Christmas in Palma, Mallorca

One thing's for sure this Christmas - there won't be scenes like this.

20-11-2020Pere Bota

Balearic health minister Patricia Gómez said on Friday that the government will continue to apply strict restrictions over the Christmas period in order to prevent a rise in coronavirus infections in January, which is when the number of cases of flu typically increases in the Balearics.

Gómez didn't specify any additional measures, noting that these are due to be decided at a meeting with the central government. However, she stressed that social distancing will be maintained and that there will be more use of outdoor space. Christmas will be "very focused on children", and to this end there is to be liaison with town halls.

The minister didn't give any indication as to the number of people who can meet - social gatherings are currently limited to six - saying that precautions will be maximised but also that the holidays can be enjoyed "normally". As to the movement of people between regions over Christmas and also for the early-December Constitution Day holidays, Gómez observed that everything will depend on the evolution of the pandemic and on measures adopted by other regional governments.

Speaking about the current restrictions, Gómez said that these will continue, although she suggested that the additional measures for Manacor may be relaxed. Positive developments in Manacor, where the number of cases has come down, could see the lockdown of the urban centre perimeter being lifted "in a few days".

The minister commented on the government's requirement for bars and restaurants to keep records of customers, suggesting that if current capacity levels are maintained, these records would not be essential. If the levels are increased, then "they probably will be necessary", and she added that an increase is likely to be the case. At present, the interior capacity is 75% for establishments with fewer than fifty places and 50% where there are more than fifty.

Dr. Javier Arranz, spokesperson for the regional committee for infectious diseases, spoke about the current 14-day incidence rate, which is 232 cases per 100,000 for the whole of the Balearics. The positive test rate for the past seven-day period is down to 5.2%, but he noted that there has been an increase in cases in Minorca. "This can happen anywhere on the other islands."

On flu, Arranz said that there is no record of there being cases yet. He added that there has been a 30% increase in the number of people receiving flu jabs.

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