German health minister, Karl Lauterbach, vaccinates Frida in Hannover

In Germany, the health minister gives the vaccine,

18-12-2021Reuters

All I want for Christmas ...

1. Is my first vaccination in order to start the process of obtaining my Covid passport, which, by the time I get my second jab, will theoretically no longer be required to enter a restaurant (and a bar or cafeteria, because the high court now says so) as the rule supposedly ends on 24 January.

But no one seriously believes that the government will scrap the Covid passport after the Anthony and Sebastian fiestas, so I may as well get on with it and stop being one of the seventeen per cent of the target population in the Balearics to remain unjabbed, this percentage having suddenly (and temporarily) shot up by four per cent to 90% in the space of 24 hours because the health ministry discovered some 45,000 people who are registered in the Balearics but who had been jabbed elsewhere in Spain.

2. Is my over-40s booster jab that will be on Christmas special offer as from this coming week and will at some point in the not-too-distant future no doubt be required for the Covid passport Mark II, with evidence of three not two jabs.

3. Is, if I am under the age of 12, my Pfizer Junior first dose, which will assist with containing contagion in the classroom and show that I'm doing my bit unlike a tiny minority of my apparent elders and betters in the teaching profession who presumably have no interest in entering bars, cafés, restaurants, care homes, Real Mallorca matches or wherever.

A Covid Christmas Wonderland

Yes indeed, a Mallorca Covid Christmas Wonderland last week saw the Balearic High Court say yes to passports for bars with capacity of 50 or more and so dug the government out of the colossal hole it had managed to dig for itself through confusion as to what "restaurant business establishments" actually meant.

It also saw a) the vaccination first dose target population shoot up to over 90% (courtesy of the previously neglected 45,000), but which was then subsequently readjusted back down to 83%; b) the booster jab age lowered; and c) the first jab age lowered even further. So, all was good heading towards Christmas. "Ding Dong Merrily On High."

But then there was Omicron

"Bah, humbug," Javier Arranz didn't quite say. But while he was pleased that Tiny Tims were standing in Son Dureta vax queues and jostling to see which of them could get press photos of their holding a piece of paper, the doctor of infectious diseases was announcing that the Omicron situation will "obviously" change because of the Christmas holidays.

Around one per cent of cases at present, he informed us, not venturing to put a percentage on the post-holidays situation or on health service pressure, which will increase, he added (in case we hadn't guessed). (By Saturday, it was being reported that ten per cent of new cases were Omicron.)

Going early on measures

Meanwhile, and whether for Omicron or general infection-increase purposes, town halls were going early on their January fiestas' measures. Palma banned barbecues on the Sebastian big party night, and large gatherings for Anthony were demanding close attention.

Christmas cheer was turning to midwinter gloom for the tourism industry. Tour operators were saying that summer 2022 holiday bookings were paralysed. In the UK, where tradition has it that the Christmas period is when thoughts turn to thirty degrees-plus Celsius in Mallorca and away from thirty degrees Fahrenheit, the new variant had apparently brought sales to a standstill. Normality (whatever this might be) was not expected to return until February.

In which case, though, UK normality will come earlier than German. The Germans had gone really early, calling off the ITB tourism fair in Berlin. Which isn't until March.

Mallorca the safest

Balearic tourism minister, Iago Negueruela, wasn't overly concerned by the German announcement. The fair was cancelled this year and that hadn't stopped people booking holidays. Besides, Mallorca and the islands, he observed, are the safest and most reliable of tourist destinations.

The minister thus introduced a much-needed note of cheer. Have yourselves a merry little Christmas (little probably being the operative word in terms of limited gatherings). And get booking!

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