Maria Antònia Font, the director-general of public health in the Balearics, views "with fear and concern" gatherings of young people for street 'botellons' and at fiesta time. "Young people feel that they are not vulnerable, and we are concerned that they are not assuming their responsibility. We know that people are contagious once symptoms appear and in days before this. Then there are those who are asymptomatic as well. We are all susceptible to being infected or to infecting others."
After the months of confinement, with the arrival of summer and the end of term, social gatherings can be anticipated, but Font insists that there needs to be increased police intervention and that members of the public report situations which constitute health risks.
On Thursday last week, the ministers for public administration and health, Isabel Castro and Patricia Gómez, met representatives of the Felib federation of town halls in order to discuss coordination and security to prevent large gatherings. "We must prevent them and we must be vigilant," says the Felib president, Antoni Salas. "The Moors and Christians, the Muc de Sineu; these are hotspots", even though neither will be taking place. But cancellation did not prevent the scenes in Ciutadella for the Sant Joan Fiestas last week.
Salas adds that it isn't just the fiestas. For Sant Joan in Palma, "the beaches were very well controlled, but then we saw the 'macro-botellon' alternatives". This is why local police presence is vital and, where necessary, reinforcements from the state security forces. Salas points to small municipalities such as Banyalbufar or Estellencs which lack police numbers, "so we will have to request reinforcements from the Guardia Civil or the National Police".
The national government delegate, Aina Calvo, says that it is necessary to "avoid these concentrations". "The state of alarm may be over but we remain on alert". She has appealed to young people "to maintain self-control and avoid crowds" and has stressed that the police and security forces will act. "When you are young, you think you are immortal. You think that this doesn't affect you, but the risk exists."
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