Spain's finance minister, Maria Jesús Montero. | Efe

Speaking in Seville on Monday, Spain's finance minister, María Jesús Montero, said that vaccination remains the government's "priority strategy" for dealing with the Omicron variant.

She observed that Omicron is more contagious and more transmissible but causes fewer hospital admissions, including intensive care, and less mortality. This constitutes "an extraordinarily positive element when it comes to assessing how this pandemic has evolved", as the current situation, despite the rise in numbers of people testing positive, "has nothing to do with the one that we found ourselves in a year ago".

Montero added that the government doesn't expect that public services will be affected by sick leave because of the "sixth wave" of the virus, but where there are concerns, they are principally in the health sector and in schools. A meeting on Tuesday will discuss the safe return to school following the holiday.

"We must proceed with caution. People already know how to protect themselves and the most vulnerable. Above all, it is vaccination, vaccination, vaccination, as there is no other instrument to combat the virus."