This confusion is packaged in so many ways | PERE BOTA


At least the Spanish government had the common good sense to announce on Monday that British travellers will need to present a negative test if they are not fully vaxxed. Common good sense, but some were wondering who the tests applied to, as in ages. As always, you are left to go and hunt for the detail. Whoever said that living (and travelling) with Covid was easy. No one.

Maybe we just have to accept that this life is a constant ball of confusion - “that’s what the world is today”, as The Temptations sang many a year ago. Confusion, and we now protest at every latest measure and what may not be spelled out in black and white several times over.

This confusion is packaged in so many ways. Here’s an odd one. A friend asked if I knew about the karaoke situation in bars. Not as such, no. Immersed on a day-to-day basis in Covid detail, much of it confusing, even I had not taken in where we stand on karaoke at present. Should a list not be published of what bars can do or not do? I agreed with my friend’s point and, you know, there may be, but finding it is another matter entirely.

I daresay that few of you have delighted in the treasure hunt that is negotiating the labyrinth that is the Balearic government’s Covid information and data. You think you’ve found the jewels, only to click on something that takes you back to where you started. Nevertheless, buried in this mass of confusion are certain nuggets that make you go hmmm.

Take the rising coronavirus incidence level, for example. On Monday, and crikey, it was up 13 points to 65.4. Not good. But if you really want to know why, you can discover a good reason. There is a graph with lines of different colour. They represent age groups and their incidence per day. The most recent daily detail was for last Saturday, and so that’s what I quote here (this article being written on Monday). The incidence among the 16-29 age group was 188.82, more than double that of the next highest group (30-39). In the course of five days last week, it rose by 87 points.

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You can then find data for new cases by so-called basic health zones. And what did these reveal? The highest numbers of cases over the previous seven days were in three zones covering Playa de Palma and Llucmajor. What a coincidence. Where have the Spanish students mostly been based?

But then, you would have to also take account of the so-called macro-botellónes, the mass street parties that have nothing to do with the students or tourists of any type. Where are these held? Son Castelló is a favoured location, where the numbers are such, the risks are that great that it is said they are like no-go areas for the police. Control, one senses, is being lost, just as was with the students, but this is a loss of control which is an open challenge to the police.

Let’s make these parties as big as possible, and see what the police do, if anything. And no, I don’t think this has anything to do with clubs still being closed. On the streets at night, it’s a long hot summer that has barely begun, and just take note of other data for Palma and Llucmajor new cases over the past seven days.

Our own sense of control is tested to the limits by the confusions of changing measures and by the obstacles placed in our way in finding the treasure of desired information. Yet when the government itself (the Balearic government) seeks to exert some control, it just ends up generating more confusion through measures to close the stable door, the horse of infection having already bolted and run riot on the streets.

All groups of more than twenty arriving in the Balearics need to have tests unless they’ve been fully vaccinated. Eh? So, if your group is nineteen, no one needs a test? Hasn’t the Spanish government just said that you need a test (even if you are a group of one) if you haven’t been fully vaccinated. It has, but the Balearic government’s control effort isn’t aimed at foreigners. It’s for groups from the mainland, most obviously students, some of whom have been coming from regions where pre-travel tests are not required because of sufficiently low incidence levels.

It’s all too late in any event, as the student trips will soon finish, but why not just make it simple (or comparatively simpler). Pain in the backside it is, and it’s an expense, but tests should be for everyone if they haven’t been fully vaccinated, regardless of point of origin.
Control is being lost, just look at the incidence rates and their primary reason, and there’s that ball of confusion about the ever-changing measures. That’s what the world is today; hey, hey.