madrid-Barajas Airport and the number of imported cases of Covid. The Madrid government says that controls have been deficient and have been the cause of imported cases; the Sánchez government suggests otherwise.

According to the newspaper ‘El Economista’, the regional government states that there have been 731 imported cases of symptomatic travellers over the past year - the most, 60, from Colombia; the second most, 52, from the UK. The government further estimates that there have been 2,900 asymptomatic cases.

It doesn’t necessarily follow that all these cases are reflected in the Madrid region data, but if they are, they represent 0.5% of all cases. What isn’t being stated about these cases, assuming the figures are accurate, is transmission (if any).

In late October, the Balearic health ministry reported 272 imported cases (96 from abroad, 176 from the rest of Spain). These equated to 1.6% of all cases at that time. There is no doubting the fact that cases are imported - variants recently detected in the Balearics have been brought in. But these numbers, on the face of it, seem very low.

The regional health ministry doesn’t, as standard, publish data for imported cases. It should do, so that we can get a real feel for sources of infection. While one imported case is one too many, the level of risk doesn’t appear to be high. This said, if controls fail, then the risk increases.

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