Patricia Gómez, Balearic health minister. | Jaume Morey

Patricia Gómez, the Balearic health minister, said on Tuesday that there is some "stabilisation" of the incidence of new coronavirus cases but stressed that "we cannot stabilise at 600 cases a day".

Comparing the Balearics to other Spanish regions, Gómez noted that the cumulative incidence since the end of December has risen by 12%, whereas it has climbed by as much as 185% elsewhere. Given this, she concluded that the situation "seems a little more stable" but described the 640 new cases reported on Tuesday as "a very significant increase". Some of them will enter hospital wards and others intensive care.

On the situation in the hospitals, Gómez explained that there are 302 ICU beds available; there were, as of Tuesday, 113 patients in intensive care. She said that the health service is responding and that capacity "can always be increased". The minister accepted that there is growing pressure but emphasised that "no one has been left without an ICU bed if they have needed it". She added that a critical unit at Palma's Palacio de Congresos is planned, if required. Anticipating that demand for intensive care "may continue to increase a bit", she said that "we hope it can be contained and this is why all the measures have been adopted".

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The data at present still reflect the consequences of the Christmas period. On Monday, she noted, some people were going to health centres with symptoms from December 30 and 31 and January 1.

The minister defended the tightening of measures over the holidays and hoped that the increase in incidence will not be as great as in other regions. Fifteen days are not usually enough to see the effect of measures, and so it will be later this week and next week before the impact of restrictions introduced for the holidays can be assessed.

In this regard, Gómez suggested that measures to be introduced on Wednesday and scheduled to be in place until January 30 may have to be extended. Asked about the possibility of home confinement (lockdown), she stated that "you can always be more restrictive".