Airlines are to be offered incentives to travel to Spain in a bid to attract more international visitors. This is part of the Spanish government’s €4.25 billion Tourism Sector Promotion Plan, announced yesterday, to help the sector after the confinement and travel restrictions of the state of alarm.
Spain’s Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez also said that Spanish airport operator Aena had agreed to reduce landing tariffs payable by airlines. Over 80 per cent of Spain’s visitors are air passengers.
It started on March the 14th and this Sunday, the 21st, Spain’s state of alarm is finally over and the country’s movement restrictions end. What doesn’t end is the obligation to wear face masks on public transport and in closed public environments, such as shops and offices, and in other outdoor areas where the revised physical distancing of 1.5 metres can’t be maintained.
The Sant Joan celebrations on Tuesday night will be different in Mallorca this year, as beaches in Palma and Calvia, and likely in other municipalities, will be closed to prevent mass gatherings.
In the UK, Stonehenge in Wiltshire is closed for the usual summer solstice celebrations, because of Covid-19, but you’ll be able to witness sunset on Saturday and sunrise on Sunday at Stonehenge online this year. Both are being streamed on the Facebook page for English Heritage, where you’ll find all the details.
And finally, a group of women for whom confinement is part of normal life is doing what many of us turned to during the lockdown: baking.
Going to the enclosed-order Santa Clara convent in Palma’s Old Town, to buy biscuits baked by the nuns, is an insider tip for tourists. Now the enclosed-order sisters have expanded their range of convent-made goods.
The sisters are now offering panades, cocarrois, cocas, tarts, and even a choice of ice creams for the summer.
Scandinavians will be able to travel to and from Palma again with low-cost airline Norwegian from July 1st. Flights connecting Copenhagen and Oslo with Mallorca will be on Wednesdays and Saturdays; Stockholm flights on Saturdays.
From next month Norwegian will have 84 flights a week between Scandinavia and five airports in Spain. When airlines including Lufthansa and Iberia are facing difficulties, Norwegian is increasing its fleet from eight planes to twenty. Last year, the low-cost airline had a 45 per cent share of the Scandinavian- Spanish market.
The tourist pilot project with Germany suffered a blow when 200 passengers due to fly here from Cologne and Frankfurt had their holidays cancelled – the day before their departure for Palma.
TUI had reserved flights for them with Eurowings because their own airline couldn’t accommodate them on the required days, but the Eurowings flights were not on the Spanish Ministry of Health’s approved list, published in the official state bulletin last week. Had the flights arrived at Palma, the tourists would have been repatriated immediately, so TUI contacted their customers and cancelled the holidays.
The disappointed tourists were to have been staying at the Riu Concordia in Playa de Palma and Alcudia Garden hotels.
One person was reported yesterday to have died from Covid-19 in the Balearics, taking the death toll to 228. Two new cases of the virus were reported. Forty-four people are in hospitals in Mallorca – 12 of whom are in intensive care.
Since the start of the pandemic, 365 healthcare professionals in the Balearics have had the virus; 31 of these people still have it and 116 (64 in Mallorca; 52 in Ibiza) are being monitored.
That’s a question still without a definite answer. When the Spanish government on Sunday announced the borders reopening on June 21st instead of July 1st, Britain didn’t seem to be included in the countries permitted.
It’s since been announced that British tourists could travel to Spain – but would face Britain’s required two-week quarantine period on return.
Britain’s quarantine situation won’t be reviewed until June 29th, according to Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps.
Meanwhile, Spain’s Foreign Minister, Arancha González Laya, told the BBC that Spain could also impose a reciprocal quarantine period for incoming British tourists, which would make it unfeasible for them to holiday here.
Meliá Hotels International is opening five of its hotels in the Balearics: in Mallorca, Meliá Calvia Beach in Magaluf and Meliá Palma Bay; in Menorca, Meliá Cala Galdana, and INNSiDE Ibiza and Sol Beach House Ibiza on the White Island.
The company will reopen 60 of its hotels in Spain during June and July and reports a notable increase in bookings.
The Balearics has the lowest number of active Covid-19 cases – 188 – for the last three months. Six new cases were confirmed yesterday, but there were no further deaths, the total remaining at 227. Across the islands, 63 people are in hospital, 15 in intensive care.
Mallorca’s main tourist season finally started yesterday. The first tourist flight, since the start of the state of alarm, arrived at Palma airport yesterday morning just before 11. The flight from Dusseldorf to Mallorca brought 189 visitors – including around 20 journalists – who arrived to find the local media waiting with their cameras and microphones.
The second flight yesterday came from Frankfurt and over the next two weeks, 10,900 tourists from five German airports will have been to Mallorca under the tourism pilot project to test protocols to beat the spread of Covid-19.
Visitors from the UK will be allowed to travel to Spain when the country’s borders reopen this coming Sunday. The reopening includes the UK as well as the EU and Schengen countries. However, British holidaymakers will face a two-week quarantine on their return home and the UK government is now under pressure to drop this.
Meanwhile, a look at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office travel page for Spain first thing this morning revealed that:
‘The Foreign & Commonwealth Office currently advises British nationals against all but essential international travel. This advice is being kept under constant review.’
Although the pilot project holidaymakers are free to explore the island, they won’t find any nightclubs or late bars open during their stay.
In South Korea back in May, an outbreak of Covid-19 started in nightclubs and, when Spain’s final phase of the state of alarm began, Madrid’s guidelines to the regions were to reduce the capacity of these places and have no dance floors. The Balearics isn’t the only the region that decided not to open nightlife establishments yet: the Canary Islands and seven other Spanish regions have also delayed the opening of this sector’s businesses.
