Passengers arriving at Palma Airport. recent pic | EFE

The Minister of Health & Consumption, Patricia Gómez, explained on Monday that the Government wants "to be able to carry out controls on high incidence national flights", with questionnaires and temperature controls for passengers arriving in the Balearic Islands, as recommended by the Committee of Infectious Diseases Experts.

The possibility that the controls could be done at source "is on the table" and the Government has transferred the request to the Central Government along with other possible measures within the framework of the current health situation.

She also presented a new Vehicle for Rapid Intervention, or VIR, to Cala d’Or.

Minister Gómez also expressed the Government's concern about the worsening of the situation in some Autonomous Communities and the fact that the ports and airports are the responsibility of the Central Government and the Balearic Government cannot intervene without authorisation.

She mentioned that Healthcare Professionals are taking care of all the controls of passengers on International flights, who must supply a health questionnaire and have their temperature taken when they arrive in the Balearic Islands.

"But not in Spain, because the incidence accumulated at 14 days is good even with the regrowth, so the Government decided that the situation was very homogeneous and that these controls were not necessary on domestic flights," she said, but pointed out that authorisation to carry out this control would be "one more measure" to combat the pandemic.

She ruled out PCR tests saying “they must start from a clinical indication and there must be a situation that justifies it,” adding that "tests in general are not very useful" and should only be performed on people who have had close contact with someone who’s been infected.

"What we are talking about and will pass to the Ministry is the possibility of being able to carry out these controls on domestic flights, whenever the Government deems it appropriate," she insisted.

The Government is also concerned about the possibility that passengers will import cases from a country in South America or the EU, which has a high incidence of Covid-19.

"There are countries with a very high cumulative incidence especially in South America, whose borders are closed, but people can still travel if they live here and this worries us," she said. "We have had positive cases and we are carrying out an active search to do tests as soon as we are aware that these people have arrived and the same thing happens with some EU countries whose cumulative incidence is much higher than in Spain,” she added.

Minister Gómez stressed that the outbreaks in Spain appear to be limited, apart from in Catalonia where people have been advised not to travel.

"We thought more about cases being imported from outside Spain and we thought that maybe we should have more control over these people," she said.

The Committee of Experts has also proposed that the Government improve information on the use of face masks as well as on outbreaks and why they occur, "because we often relax in the closest situations with the family and in places of leisure,” said Minister Gómez.

She confirmed that more people are being trained to track cases "just in case it’s necessary to have them and they have a very fast response time, so they are giving PCR tests to all contacts very quickly.”

Minister Gómez warned that in many cases people are asymptomatic.

"That is very difficult because those with no symptoms don’t know that they can transmit the disease to other people, so we will continue to implement all measures," she promised.

“The new Rapid Intervention Vehicle, or VIR for Cala d’Or is the result of a demand from Santanyí to have more support,” she said. "Although we had a good response in advanced and basic life support and the Llevant area has vehicles, Cala D’Or does not. So with this new vehicle equipped as a mobile ICU, Cala d'Or will now have a Technician, a Nurse and a Doctor available from 0900 until 2100, who can handle both minor and major emergencies and more Healthcare Professionals, means the external nuclei of Santanyí is more protected”.

Minister Gómez said that a basic life support unit is also being established in Felanitx, there is also a mobile ICU in Campos and another in Manacor, so with the new vehicle in Cala d'Or “the area is fully covered and has a better response capacity.”

Mayor Maria Pons was thankful for the vehicle and pointed out that during a normal summer there would be around 35,000 people in Cala d’Or in July.

"Neighbours demand a point of continuous attention, but this vehicle is the first step and gives us 12 more hours of attention which is a good start,” she said.