The microbiology unit at Son Espases. | Miquel À. Cañellas

1

Antonio Oliver, head of the Son Espases Hospital microbiology service, says that Omicron will soon become the dominant variant in the Balearics. It currently represents 25% of daily positive cases, whereas this was eight per cent last week. Transmissibility is such that Dr. Oliver forecasts that more than half of cases will be Omicron within a few days.

This will follow the pattern in other Spanish regions and elsewhere in Europe. The variant arrived later in the Balearics and the first cases were controlled. But there is now community transmission.

He explains that it is much more transmissible than the Delta variant and that vaccination offers less protection in terms of transmission. However, vaccination does help prevent the most serious conditions that the virus can cause. He is therefore stressing the importance of vaccination and, above all, of booster doses.

"It is a variant that is more transmissible to vaccinated people." The "explosive increase" in infections can be attributed to Omicron's greater capacity to infect those who are vaccinated as well as to it being a more transmissible variant.

The videoconference of regional presidents on Wednesday will be presented with measures according to health alerts in the different regions. These alerts are determined by the 14-day incidence, the positivity test rate over seven days and the situation in hospitals - occupancy of ward beds and ICU.

It is thought that, as before, these measures will focus on hospitality, nightlife and mass events, with certain regions, including the Balearics, believed to be reluctant to adopt restrictions just before Christmas and preferring to press the use of the Covid passport.