Vaccination at a day centre for senior citizens in Mallorca

The daily bulletins were for who was being vaccinated and who was doing what with the vaccine passport.

06-03-2021Govern de les Illes Balears

Another week, another ... . The core of the narrative hasn't altered for a year (it will be the first anniversary of the state of alarm next Sunday) and the plots haven't changed that much either. Agreed, there was no vaccine a year ago, and any talk of a vaccine came with a forecast of years, not months - if at all. The story is quite different in this regard, which is why everyone's getting so impatient. Please be patient, the director-general of Balearic public health said on Friday. The entire population will be vaccinated. Yes, but when?

The detail of the vaccination

The current plots are therefore the progress or otherwise of the vaccination programme, the prospect of mass vaccination and of course the vaccine passport (aka certificate). Last week, and because the health service likes to keep us informed of every last detail, the vax campaign for over-95s got under way, there were jabs for over-80s at health centres, and there were queues of occupational therapists for the ten vaccination lines at Son Dureta.

Vaccine and passport accelerations

The programme has "accelerated", said Maria Antonia Font (the public health DG); some 3,000 doses per day. So, happy days indeed, as the programme "is progressing according to forecasts", which presumably had been somewhat conservative.

Spain's tourism minister was urging European Commission acceleration of the vaccine passport system. This will be the key to reactivation of tourism and travel, which is what has been said ever since the passport first started to provide the headlines of the day. The European Commission was itself calling for a hurry-up, Ursula von der Leyen insisting that member states ensure that the passport is ready by the summer. Which she had said previously, so no real change there.

The reactivation plans

A further plot revolves around the regular calls for reactivation plans or indeed the plans that governments appear to have come up with. As Balearic business and civil society had yet to see any proof of the Spanish government's reactivation plan, a letter was handed in to the national government delegation. "Would you be so kind as to forward this to the prime minister." The "economic salvation plan", as it was described, consisted of three key aspects. One of these concerned, erm, mass vaccination and vaccine passports.

There was also a bit about the "post-Covid economic transformation of the islands' productive sectors in line with European Union recovery guidelines". This, in other words, had to do (again) with all the European funds that will be flooding into the Balearics at some point in the future. They have yet to actually be finalised and - it was becoming clearer last week - there wasn't as yet any real agreement as to a Spanish government handout of 11,000 million euros for the tourism industry. Meliá's Gabriel Escarrer was demanding some clarity, while at the same time calling for ... acceleration of mass vaccination. Again. Oh, and Spain's economic affairs minister, Nadia Calviño, was predicting "dazzling" reactivation of tourism.

Terrace and protest reactivation

There was some slight reactivation. Bar and restaurant terraces reopened on Tuesday, they having remained closed for the Balearics Day holiday on Monday, when - and because the health data had permitted this - Resistencia Balear held an authorised demo to again call for aid for the hospitality sector as well as for resignations. The numbers weren't great and were boosted, not that Resistencia would have wanted this, by a group of Falangists in whom the police took sufficient interest to ask for ID.

Easter will be closed

Easter, in case we hadn't already realised this, was not going to herald even a slight reactivation. While it was said that some hotels were bringing forward plans to open, the German government was urging its citizens not to travel and Spain's regions agreed to maintaining perimeter closures.

The tourism industry said that it was ruling Easter out and was banking on the main season instead (mass vaccination, vaccine passport), but Easter had pretty much been ruled out for the industry anyway. It was at least agreed that students who are residents of the Balearics could come home for Easter.

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