Masks, but not everyone gets them right. | Miquel À. Cañellas


A data error

It is perfectly understandable that data for the "cases" can be viewed with some suspicion, especially when there is an "error" in their reporting. On Tuesday, there was a sharp intake of breath when the regional health ministry announced that there had been 908 new positive coronavirus cases over the previous 24 hours. Nine hundred and eight!? This figure was more than three times higher than the previous "record".

With everyone reeling from this news, the ministry had to "rectify" the information. The 908 included updated data from the previous week. A ministry press release which stated that the 908 was for the 24 hours contained an "error". Yes, a very significant error: the past 24 hours. Later in the week, there was fluctuation - 525 cases on Thursday, 185 on Friday. Was this difference all due to hyper testing activity over a 24-hour period that led to Thursday's figure and to hardly any testing for Friday's? Who could say.

Hospital admissions going up?

The health minister, Patricia Gómez, was warning on Wednesday that hospital admissions would be going up last week. As it turned out, and oddly enough, the number of people in hospitals in the Balearics on Thursday was lower than it had been on Wednesday.

The individualised state of alarm

Still, we were in the second wave, as Dr. Javier Arranz stated on Monday. "Measures" were thus having to be reinforced. Prime Minister Sánchez let regional governments know that they would be able to introduce "individualised" states of alarm, were they of a mind to. None of the regions were. Some expressed their gratitude for having the possibility, while certain others (governed by parties which weren't PSOE) suggested that the prime minister was abrogating his responsibility by leaving things up to the regions.

Individualised state of alarm or not, the Balearic government was softening us up for what may be "mobility restrictions". These, we had to presume, will be needed if prohibiting smoking on terraces and in the streets fails to turn back the tide of the second wave. Otherwise, this temporary smoking ban was good news for non-smoking mask-wearers who find that cigarette smoke can appear to cling to a mask.

Five in 1,000

There were other data. Rather than the number of cases per 100,000 inhabitants over a seven-day period, to which we have been accustomed thanks to various governments' decisions to advise against travel, we had the number per 1,000 in municipalities - or parts of municipalities. Deya, where there had been no cases at all, suddenly had four, which meant that its rate per 1,000 was above a risk limit of five cases. Erm? All was explained by the fact that Deya's population is only a touch over 600.

Deya's amazement

This risk limit, according to experts, means there is community transmission. Selective lockdown could thus be applied. This sounded like potential bad news for Deya and was hardly what could have been contemplated by a place that had just been named one of the "most amazing towns in Europe" by a travel search engine. Amazing indeed. Town? Deya? A population of 617 - a town?

Throwing in the towel

The tourism industry was coming to the final awful realisation that much of it would have to throw in the towel and hope for better days next year. Hotels were closing in great number, and Jet2 called it a day, having battled hard to keep British holidaymakers coming to Majorca and the Balearics.

A statement read: "Bookings for next summer are looking strong, and so we cannot wait to be back doing what we do best - working with hoteliers and our partners in Ibiza, Majorca and Minorca to make sure customers enjoy their well-deserved holidays." Amen to that.