The first two planes of German tourists, taking part in the tourism pilot project, arrive today from Frankfurt and Dusseldorf. The pilot scheme was due to last two weeks but will now be only a week because, yesterday, Spain’s Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez said the country will open its international borders from June 21st. This is instead of the original date of July 1st and coincides with the end of the state of alarm. The requirement for foreign visitors to quarantine will also end on Sunday.
The new reopening date is only for visitors from Schengen countries – except Portugal, which requested not to be included and will stick to the original date of July 1st.
Travellers from non-EU countries will be able to enter Spain from July 1st, depending on the virus situation in their country of departure and whether there’s a reciprocal travel arrangement.
From today, Palma’s Son Sant Joan airport has three control routes for arriving passengers. One is for national and inter-island routes; the second for international travellers, and the third for the German pilot project tourists.
Passengers arriving from the Peninsula or other islands will be in an area controlled by the Guardia Civil, with Balearic health personnel in charge of temperature controls and collecting completed health forms.
International flights will be controlled by the National Police, and national health control, and those passengers will have to quarantine.
The German tourists arriving to stay at the four participating hotels, or their second homes, will pass through National Police and national health control. These first tourists will have to complete a form from the Ministry of Health and the Passenger Location Card.
Passenger temperatures are now being taken at the airport using thermal-imaging cameras.
The Balearics reported two new positive cases of Covid-19 yesterday – one of them a patient in Formentera with mild symptoms.
The recovery rate from the virus is a shade over 80 per cent, with 1,823 people recovered so far. The death total has stayed at 227, and 209 cases are still active.
Bookings for the pilot project with German tourists are flowing in. TUI is reporting that demand for the Balearics has already exceeded that for all other Spanish peninsula and Mediterranean destinations. German travel agencies have already sold more than 500 holidays for the pilot, which was authorised by Madrid only on Monday this week. The first German arrivals will be this coming Monday.
The two Riu hotels taking part in the project are reporting good bookings. Both Riu Bravo and Riu Concordia hotels can open half their number of rooms and are fully booked for many of the days. They’re offering all-inclusive packages due to lack of restaurants in their area.
These German tourists are paying between 600 and a thousand euros for their holidays, depending on the hotel and whether they’re on a half-, full-board, or all-inclusive package.
The German holidaymakers may be coming to Mallorca under a tourism pilot project but will still pay the Eco Tax of between two and four euros for each night of their stay. Opposition parties and tourism businesses had been calling for the Government not to collect the tax this year, because they say it makes the Balearics less competitive in the destination marketplace.
Spain’s Health Minister, Salvador Illa, said on Tuesday that other regions in Spain are welcome to launch similar pilot schemes to the one in the Balearics. This is despite Spain still planning not to reopen its borders until July 1st, when the requirement for a 14-day quarantine ends.
Spain is now under pressure from Brussels: the EU issued a statement yesterday ‘strongly’ encouraging the remaining member states to finalise lifting internal border controls and EU free-movement restrictions by June 15th. EU officials argue that coronavirus transmission in the union is now such that the original proposed date of June 30th can be brought forward by a fortnight. Italy is already allowing visitors from Schengen area countries and other European countries are set to do the same from Monday.
School will be rather different when pupils return to classrooms in September. Class sizes will be smaller, more hygiene measures will be in place, and older students will be required to wear face masks at times.
The Spanish government’s decree for the ‘new normality’ has reduced the safe distance between students from two metres to 1.5 metres. The recommended maximum number of pupils per classroom, for pre-school and the first four years of primary education, will be 20 – although the Education Ministry considers 15 to be the ideal.
Regular classroom ventilation and daily cleaning and disinfection will also be features of the educational ‘new normality’.
Schools must have a plan ready for the new academic year, with protocols to deal with possible outbreaks and a designated person to deal with all aspects of the virus.
The document setting out the guidelines for the return to school premises will be presented today at a meeting of central and regional education leaders.
Son Sant Joan Airport is gearing up for the thousands of German tourists arriving from Monday, under the Balearics’ tourism pilot scheme. Airport operator Aena has installed Covid-19 information posters and social-distancing markers on the floors and is ensuring all health and safety measures are in place.
All those arriving – who include second-home owners here – will undergo several checks on the plane and at Palma airport, including completion of a health questionnaire and temperature checks by healthcare professionals on arrival.
In the event of any cases arising, provision for isolation has been made in one of the participating hotels.
Two new cases of Covid-19 were confirmed in the Balearics yesterday, but there were no new deaths. The current number of active cases stands at 206.
Fifty-five people are in hospital in Mallorca – 12 of them in intensive care. Five are receiving attention from the mobile UVAC units. Menorca has only one person in the Mateu Orfila hospital and no intensive or primary care patients. Fifteen people are in hospital in Ibiza – 3 in ICU.
British tourists won’t be coming to Mallorca or anywhere else in Spain under a ‘safe travel corridor’ arrangement. The Balearic Minister for Tourism, Iago Negueruela, said yesterday that the decision on when the British can holiday again in the Balearics is for discussion within the EU and will depend on the necessary health guidelines being met.
Hotels in Palmanova and Magaluf are expected to open mid-July, which is when Jet2 flights and holidays will restart operations – a fortnight later than first planned. Jet2 is contacting customers booked for before July 15th, who will be able to rebook for a later date if they want. Jet2’s fleet has been grounded since March.
The first of the German holidaymakers in the tourism pilot project, authorised by Madrid on Monday, will arrive in the Balearics this coming Monday, 15th – with a thousand arriving on that date.
