THE Government of the Balearic Islands has announced that it will extend the current coronavirus restrictions for at least 15 more days.
The tough measures, which saw all ‘non-essential’ services being forced to close in Mallorca, was meant to come to an end this weekend.
However, President Francina Armengol instead decided against this and said that ‘the infection rate is still dangerously high’ so an ‘extension is absolutely necessary’.
She said: “Our argument is simple. The infection rate is not where it should be and these restrictions are showing us that they are effective in changing the evolution of COVID-19.”
Unions representing those that work in bars, restaurants, gyms and shops, all of which are currently closed, had appealed to the government to allow for their reopening and return to work.
Armengol rejected their pleas and said: “Gradually they can recover their activity, but only when the health situation improves and always with an eye on starting the tourist season by the beginning of the summer.”
One association which has openly supported the government is the Balearic Workers’ Union (CCOO).
Its general secretary, Jose Luis Garcia, said it would be ‘absurd to allow a complete reopening when the infection and occupation rates of the ICU’s are still incredibly high’.
At present, the number of patients with COVID-19 in intensive care is at a record level in the region.
In Mallorca, there are 109 people in the ICU – the highest number recorded since the start of the pandemic, and in Ibiza, who has only one public hospital, there are 22 with operating rooms now being turned into critical care units.
Meanwhile, Armengol has asked the Spanish government for the power to be able to enforce home confinements and to bring the curfew forward to 8pm.
“If the management of the pandemic is in the hands of autonomous communities then we must also be given the necessary tools to stop the virus,” said the President.
Last week, the Balearic government was left disappointed after the state executive voted against enforcing an earlier curfew.