Twelve good men and women true? We counted them out, three of them; and we counted them in, three of them. A political crisis was being addressed, it was said. The deck chairs of the Balearic government Titanic were rearranged. But only partially, as Francina Armengol sought to accommodate cabinet space for the life raft of European funds. Some asked: why was a minister for these funds required? Should there not just be a technical committee, especially as the qualifications for the post of the vice-president of the Council of Minorca were open to some question?
No terraces for Balearics Day
There was an extraordinary meeting of the cabinet to approve the latest "measures", so we were told. A reshuffle thus overshadowed the measures. As SOS Turismo banners appeared across the island, attention was diverted from what we knew anyway. The bars and restaurants would be staying shut, the only variation from previous having been that the closure extension would be until at least March 2, so as to ensure that there was no possibility of reopening in time for March 1, a public holiday for Balearics Day.
The mixed messages
It was a week of mixed messages - when has it not been a week of mixed messages? We got it, as we have always got it. Health matters above all, and as intensive care occupancy remained critical, it was perfectly understandable that "de-escalation" would have to be slow and cautious. Yet the shopping centres were to be allowed to reopen when terraces could not, while the data indicated very significant decreases.
For example, the total number of active cases for the whole of the Balearics fell by more than 2,000 between Saturday and Friday - 2,231 to be precise, down to 5,126. The test rate was three per cent or lower. Mallorca's 14-day incidence was tumbling. Restrictions, President Armengol told parliament, had led to a 49% drop in cases in a fortnight.
The UK government, rarely known to be entirely clear in its messaging, was either suggesting that there would be holidays this summer or that there wouldn't be; it was either for or against a vaccination passport. One thing was for sure and that was that the UK was way ahead of the vaccination game when it comes to the European tourism markets. A Tui analysis showed the UK outstripping Germany in second by a factor of roughly four. As for the main destinations, Spain was dawdling behind Turkey and Italy.
Vaccination of the masses
A headline read: 'Mass vaccination just came a step closer'. But had it? The regional ministry announced that by the end of this month, the Balearics can anticipate having received 83,600 doses of the three different vaccines on offer. What was it that the health minister had said? Eighty thousand doses a week to enable mass vaccination. If the step was indeed closer, it was only a small one, but this didn't deter the ministry from announcing the four sites in Mallorca where mass vaccination is planned.
Sharing the pleas
Mass vaccination was a plea of the SOS Turismo campaign. As was the need for direct aid to rescue beleaguered businesses. Loans, ERTE; these were not enough. Hard cash in hand was needed, and decent amounts of it. President Armengol, who had previously stated that she shared the pain of businesses, now shared their pleas. Mass vaccination, direct aid; these are what the Balearic government has been calling for. Calling for Madrid to come up with the goods. As ever, it was up to Madrid. But businesses could nevertheless be assured of regional government action. Three ministers out, three ministers in.