Fifteen days more, but the government was "working on a reopening". | Efe


Vaccines for the masses

It must have been the burst of good weather. Health minister Patricia Gómez was giddy on account of the January spring. Light-headed, she was talking about 80,000 doses of vaccine being administered per week - 11,000 a day at seven mass vaccination sites in the Balearics, four of them in Mallorca.

At some point in the not too distant future, there will be traffic jams heading for the likes of the Mateu Cañellas municipal sports centre in Inca (or wherever the minister might have been talking about). Or perhaps there won't be. A supply of 80,000 doses would mean increasing the current supply by more than thirteen times, and what with the Pfizer delays, EU export control threats, suing AstraZeneca ... . Vaccine wars had entered the Covid vocabulary.

Someone who won't be needing to avail himself of a Palma mass vaccination at the Son Moix Stadium was the Bishop of Mallorca. This was because Sebastià Taltavull was immune, not thanks to an act of God but because of two doses of the Pfizer vaccine. Podemos in Palma were asking President Armengol to clarify whether there had been any vaccine queue-jumping in government circles. They had presumably not thought to ask the church if there was any within its midst (allegedly).

The bending of curves

The Balearic health minister was meanwhile suggesting that the curve was bending - in Mallorca at any rate. In Ibiza, on the other hand, the curve had bent into a line going straight upwards. The impact of the restrictions (latest restrictions) had yet to be felt on the White Island, while there had clearly been an impact in Mallorca. It was that bending curve; it was going from extreme, extreme risk to merely extreme.

Fifteen more days

As a consequence, now was not the time to relax the restrictions. Not that anyone had thought that there would be a relaxation. Fifteen more days were decreed and Resistencia Balear organised another demo, ostensibly for the hospitality sector; the distributors threatened to blockade the government headquarters with their lorries; and the islands' travel agents were calling for government heads to roll.

The magical 70%

Patricia Gómez was not alone in the curve-bending. So was Spain's new health minister. Carolina Darias made her debut in front of the Congress health committee, opined that the third wave curve was beginning to bend and spread the joyful news that the magical 70% of the population to be vaccinated can expect to be "in the summer", which - depending on whether she meant meteorological or astronomical summer - could be any time between the first of June and the twenty-first of September.

Working on reopening

Economic model, tourism and employment minister Iago Negueruela had admitted that the government had no idea when bars and restaurants might reopen. This was more than a week ago, when he had also said that the government was working with business associations and unions on a safe reopening. Come forward a week, and government spokesperson Pilar Costa said exactly the same thing about the reopening. What else was she going to say? The government isn't working on a reopening?

Disapproval ratings

Negueruela was probably not paying too much attention to an opinion poll finding that his approval had slumped from his having been the government's golden boy to being only slightly better rated than ministers we never hear about, such as Mae de la Concha at agriculture. He may have paid more attention to the fact that, in terms of management during the pandemic, his employment and tourism portfolios ranked the worst of all.

There was better approval (disapproval) news for Patricia Gómez. The health minister was the new number one among ministers. The curve had bent downwards as far as her score was concerned, but a favourably bending curve (if only in Mallorca) had assured her of the giddy heights of pole position.