A selection of the best stories and features from EL PAÍS

Dear readers,

The headlines this week were dominated by news of the omicron variant of the coronavirus, which has more than 30 mutations and is believed to be more contagious than other strains.

In response to the concerns over the variant, Spain announced tighter restrictions on travel as well as quarantine measures for travelers from at-risk countries. Close contacts of omicron cases will also have to self-isolate for 10 days even if they are vaccinated.

By midday Friday, seven cases of the omicron variant had been detected in Spain: three in Madrid, two in Catalonia and two in the Balearic Islands. All of the cases, with the exception of one in the Madrid region, were among people who had recently arrived from South Africa. Meanwhile, coronavirus cases continue to rise across the country, with the 14-day incidence rate now standing at 234 cases per 100,000.

And finally, we looked at the leadership change at Spanish fashion giant Inditex, which has a market value of €87 billion. As of April, Marta Ortega – the daughter of the company's founder Amancio Ortega – will be chair, a move that has sparked many questions, in particular: why now?

We hope you enjoy this selection of articles from the EL PAÍS English Edition.

Thanks for reading.

Melissa Kitson

Melissa Kitson


Spain tightens travel restrictions amid concerns over omicron coronavirus variant

Visitors from the United Kingdom who are not EU residents will now only be able to enter the country if they are fully vaccinated, while those from ‘high-risk’ areas will need to provide a negative Covid test in addition to proof of vaccination

Spain rules out mandatory vaccination as coronavirus incidence jumps 17 points

Catalonia has confirmed two infections of the omicron variant, and is registering high demand for vaccines as ‘Covid passport’ comes into force

The new wave of coronavirus infections in Europe: What’s the situation and how is it being felt in Spain?

Hospitals in countries where there is higher vaccination coverage appear to be faring better, but there are examples that suggest caution is needed both on the continent and on Spanish territory

In Spain, close contacts of people infected with omicron variant will have to quarantine

The Health Ministry has updated its instructions for Covid-19 detection and attention, which also include isolation for anyone who has had exposure to cases of the beta or gamma strains of the coronavirus

Spain approves new law recognizing animals as ‘sentient beings’

Thanks to the legislation – which was only opposed by the far-right Vox party – pets and wild species will no longer be considered as ‘objects’ in the Spanish Civil Code

Unemployment in Spain falls by 74,381, the biggest drop for November since 2008

Jobless figures have now been falling for nine consecutive months, with the number of Social Security affiliations rising to a record high 19,752,358 and indefinite contracts to 282,981

OECD reduces Spain’s growth forecast, pushes full recovery to 2023

Economic output is now expected to rise by 4.5% in 2021, powered by domestic demand and aided by the country’s high Covid-19 vaccination rates

Four dead in a fire inside squatter building in downtown Barcelona

Victims include two young children aged one and three who were living in an abandoned bank branch with six other people

Why now? The key points behind the changes at Inditex, including the appointment of Marta Ortega as chair

The company brought forward the naming of the group founder’s daughter in this key role thanks to its strong position in the wake of the Covid crisis

Mass grave found beneath Francoist mausoleum in Spain

Nine people shot two months after the end of the Spanish Civil War lie under a monument to fascist politician José Maria Albiñana that was partly paid for by Francisco Franco

Biological family of a woman swapped at birth in Spanish city of Logroño offers to take her in

DNA testing has confirmed that the 19-year-old was raised by parents with whom she had no genetic link. The victim is seeking €3 million in damages from regional health authorities in La Rioja

How to reduce the risk of coronavirus contagion over Christmas

Office dinners, meals out with friends and family, car rides and end-of-year celebrations are the perfect breeding ground for the virus, but preventive measures can lower the likelihood of infection

Low vaccination rate in poor countries creates breeding ground for coronavirus mutations

Detection of omicron variant in South Africa exposes the failures of global pandemic management, such as stockpiling by wealthy nations

Covid passports: Which countries require them, and for what

Here is an overview of how the certificate is being used in popular tourist destinations such as France, Italy and the United States

Alon Chen: ‘We’re going to continue seeing people who develop trauma and depression and anxiety because of the pandemic’

The Israeli neurobiologist at the helm of the Weizmann Institute of Science has spent nearly 30 years studying the effects of stress on the brain in order to determine which individuals are at greater risk of disease

El Roto cartoon, December 1, 2021

El Roto

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