Health control of people coming from the mainland has been an issue. | ATIENZA

Javier Arranz, spokesperson for the regional committee for infectious diseases, says that "one of the things we are unfortunately learning from this disease is that sooner or later the situation we see on the mainland ends up affecting us".

On the mainland, he pointed out on Wednesday, there is a disproportionate increase in infections. He also said that after the state of alarm de-escalation there began to be cases in Catalonia and Aragon. "And after a short time, the increase began here due to those returning from those regions and because the virus continued to circulate in the Balearics."

Faced with the prospect of something similar happening again, the government believes that it is better to prevent rather than to cure, which has been the case in certain regions. Arranz stated that there are lower levels of infection in the Balearics but that the situation "is far from controlled".

The current seven-day cumulative incidence of 81 cases per 100,000 inhabitants contrasts with seventy a week ago. "There is a slight increase that varies between the islands, while the positive rate rises by area." The situation at present, he observed, is "whether we are getting out of the wave, even though levels of transmission remain high, or if we will see cases rise again".

Restrictions in the Balearics will continue until at least Christmas. Arranz hoped that not all of them will and that others might be changed, once there is "more evidence of what really works".

He said that monitoring entry via ports and airports (for domestic travellers) "has always been on the table". However, certain measures would require authorisation from the Spanish government. "Until now, this has not been achievable." But this hasn't stopped the requests being made. One thing that is ruled out is quarantine, as this would be a "legal issue".

Arranz added that there has been debate about maintaining the ban on smoking in public areas. Lifting the prohibition has been considered, "but we have decided to maintain it". "There is more and more evidence about aerosols and interiors, and we are concerned about the onset of winter and more people gathering on terraces." Expert opinion is, he said, that banning smoking should be a priority in preserving public health, despite the impact this may have on consumption in bars and also complaints from the public.