BALEARIC Health Minister, Vicenç Thomas, said yesterday that between 17 and 20 percent of the Balearic population may contract swine flu but emphasized that of this figure, only one percent will need hospitalisation.

During his appearance in front of a Parliamentary Health Committee, Thomas said that the Islands currently have 81 registered cases adding that there was “no need to get alarmed” by the figures. He gave assurances that 90 percent of those affected won't need any hospital treatment at all and that all they will need to do is stay at home and rest, keep cool and drink plenty of water.

The Minister said however, that the virus H1N1 is new and to a certain degree its effects are an unknown quantity amidst a population that is not innoculated. He called for calm saying that when the vaccine becomes available, “those who need it will get it.” Vicenç said that the Balearic Health Service will react to the disease according to the impact it has on the regional population. Four phases to its effects are expected: cases emerging in drips and drabs, then a surge in numbers of people who have contracted the disease, followed by decline and then a recuperation period.