President Francina Armengol explained the details of the scheme at a media conference yesterday. Germany was chosen for the pilot because it’s the largest market for foreign tourism and has similar epidemiological levels to the Balearics.
Around 10,000 German tourists are expected during the pilot project, with staggered arrival dates. These tourists will spend five nights here and include some German citizens with second homes in the Balearics. All will have to provide health information and contact details, and face temperature checks on arrival, but won’t be subject to quarantine unless symptomatic.
The Spanish Cabinet yesterday approved a decree on the Covid-19 safety measures for the ‘new normality’, after the state of alarm ends on June 21st – and until the virus is controlled, or treatment or a vaccine are available.
The decree includes the continued obligatory use of face masks in closed public spaces where social distancing isn’t possible – with fines of 100 euros for non-compliance, unless there’s an accepted reason for not wearing one. Regional governments will be in control of the measures.
The decree also sets out hygiene measures to reduce the risk of contagion in all situations and includes a reduction of the social distancing measure from 2 metres to 1.5 metres.
The Balearic government’s much-discussed proposal for a tourism pilot project received authorisation from central government yesterday.
It means that international visitors could be arriving from June 15th – a week before national tourism can resume (from the 22nd) when the state of alarm ends. Up to 3,000 foreign tourists could arrive for the pilot, testing the measures put in place to prevent the spread of Covid-19.
Balearics’ President, Francina Armengol will give more details today in a media conference. Only tourists involved in the pilot project will be allowed through the borders, which otherwise remain closed to international visitors until July 1st.
Municipalities in the Balearics could be using technology to monitor beach capacities this summer.
Telefónica has designed a new system that can detect the occupied and free zones and calculate the occupation percentage in real time. The telecoms company’s solution integrates technology and connectivity, using a video surveillance system incorporating a camera with 4G connectivity and powerful software.
The beach-opening protocol allowed municipalities across Spain to set their own capacity limits for local beaches and this system is designed to make monitoring easier.
The software doesn’t record images or store personal data but detects areas that are occupied and space that’s free.
A week has now passed with no new deaths in the Balearics due to Covid-19; that’s according to data released yesterday. Eight confirmed new cases were reported, taking the total to 2,238.
Active cases now number 227, as four more patients were reported as having recovered from the virus.
Spain’s Prime Minister, Pedro Sánchez, announced yesterday that, on June 26th, almost a quarter of a million people across the country will start to receive payments from the new guaranteed minimum income scheme. He said that more than 21 million visits had been made to the website set up for the scheme – fast-tracked because of the economic impacts of the pandemic on society’s most vulnerable people.
Along with more than half of Spain, Majorca, Menorca, and Ibiza today enter Phase 3 of the de-escalation of Spain’s state of alarm measures.
Phase 3 is the last stage before what’s called ‘the new normality’. The key difference between this and Phase 2 is the increased capacity limits applying in restaurants, cafés, libraries, and other places used by the public. Time bands for physical exercise have also been dropped.
In addition, power devolves from Madrid back to the Balearic government, which can control the length and certain conditions of this final phase. In general, our regional government is allowing slightly higher capacity percentages than the guidelines suggested by Madrid.
Although Phase 3 doesn’t allow travel between Spain’s regions, travel between the Balearic Islands is allowed from today.
As of this morning, no decision had yet been made by Madrid on the Balearics’ proposal for a tourism ‘test project’ this month.
The Spanish Ministry of Health has said that discos, clubs, and night bars may open in Phase 3 – with capacity limitations and no dancing – but the final decision on opening is one for the regions. The Balearic Government has decided that nightlife establishments won’t open in this phase – Balearics’ President Francina Armengol, said yesterday that it ‘is not a priority.’
No further Covid-19 deaths were reported yesterday, which means the total stands at 226. There were seven new positive cases, bringing the total so far to 2,230. Active cases stand at 223.
There was confusion yesterday about the reopening of Spain’s borders to international travellers. Tourism Minister, Reyes Maroto announced, at a conference for foreign correspondents, that border restrictions with Portugal and France would be lifted from June 22nd, as the state of alarm ends.
Just two hours later, the Spanish government published a media release saying that ‘safe international movement will take place from July 1st,’ as Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez had already announced.
There’ll be no more daily Covid-19 statistics updates, that’s according to Dr Javier Arranz, from the Autonomous Committee for the Management of Infectious Diseases. There’s been controversy in recent weeks about the differences in statistics released by Madrid and those locally.
Yesterday’s data revealed 254 active virus cases, of which 88 are in hospital and 17 are in intensive care.
Mallorca has 72 patients in hospital, 14 in intensive care.
Menorca has two people in hospital but nobody in ICU. Dr Arranz said there had been no new infections in Menorca for 28 days.
Ibiza and Formentera have 17 sufferers in hospital, 3 in intensive care.
More than 100,000 detection tests have been done in the Balearics – of which 2,500 were in the previous 24 hours.
If you’re heading to a beach in the southwest this weekend, Calvia Town Council recommends using one of the larger stretches of sand. Beach capacities have been substantially reduced because of the state of alarm, so larger beaches such as Santa Ponsa, Magaluf, Palmanova, or Paguera are suggested, as these don’t have capacity issues.
Calvia municipality’s coastal surveillance is being increased, with over 40 lifeguards, security forces, Civil Protection and Guardia Civil officers working to ensure beachgoers safety and compliance with the Phase 2 rules.
Spain’s state of alarm has been extended to June 21st, but it took a six-hour session yesterday of heated debate and vote in Congress. It’s the sixth and final extension to the country’s emergency powers, introduced in March. There were 177 votes in favour of the proposal.
Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez was forced to justify his handling of the crisis, in the face of fierce criticism from Partido Popular leader, Pablo Casado.
German citizens will be able to travel abroad from June 15th, but it looks increasingly likely that they won’t be able to come to Mallorca before the agreed date of July 1st. The Balearic Government’s proposal to bring up to 3,000 German tourists to the island to take part in the ‘safe corridors’ test project has not been approved by Madrid so far.
No Covid-19 deaths in the Balearics were reported by the Ministry of Health yesterday, meaning the total fatalities from the virus are unchanged at 226.
Nine new cases were reported. The total now stands at 2,198 – with 2,089 confirmed by PCR testing and 109 from antibody serology.
So far, 1,725 people across the islands have recovered from Covid-19.
Although Spain’s Minister for Transportation, José Luis Ábalos, said on Monday that travel could be possible between the country’s regions that are in Phase 3, the country’s Health Minister, Salvador Illa, insisted yesterday that unrestricted travel between regions would not begin until the end of the state of alarm and the start of the ‘new normal’. Regional governments will take back control from Phase 3 and it will be up to them to decide when to allow travel to other regions.
Tourist boats are now allowed to navigate and anchor off the island – but with their capacity limited to a maximum of 75 per cent of those certified – unless all of them share the same home. That’s following publication of an order in Spain’s BOE, or Official State Gazette, yesterday.
From Phase 3, which Mallorca could enter on Monday, all recreational nautical activities will be possible, without limits on numbers, but with the necessary sanitary precautions being taken.
Almost 25 per cent of Mallorca’s hotels and other tourist accommodations will be up and running by July, to try and recover as much tourist activity for the shorter season as possible.
The president of Palma and Cala Mayor’s hotel association, Javier Vich, reported that 25 of the city’s 75 hotels will be open too.
The major hotel chains on the island want to promote Mallorca as a safe destination and get their workers out of ERTE.
Across the whole of Spain, tourism is having its toughest time, with spending between January and April down by around 48 per cent to 11.7 billion euros. International arrivals fell by almost half year-on-year to 10.5 million.
There were no new coronavirus deaths reported yesterday for the Balearics. Two new cases were confirmed by PCR test. The total infected since the pandemic started is now 2,191 – a higher figure which now includes 106 people to date who tested positive for antibodies. The Balearics still have 249 active cases.
The Ministry of Health reported yesterday that there had been two Covid-19-related fatalities in the Balearics in the previous 24 hours – after four days with no lives lost. This took the death toll across the islands to date to 226. There was one new case, bringing the total number of cases confirmed by PCR test to 2,081 (1,826 in Mallorca; 92 in Menorca; 157 in Ibiza, and 6 in Formentera).
The Balearics currently have 153 active cases of Covid-19 – 11 fewer than the previous day. In Menorca, two people are in hospital, but there are no ICU patients, and nobody is being treated by the UVAC mobile units. Ibiza has 17 hospitalized patients – four in intensive care.
From next Monday, it may be possible to travel between Spain’s provinces and regions. June 8th is when Mallorca – and more than half of Spain – is expected to enter Phase 3 of the Spanish government’s de-escalation plan. Minister for Transportation, José Luis Ábalos, said yesterday that movement restrictions could be relaxed during this Phase if the spread of Covid-19 slows sufficiently. This would depend on the support of regional governments, who will have control of Phase 3
Ábalos confirmed that quarantine for foreign travellers arriving in the Balearics will end after the state of alarm finishes. After tomorrow’s vote in Congress, this date should be June 21st. This lifting of quarantine is to allow the tourism ‘test project’ and would provide safe ‘air corridors’ between the Balearics and places with a similar level of Covid-19 contagion.
Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez is to ask Congress this Wednesday to vote on his request for a sixth two-week extension to the state of alarm. If the vote is carried, it will be the final extension, with emergency measures continuing until June 21st.
During his weekly Sunday videoconference with the leaders of the autonomous regions, Sánchez said that the powers that had been taken from them during the Covid-19 crisis would revert to the regions once their areas were in Phase 3, the final stage of the de-escalation plan.
The island of Formentera moves into Phase 3 today, along with three of the Canarian islands. Meanwhile, Madrid and Barcelona are still in Phase 1.
There were no new Covid-19-related deaths reported yesterday, although there were four new cases of the virus. There have been no virus-related deaths in the Balearics since last Wednesday, meaning the fatalities remain at 224.
The Balearic Islands have 164 ongoing cases, of which 80 are hospital patients – 20 of them in an ICU. The recovery rate is reported to be just over 80 per cent.
An outbreak of Covid-19 in Palma was confirmed on Saturday by the health service, IB Salud. Fifteen people – all related and living in the city’s Es Rafal district – were taken to two hospitals in the city. Eleven of these people tested positive for the virus but the others, who tested negative, are also in hospital and being monitored.
The family runs a Son Gotleu locutorio, which was closed as a precautionary measure by the police.
The Balearics will not be moving into Phase 3 of the de-escalation of emergency measures from Monday, June 1st. Spain’s Ministry of Health didn’t approve the Balearics’ request to do so.
One reason for this could be the R – the number of people who can be infected by an individual. When the R number is greater than 1, the virus will continue spreading. The Balearics’ current R number is 1.61 – the same as on March 26th.
The reason for this was a change in the cases reported to the Ministry of Health, from May 11th. From then, mild and asymptomatic cases, diagnosed by Primary Care, have been included in the total of daily infections. The number of PCR tests done has also been increasing.
