Palma (dpa) – Given the rapidly increasing number of corona infections, Mallorca and the other Balearic Islands have drastically tightened current restrictions on public life.
As of Wednesday, private gatherings at home and in public are prohibited for people who do not live in the same household as the regional government has ordered.
In addition, all restaurants, bars, cafes and fitness studios must close. In the future, passengers on buses and trains must remain silent during the journey to avoid contamination with viruses from the aerosol particles released when speaking. How the scheme was to be monitored, however, remained unclear. “The government of the Balearic Islands is switching to panic,” wrote the German-speaking Mallorca-Zeitung.
Corona figures on the holiday islands popular with Germans, including Mallorca, Menorca, Ibiza and Formentera, have risen sharply since December. According to the Ministry of Health in Madrid, the number of new infections per 100,000 inhabitants within seven days on Tuesday was just under 310. That is almost as high as in the state of Thuringia, which is mainly affected in Germany, and much higher than the average in Germany. Spain, where this value lies just below 245.
The situation in hospitals is therefore precarious. In the state hospital in Mallorca, only five beds are available in the adult ward because of the many corona patients, the newspaper writes. If necessary, new patients would have to go to the children’s ward, where there are still 20 free beds.
Meanwhile, resentment in the hospitality industry is growing. A demonstration by restaurant operators in front of the state government seat scheduled for Tuesday was banned as there was a risk of contamination among the participants. But about 500 people ignored the ban and demonstrated anyway. Under the motto “Si el pueblo no trabaja, tú no cobras” “(if the people don’t work, you don’t get a salary), they addressed the responsible politicians directly.
Many movie theaters and concert halls, which are only allowed to occupy 30 percent of the normally available seats, also preferred to close temporarily. Nightly exit restrictions from 10:00 PM to 6:00 AM have been in place for a long time.
In June, at the end of the first corona wave, the Balearic Islands were seen as exemplary in the fight against the pandemic. The first “test holidaymakers” from Germany were even allowed to return to Spain before the official end of the lockdown at that time. It is not easy to explain why the situation has gotten so out of hand. There are many rules, but some are only laxly enforced, wrote the newspaper “El Confidencial” as early as December, when the curve of new infections rose steeply again.
A lack of precautions during several consecutive holidays in early December could also cause the virus to spread again, as there was no mandatory testing for visitors to the island at the time. The Mallorca-Zeitung wrote in a comment that the ever-new and changing editions are becoming increasingly difficult to understand and would damage social acceptance.