Almost 450 health workers isolating at present. | Miquel À. Cañellas

The New Year in the Balearics began with some 36,800 people isolating because of Covid, a number that will continue to grow for the foreseeable future. Of these, 23,008 were registered positive cases. The others were close contacts, based on each case generating four suspected cases, of which 15% turn out to be positive.

The 23,008 included people in hospital, but the overwhelming number of positive cases - 22,712 - were being monitored by primary care. These were far higher than the previous peak for the pandemic - some 15,000 in summer 2021.

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Among those in isolation are 442 health workers (341 positive), a figure slightly higher than this time last year - 414. The number of health workers off work at any time is a concern for the health authorities, especially as case numbers in general are so high. Their quarantine period was seven days and not ten days, even before the Spanish government reduced the mandatory period from ten to seven days last week. Health workers have been given special treatment in this regard.

The forecast is for a worsening of the situation after the festive period holidays in that the number of positive cases will rise more dramatically than it already has. The Balearic government opted not to apply restrictions beyond Covid passport requirements, but Javier Arranz, spokesperson for the regional infectious diseases committee, says that "the important thing will now be to choose well when to put limitations in place". "If the moment passes and we are wrong, we will have to accept this and prepare the health service, because it may experience problems."

Arranz anticipates that the peak of current infections will not be reached until January 15, by when the impact of many days of mobility and social contact will be seen.