Up to 3,000 foreign tourists could come to Mallorca in the second half of June, in a test project for Covid-19 protocols. Central government is considering the Balearics’ request to go ahead with the test project, which will involve tourists from Germany and three of the country’s main tour operators, including TUI.
It the test is approved, Iberostar, Riu, Viva, and Garden hotel chains have offered to accommodate these tourists in their Platja de Palma and Alcúdia hotels.
The Canary Islands are also seeking permission for a similar project.
There were no Covid-19 deaths reported yesterday in the Balearics, meaning the total number of fatalities remains at 224. Six new infections in the previous 24 hours raised the total cases to 2,063.
That’s the message from tennis superstar Rafa Nadal to the thousands of sports fans around the world, who have attended previous summer camps at his Rafa Nadal Academy by Movistar in Manacor and enjoyed the island.
In a new promotional video for the Academy, Rafa describes Mallorca as a ‘unique and special island…one of the most beautiful places in the world.’ The Academy is implementing the necessary protocols to ensure the safety and wellbeing of visiting sports fans this summer.
The Balearic government is planning for international tourists to be able to enter the islands before July 1st. The Spanish government’s proposal for safe travel corridors between European regions that have controlled the spread of Covid-19 has already reached the European Commission.
Approval would mean that certain regions could reopen to international visitors before the whole country is in the position to do so. The measure would help Spain’s regions that are most dependent on tourism, such as the Balearics and the Canaries.
The Balearic government has been negotiating with tour operators and authorities in Germany for several weeks and is waiting for permission to finalize agreements and get the tourism sector working as soon as possible. It has also started talks with UK tour operators.
At least 50 Meliá hotels will open in Spain in the second half of July. This was confirmed yesterday when the company’s ‘Stay Safe with Meliá’ campaign was presented. The CEO of operations, André Gerondeau, confirmed that the group has had more bookings than cancellations since the state of alarm came into force – most of the bookings for August.
In Mallorca, the first hotels to open will be the Meliá Palma Marina, on the seafront, and the Meliá Calviá Beach in Magaluf.
Gerondeau stressed the company’s obligation to guarantee a secure and agreeable environment for guests.
Self-employed workers in the Balearics are to benefit from 15 million euros of direct aid, for those who have not been included in the provision of state aid. For self-employed people working alone, the funding will be 2,000 euros; for those with one or two employees, it’ll be 2,500 euros, and for those with three or more employees, the figure rises to 3,000 euros.
To qualify, both seasonal and year-round self-employed people will have to meet certain conditions.
There are some 94,000 self-employed workers in the Balearics – 71,000 of whom are in Mallorca.
The latest announcement of statistics included news of one further death in the Balearics in the previous 24-hour period, bringing the fatalities to 224.
During the same period, there were seven confirmed new infections, making a total of 2,057.
Following Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez’s announcement that Spain will open again to international travellers from July 1st, the airlines have started programming their offers for after that date. By Monday, flights were already planned to Mallorca from 114 European airports across 23 countries. To Ibiza, flights are offered from 34 airports across 10 countries, and to Menorca, from 27 airports across eight countries.
From Britain, easyJet, Ryanair, and Jet2 are already offering flights from July.
The number of flights available for international travellers is expected to continue increasing.
Meliá is to open some of its hotels in the Balearics from July, but three other chains plan earlier openings. The Barceló, Santos, and Riu chains will open one hotel each from June 1st.
Barceló is opening the Formentor Hotel; Riu will open a hotel on the Playa de Palma, and Santos is to open two floors of the Nixe Palace in Palma, according to hotel director, Francisco Serrano, who said that the partial opening was ‘a business decision showing the Santos family’s commitment to the island.’
The Balearic government wants Mallorca, Menorca, and Ibiza, to join Formentera in moving to Phase 3 of the state of alarm de-escalation measures from Monday, June 1st. This is a week earlier than the scheduled date. President Francina Armengol put this request to Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez, but it hasn’t yet been granted.
The Balearic government has also requested permission for inter-island travel from Monday, to help tourism; this was previously sought for Phase 2 – but wasn’t granted.
There were four new cases of Covid-19 yesterday, bringing the total of notified cases to 2,050, but no more deaths.
Of the Balearics’ 67 municipalities, 29 currently have no cases of Covid-19 and some 30 of the others have fewer than five active cases. Petra, Deià, Escorca, Estellencs, Fornalutx, and Lloret de Vistalegre have all had no cases so far.
120 people are still in hospital (26 in ICU). Forty per cent of the 223 people who have died from the virus were users of seniors’ residential homes.
Foreign tourists coming to Spain from July 1st will not now have to go into quarantine here before getting out and enjoying their holiday. The Government announced this lifting of the quarantine period at the ministerial videoconference held yesterday.
Before May 15th, the quarantine applied only to repatriated Spaniards and residents of Spain coming from Italy, but since then, all travellers arriving from outside Spain have had to self-isolate for 14 days. The current rules apply to all international travellers, except some types of workers.
On Twitter, Spain’s foreign minister, Arancha González announced: ‘From July we will gradually reactivate international tourism, we will lift the quarantine, and ensure safe health conditions.’
Calming traffic, increasing road safety, and safer distancing due to coronavirus, are the goals of Palma’s town hall plan to extend the 30 kilometres per hour speed limit. This limit currently applies to 20 per cent of the roads in the city, but it’s planned to extend it to 90 per cent – almost two-and-a-half thousand roads and streets.
Palma’s mayor, José Hila, said yesterday that the car will ‘share the space with those who walk and ride bikes and scooters, in equal conditions.’ Hila described the new limit as ‘a brave leap towards a new model for the city’.
