Covid-19 restrictions

Covid-19 restrictions

16-12-2020JOSÉ DE ORBE¶

As I sit in front of my computer screen this morning (Tuesday) I was desperately trying to avoid the subject of Covid-19 in my ‘Confidential’ article and how it is dominating most of our lives nowadays. This is not because of any sort of indifference, far from it, more a case of - is there anything fresh I can actually say about the subject?

For most MDB readers I believe that this newspaper has done its utmost to clarify a confusing and an ever shifting situation to the best of its ability; but, I know it isn’t easy. Indeed, I have this suspicion that most people are almost on mental ‘overload’ regarding this subject as daily announcements about social restrictions swirl confusingly around news outlets home and abroad day and night.

The past few days have been particularly alarming, given the fast changing nature of pandemic protocols here in Mallorca. On occasions, I have noticed that no sooner has the Balearic government announced new restrictions, there is an almost immediate backlash on social media and beyond, whereupon every reason why the newly minted protocol is badly wrong is expressed without any discernible medical or scientific knowledge.

From those who believe that the anti coronavirus measures introduced to the run-up to Christmas are not tough enough - to those who seem to believe that the limitations introduced are an affront to modern democratic society. I might just add that the latter position is never expressed in quite such a measured fashion! Although most of you reading this piece are based permanently or semi permanently here in Majorca, that doesn’t stop any of us taking a keen interest as to what’s happening elsewhere in the world, Yes, it could be the United Kingdom where family and friends are based - or, Germany, perhaps Scandinavia, maybe Holland or the Republic of Ireland.

If you are anything like me, I find it very hard to separate sometimes new measures brought into place in the UK that might well affect my extended family as they move from ‘level-to-level’ across - not just England, but Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland as well - all taking different courses of action to nullify the pandemic. To keep and clear and positive ‘head’ in these weird and challenging times ceratainy isn’t easy on a number of levels - to say the least. Interestingly, a MDB online survey published in this newspaper on Sunday revealed that - 51.35% thought that the Balearic government we're right to bring in a 22.00hrs curfew. A very large minority of 43.84% were against and 4.8% had no opinion. However, do remember that this survey was taken before the more recent tightening of curfew hours and other measures. To be fair, it should also be remembered that many UK based readers do take part in MDB surveys.

BREXIT BRITS - YOU CAN’T COME HERE!

Moving from one extended controversial subject to another in the blink of a paragraph, I notice that the Brexit bores on both sides of the debate are at it once again. From the sight and sound of rather embarrassing ‘Little Englanders’ rejoicing in gunboats being sent to UK fishing grounds - to Brexit deniers, who still haven’t grasped the fact that they lost the EU referendum - mainly, because they (We?) fought such a useless ‘Remain’ campaign and duty lost the election.

Trying to deny that referendum result is rather akin to President Donald Trump refusing to concede the US election in November to President Elect, Joe Biden. But because the pro-EU lobby is seen to be liberal and educated, their refusal to abide by the democratic result is not seen in the same light at all is it? Now then, I do not agree that a No-Deal outcome would be a long term economic disaster - I would use the phrase “limited disaster.”

For Instance, as headlines scream “Brits Will Face EU Travel Ban” I actually wanted to laugh out loud. Hands-up those of you who think that Spain, France, Portugal or Italy will refuse to allow entry to their countries millions of British holidaymakers after January 1st 2021? Moreover, I for one will stick my neck out and suggest that there will be a last minute ‘limited agreement’ that will set aside one or two contentious issues for later debate. I might be wrong, but to suggest that EU/British fishing rights that count for less than 1% of the UK’s GDP would scupper an overall deal would surely be ludicrous. However, we do live in very strange times don’t we?

COVID-19 VACCINATIONS - LET’S DO THE SUMS!

I confess that I have never been any good at maths, but a headline in this newspaper had me searching for a calculator towards the end of last week. The good news was that the Balearic government will have doses of anti Covid vaccines to inoculate 51,000 people living in these islands in the first quarter of 2021. Good news? Yes, but - let’s do the sums shall we? Okay, putting the age groupings or sickness profile of citizens to one side - this roll-out could take a hell of a long time.

For arguments sake, if we consider that the population of the Balearics is approximately 1 million souls (I know it is more) and that the current vaccination profile is to approx 50,000 people per quarter - if that process is not speeded up considerably (which it may well do) that means that it will take up to five years to vaccinate the total population of the Balearics as it now stands. Even if on a sliding scale that timeframe was halved, that would mean that any vaccination campaign would not be completed by my crude calculations until mid summer 2023. Can that be right?

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