Sa Pobla isn’t an administrative and commercial hub like Manacor is. There is less need or reason to go in or out of Sa Pobla. Nevertheless, because of the way in which the number of cases rocketed, was there not a justification in a precautionary sense?
In Playa de Muro there is a municipal office. This is no different to other municipalities, coastal ones in particular, where the main centres of population are separated by several kilometres. I can’t speak for other municipalities, but Playa de Muro’s municipal office is currently closed. It will remain closed for the whole of this month; in past years it has been open during December.
In one respect this closure is of no consequence. The municipal office has a tourist information office; it’s barely been needed all year. In other respects there is a consequence. Certain town hall services to residents are handled in Playa de Muro. The office also has a small post office; it is a branch of the main office in Can Picafort. As the whole building has been closed, the post office isn’t operating.
A consequence of this is mobility, needing to go to Muro village or to Can Picafort or possibly to Alcudia for its post office. This might not seem like much of an issue, but because of current circumstances it becomes an issue. Mobility is a factor in transmission. We all know this is the case, so anything that can help to limit mobility has to be welcome, and in Muro they have had mass screening because of a cumulative 14-day incidence rate (as of last week) of 324.6 per 100,000. Santa Margalida (Can Picafort) wasn’t much better - 296.4.
The example I give is minor, while I accept that for the low winter population of Playa de Muro - a place with a high number of holiday rental properties - mobility is always essential; there is no major supermarket, for example. However, the example does serve to highlight issues related both to the provision of public service and the management of the pandemic.
There are public services which, for very good reasons, are more centralised than others. The courts are an example, and these recently provided a justifiable excuse for being exempt from the lockdown of Manacor. An administrative centre with its courts, people had to get in and out of Manacor. In this regard, therefore, a restriction on mobility couldn’t have been applied absolutely.
As mobility is such a factor, why was a tougher approach not adopted with a Muro neighbour, Sa Pobla, and possibly also Muro itself? The health authorities maintained that there was no need for a perimeter lockdown of Sa Pobla in the style of Manacor because there wasn’t evidence of transmission spread to neighbouring areas. Perhaps so. Sa Pobla isn’t an administrative and commercial hub like Manacor is. There is less need or reason to go in or out of Sa Pobla. Nevertheless, because of the way in which the number of cases rocketed, was there not a justification in a precautionary sense?
The regional government, for the most part, has managed the virus crisis reasonably well. But recently it has appeared far less surefooted. An impression conveyed is one of shock that the incidence rate has risen in Majorca to the extent that it has. Shock, as things had been handled decently enough, until suddenly the numbers started to increase.
There is also an impression of not acting swiftly enough. The ten o’clock curfew in Sa Pobla was announced on December 4, but by then it had been evident that there was a problem. It surely didn’t require waiting for retrospective data to act on what was clear on a day-by-day basis. The health ministry’s own figures spoke for themselves. On November 11 there were 42 active cases in Sa Pobla. A week later there were 66. By November 24 the 14-day cumulative incidence rate was already very risky - 526.9. On December 1 there were 108 active cases. There were 126 by the time of the announcement, and by last Friday there were 174.
Responses to localised situations have been begun to appear to be inconsistent. In Muro there were 29 active cases on December 1. A week later there were 38. The interiors of bars and restaurants were closed, and by the end of last week there were 46 cases. Yet if one goes back to a period in the middle of November, there was a peak of 38 cases and a phase when the cumulative incidence couldn’t have been much different. So why hadn’t something been done then? Meanwhile, in another Muro neighbour - Santa Margalida (Can Picafort) - the incidence rate was only 28 lower than in Muro. Where is the logic?
There doubtless is logic, so perhaps it comes down to a failure to communicate adequately. But the communication has otherwise been consistently clear in pointing to mobility as a factor in transmission. Despite this, in Playa de Muro, from where movement is likely to be to Sa Pobla as much as it is to Muro village, Can Picafort or Alcudia, they closed the municipal office.