The subject is on the agenda for this week’s council and, once the general 30kph rule has been introduced, higher speed limits will apply only on main routes in and out of Palma city centre and on the coast road.
The Ministry of Health announced the latest data at its daily media conference yesterday.
Across the whole of the country, there were 132 new cases confirmed by PCR test, bringing the total to date to 235,400. More than 67 per cent of the new infections were reported in Cataluña.
Fifty more people died, bringing the total to 26,834.
A readjustment of the data meant that this reported death toll was almost two thousand fewer than the figure reported on Sunday. The country’s data is also being presented in a different way for new hospital admissions, ICU cases, and deaths.
There were no new cases of Covid-19 and the total number of those confirmed by PCR remains at 2,035. 86 cases have been diagnosed in the past 14 days.
Seven people have been admitted to hospital within the past seven days, but there were no new admissions to ICU in the past seven days.
1,601 people have now recovered from Covid-19, but 211 have lost their lives to the virus.
The beach beckons from today, as Mallorca enters Phase 2 of the de-escalation of state of alarm measures.
Local councils will be able to enforce access limits and control the number of people on beaches, to guarantee two metres’ social distancing. There may be time limited both on the sand and in car parks.
Here are the main points about Phase 2:
Masks are still mandatory in enclosed public spaces and where social distancing cannot be maintained.
Figures released yesterday afternoon by the Ministry of Health showed:
In his media conference on Saturday, Spain’s prime minister Pedro Sánchez announced that, from tomorrow, Tuesday, the country will start an official period of mourning, which will last for ten days and see flags flown at half-mast. King Felipe VI is to lead an official ceremony to remember Spain’s Covid-19 victims.
The prime minister also confirmed that foreign tourists will be welcome from July, with security measures at their point of departure and in their destinations throughout Spain.
In the Sunday videoconference with Spain’s prime minister, Balearic president Francina Armengol again requested an earlier start than July for foreign tourism in the Balearics.
Pedro Sánchez also announced that top-flight footie would be back in action. La Liga returns from June 8th, although the season’s 11 remaining matches will be played behind closed doors.
The latest statistics released by the Ministry of Health show the following:
Palma Beach – the umbrella brand for quality tourism in the Platja de Palma – has announced that the doors of the 48 hotels and restaurants with its quality mark will start to open again from July 1st.
For several weeks now, the management of Palma Beach has been working with government bodies, German tour operators, airports, and others, to create a ‘total guarantee of safety and hygiene’ according to Palma Beach CEO, Juan Miguel Ferrer.
In terms of safeguarding against Covid-19, Ferrer cited the optimal conditions of Platja de Palma that are difficult to find in other European resorts: proximity to the centre of the city, the airport, and hospitals. He added that Palma Beach was converting itself into ‘an international pilot scheme’ that would enable them to gain knowledge to create processes and protocols that could help other destinations.
Scientists in Spain are currently working on ten vaccine projects, according to the Minister of Science and Innovation, Pedro Duque, who said the first human trials may begin in autumn.
Duque told the Congress Science, Innovation and Universities Commission that work is ongoing on more than 120 Covid-19 vaccine projects in the world – of which 10 are in Spain. He defended the country’s investment in science, saying that, if an effective Spanish vaccine can be found, it could be more affordable than one from outside the country.
Palma town hall has received around 400 requests from bars and restaurants to extend their terraces. From Monday, Mallorca is expected to enter Phase 2 of the de-escalation of the state of alarm measures and further requests to enlarge terraces are likely then.
Phase 2 allows bar and restaurant interiors to open, albeit at only 30 per cent of capacity – which will increase to 50 per cent in Phase 3. To help maintain social distancing, the increased terrace sizes will continue at least until after the summer, according to Palma town hall councillor Alberto Jarabo. Terrace tax payments are suspended until the end of 2020, backdated to March the 14th – when the state of alarm began.
The Balearics is the community with the highest percentage of workers affected by the Covid-19 crisis – 42.5 per cent. That’s according to the Valencian Institute for Economic Investigations (IVIE), which published its report yesterday. The Canaries was in second place, with 41.3 per cent affected – both communities being particularly dependent on tourism. Extremedura had the lowest affected, at 21.3 percent.
A new social kitchen has opened its doors in Sóller to offer a daily menu to those who need it. Just over 30 volunteers are taking turns to prepare a varied daily menu, based on produce entirely from the Sóller valley. Meals for those who have pre-arranged them are available from two collection points – one in Sóller itself and the other in the port. For those unable to collect, the town hall is making deliveries.
Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez’s proposal for a fifth extension to the state of alarm, which came into force on March 14th, was approved yesterday in Congress. There were 177 votes in favour, 162 against, and 11 abstentions.
The state of alarm is now in force until June 7th, but there is the possibility of earlier suspension in territories that have completed the phased de-escalation of measures.
Spain’s Ministry of Health delivered the latest Covid-19 statistics last evening.
And just a reminder that from today, in any place where social distancing of two metres cannot be maintained, masks must be worn by everyone from the age of six. That means on busy streets and in enclosed spaces used by the public. Hefty fines starting at 600 euros could be imposed for not wearing one without a good reason.
From tomorrow, Thursday, anyone over the age of six must wear a mask anywhere outside, in any closed space used by the public, and on public transport – when it’s not possible to maintain social distancing of at least two metres. Any type of mask covering mouth and nose is acceptable, but preferably of the hygiene or surgical types.
People with breathing problems, other health issues, or a disability don’t have to wear a mask, but will have to justify this. Masks won’t be mandatory during sport and some types of work.
Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez has today taken his request for a further extension to the state of alarm to Congress. The state of alarm is currently due to end on May 24th, but a fifth extension to June 7th is being debated. Sánchez originally wanted a one-month extension but was unable to gain support for it.
The Othman Ktiri Foundation – the eponymous charitable entity set up by the owner and founder of the OK Group – is supporting the work of the Associació Tardor, which helps people in difficult social situations.
For every vehicle sold by OK Cars Retail during the Foundation’s ‘Juntos todo irá bien’ campaign, 50 euros will go to Tardor.
Even before the Covid-19 crisis, 21 per cent of the Balearic population was suffering from social exclusion; the number of people seeking help from Tardor has risen dramatically and this looks set to continue.
The association continues to distribute meals three times a day, buys and distributes basic foodstuffs and hygiene products, helps families without money to pay utility bills, and runs other projects to help the vulnerable.
The Ministry of Health released the daily statistics last evening.
The summer tourist season could be active by the end of June. That’s the wish of Spain’s government, who want tourism activity to restart as the last planned extension of the state of alarm ends.
Transport minister José Luis Ábalos said that Spain must be made ‘an attractive country from a healthcare perspective’, so that tourists have the confidence to travel here. Proposals are in hand to stimulate the tourism sector, which will focus particularly on the Balearics and the Canaries, where health levels are ‘very positive’.
Ábalos also defended the two-week quarantine measure for foreign travellers to Spain but said that when Spain’s people are allowed to travel between provinces, the quarantine period will be dropped.
Fifty-nine air and sea passengers have been stopped from entering the Balearics since the state of alarm was declared. Twenty-one flew in and 38 arrived by boat. These passengers were a mix of Spanish and international and didn’t have justifiable reasons for their travel – which meant they had to return home.
The Guardia Civil has now been checking passengers’ reasons for travel at Spanish airports and ports before departure since last Friday.
The latest passengers forced to return home were three German nationals from Cologne who flew into Palma on Monday with no justifiable reason.
Travel is only allowed to return to a place of residence, for health or work reasons, to care for a vulnerable person, or reasons of force majeure.
The Melià Palma Bay hotel said goodbye on Sunday to the last Covid-19 patients to leave its temporarily medicalised facility. 258 rooms in the hotel were made available for patients at the end of March, to reduce pressure on public health facilities. In the end, it was only necessary to treat 66 patients there. Senior representatives from Son Llàtzer hospital, the Melià Palma Bay and Palau de Congressos gave a round of applause as the last group of patients left.
Melià is donating a two-night stay in any of its hotels around the world to medical staff who worked in the medicalised Palma Bay hotel.
The Mallorcan Riu Hotels & Resorts group will reopen two of its hotels next Monday, 25th. The Riu Plaza Berlin (in Germany) and Riu Plaza Guadalajara in Mexico will open with all the necessary health protocols in place. Owners Carmen and Luis Riu announced this in a letter made public on social media and sent to employees and described this as not just two hotels opening, but ‘a symbol of the recovery we are all hoping for.
Riu Hotels & Resorts was founded in Mallorca in 1953 as a small holiday company. Today it operates in 98 locations in 19 countries.
The Ministry of Transport for Spain has extended the ban on cruise ships coming into the country’s ports until the state of alarm ends.
In its travel and hospitality guidelines last week, the European Commission pointed out that Covid-19 outbreaks on cruise ships had highlighted the ‘special vulnerability of closed environments during long journeys.’
As well as cruise ships, foreign ships and recreational boats that don’t have ports of stay in Spain cannot dock anyway here in the country – with the exception of those that have only professional crews on board. This order, published in today’s state bulletin, is applicable in each phase of the de-escalation.
Several cruise-line companies – including Royal Caribbean, Costa Cruises, and Norwegian Cruises – have suspended operations until the middle of June at the earliest.
The daily Covid-19 stats briefing by the Ministry of Health moved to the afternoon from yesterday, with the following announced on Monday.
285 new infections in the 24-hour period, making a total of 231,606 to date.
172 patients needed to go into hospital and 15 people went into Intensive Care.
Deaths in Spain on Monday totalled 59 – a significant drop in a 24-hour period and taking the total to 27,709.
There were two new confirmed cases, bringing the total to 1,993.
No new hospitalisation or intensive care patients.
No deaths due to Covid-19 were announced yesterday, so the total remains at 218.
Spain’s central and regional governments yesterday approved a public order, extending the requirement to wear a mask. It’s currently obligatory on public transport, but will also become obligatory in closed spaces, and on public streets, where it’s not possible to maintain two metres of social distancing.
The order will be published in the next few days.
Spain’s most vulnerable households should benefit from the permanent universal basic income programme, that the country plans to introduce. The scheme is designed to help people cope with the financial fall-out of the current crisis and will be the first in Europe. The plans are set to be approved at the last Cabinet meeting this month.
When time slots for exercise and walks began on May 2nd, they applied only to population centres with more than 5,000 inhabitants. Now the time slots have been eliminated for centres with 10,000 or fewer inhabitants.
Palma city and the neighbourhoods of Coll d’en Rebassa, Sant Agusti, and Sa Vileta/Son Rapinya, continue with the time slot restrictions. Outside Palma, the districts of Manacor, Llucmajor, Inca, and sa Pobla must also stick to the time restrictions – although Porto Cristo and s’Arenal are exceptions.
The shipping company Baleària has put new protocols in place from today, to prevent the spread of Covid-19. These include the taking of passengers’ temperatures before boarding, guaranteeing social distancing, and increased disinfection and cleaning throughout.
