So the Government here have brought the curfew forward from Midnight to 10pm in order to try and suppress the rise in infections. The 14 day cumulative number of cases per 100,000 inhabitants across the Balearics was 260, up from 223 a week ago. I’m not sure if I’m honest if that is going to make any difference to the numbers. Surely COVID doesn’t spread less because we’re locked up two hours earlier? President Armengol has described the coronavirus situation in Mallorca as “complicated” and says the curfew has been changed “to avoid the most risky activities.”
If they were “risky” why let them open in the first place? What it does do is put more pressure on the bars and restaurants that have taken on the time and expense to open, and now need to decide whether it is financially viable to continue. I’ve already heard of a couple of bars who will now not be open on Christmas Day who were previously going to open for lunch. They have said that as the future is not certain, they don’t want to take the risk. The problem for everyone is that it’s stop, start, stop, start and nothing seems to have changed. It’s quite hard to understand why, as I for one have done everything that has been asked since we came out of lockdown. Masks, wash hands, keep your distance you name it I’ve done it and I’m sure the majority of people are adhering to the rules too. So why are we no nearer solving the problem?
Well the answer is staring us in the face and why it’s being allowed to continue is for me utterly ridiculous. When the Government decided that PCR tests were needed to enter the island, 12 out of the 17 autonomous regions in Spain had a worse infection rate than the UK and Germany. Yet anyone arriving from the mainland was not asked to have a test to gain entry. We have just had a holiday here in Spain and many families travelled to the mainland and many from the mainland came here. But not one was asked to take a test. Don’t be surprised if we see the rate go up again in the next two weeks. Not only that but we’ve got Christmas, New Year and not forgetting the Three Kings celebrations coming up. How many people will be travelling to and from the mainland to visit their families and don’t need to show a negative PCR test?
The Government is still pushing for PCR tests for domestic travellers arriving in the Islands at Christmas. “We are ready, if necessary,” said Health Minister Patricia Gómez, who admitted that the Government has failed to convince Central Government to make it compulsory for domestic travellers to provide their own negative PCR test before entering the Balearic Islands.
If that is the case why have the Canary Islands been allowed to let foreign tourists to travel to the islands with an antigen test, instead of the PCR test that the central government recently made into a requirement for coming to Spain? The regional decree goes into effect on Thursday despite the fact that it contradicts central government regulations on international travel to the country.
Despite that though the Canaries have just been added to the UK quarantine list. Which means that from this morning they must self-isolate for two weeks.
Grant Shapps the transport secretary said this was because of rising infection rates on the islands. New rules that come into force on December 15th and will allow them to reduce the isolation period if they take a negative test after five days, but the test will have to be done privately, and will come at a cost of between £65.00 to £120.00.
This is a huge blow not only for the Canaries but for the travel industry too leading up to Christmas. But it does go to show that if we can’t get our infection rates down then the same thing could happen here next Summer.
Whilst the change in the curfew time has led to many thinking we will return to a lockdown I personally do not believe that right now. We have two other choices before that. Firstly make every traveller arrive with a negative PCR test and if that doesn’t slow the rate down, close the airport and ports. For me if those two measures don’t work then a lockdown would seem the only way forward. We must insist on Central Government that an island that depends on Tourism can’t keep chopping and changing its rules and regulations. Get the infection rates down and keep them down and be ready to open the doors again for next summer.
We are all part of the problem too, so we must adhere to the rules. As I wrote last week, we made the difficult decision not to visit our families this Christmas and I know that is a tough decision to make.
But we must think that short term pain is for long time gain.
Take care everyone and enjoy your weekend!
Richie presents the Radio One Mallorca Breakfast show Monday to Friday 07.30-11.00am on 93.8fm in Mallorca and 102fm in Calvià, online at www.radioonemallorca.com on mobile through their free App for IPhone & Android, The Tunein Radio App, iTunes, the Spanish TDT TV service and all smart speakers. If you can’t hear him on the radio then you’ll find him working at Pirates Adventure the islands number one night out and every now and again he may make an understudy appearance!
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