Next Monday – as Phase 2 of the de-escalation begins – the company resumes its high-speed connections between Menorca and Mallorca and from Dénia to the islands – with three more ships in its fleet, all able to carry passengers and vehicles.
Air Nostrum will resume its inter-island flights from Sunday, May 24th, offering five flights a day: three on the Mallorca-Ibiza route and two between Mallorca and Menorca.
The airline’s president, Carlos Bertomeu, said it’s ‘a significant step towards the return to normality that everyone wants.’
The airline started operating its daily inter-island flights in October 1999.
Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez is to ask Congress this week to approve a final extension to the state of alarm, which began at midnight on March 14th. This time, Sánchez is seeking a one-month extension, to June 24th – for which he’ll need a majority of ‘yes’ votes in the 350-seat chamber.
Meanwhile, de-escalation measures will continue and could be finished in half the country by the start of summer, the prime minister said.
Mallorca is still in Phase 1 of the de-escalation of the state of alarm measures, but with some new modifications. From today, businesses with floor space larger than 400 sqm can open a limited area of up to 400 sqm to customers. Fishing and hunting are also permitted from today.
Meanwhile, our little sister island Formentera has moved into Phase 2 today.
Masks are already obligatory on public transport, but it looks likely we’ll soon be required to wear them elsewhere too. Health Minister Salvador Illa announced yesterday that an order would be published on the subject of masks, probably after another videoconference meeting with regional government heads today. Balearics’ President Francina Armengol is one of those who has been pressing for masks to be compulsory.
The Ministry of Health announced the daily statistics relating to Covid-19 earlier this morning.
Restrictions on non-essential travel into Spain have been extended until June 15th – according to today’s BOE – Spain’s Official State Gazette. The order has been based on a recommendation by the European Commission. Earlier this week the Spanish government announced a 14-day self-quarantine period for arriving international travellers, which comes into effect from tomorrow and will be in force until midnight on June 15th. Although the cut-off point is beyond the current state of alarm, the Prime Minister is to ask Congress for permission to extend it until June 29th.
Traffic restrictions in Palma are back this weekend: 14 kilometres of roads in and around the city will be closed to traffic from 06:00h tomorrow until 23:00h on Sunday night. For an infographic of the closures, see last Friday’s update on our coronavirus crisis page on our website.
The coronavirus pandemic means no going back to school this side of the summer holidays, the Balearic Education Minister, Martí March has announced. This applies to all public and private schools, although private nurseries will be able to open if the necessary protective measures are in place.
Students and schoolchildren will continue their education with online classes and tutoring and won’t be back in the classroom until September, when the next academic year starts.
Work to clean the educational establishments across the Balearics has already started and PPE will be provided for teachers and students.
The Philippe Starck-designed Port Adriano is open for business again. Most of the restaurants’ terraces opened this week, as permitted, following the required safety-and-hygiene measures. Boat owners will find the nautical businesses open again and the remaining shops and businesses will start opening from today.
Between Tuesday and Wednesday, four people in Mallorca and one person in Ibiza were arrested for disobeying the State of Alert measures. One of the four in Mallorca was a passenger on a train travelling from Inca to Palma who refused to wear the obligatory mask. The 32-year-old man was arrested by a member of the Guardia Civil, and the incident delayed the train at Lloseta for 20 minutes.
On Wednesday, there were 147 sanctions for breaking the rules – 62 in Palma, 9 in Manacor, and 27 in Ibiza.
The latest data relating to cumulative and new cases of Covid-19 was released earlier at today’s media briefing.
Confirmed cases now number 229,540, with 506 new cases in the 24-hour period.
27,321 people have died, including 217 since yesterday’s figures.
143,374 have recovered.
1,958 cases have been confirmed, with one new case since the last report. There were no new hospital entries or ICU cases though.
One more person died, bringing the death toll to 216.
1,492 have recovered.
As governments across Europe look to revive tourism and airline industries, affected by the pandemic, the European Commission yesterday issued an extensive raft of guidelines for air, rail, sea, and road travel, as well as recommendations for hotels and other businesses in the hospitality sector.
The Balearics’ president Francine Armengol welcomed the guidelines and the Mallorca Hoteliers’ Federation’s president, Maria Frontera, said they demonstrated ‘a firm commitment to restarting the tourism sector within the EU countries’. Exceltur also commended the guidelines as ‘a very powerful breath of fresh air,’
More than 100,000 people in Madrid have been relying on food donations to survive during the Covid-19 crisis. Many of these have never had to do so before. A video filmed on Saturday which went viral showed an endless queue of people waiting to collect bags of food in Madrid’s Aluche neighbourhood.
Several thousand people in Mallorca are also struggling and an appeal has been launched for food donations for the Tardor social kitchen in Palma. If you think you could donate something – however small – see the Corona-Crisis page on our website for details.
The 5-star Can Bordoy Grand House & Garden in Palma’s La Lonja has reopened its doors today – one of the first hotels in Palma to do so. Measures are in place to guarantee the safety of guests who stay in the all-suite hotel and for those who eat and drink in its Botànic Restaurant. The restaurant has been offering a successful food delivery service during the hotel closure.
In Menorca, two resort hotels are set to open on June 12th. The Carlos Hotel in Es Castell and the Audax Hotel in Cala Galdana belong to the Menorcan group Artiem Hotels. The company’s CEO, José Guillermo Díaz Montañés said that the investment in making the hotels safe for guests was about ‘moving the economy and taking steps in that direction.’
Artiem’s Hotel Capri in Mahon is expected to open two weeks later. The only other confirmed opening in Menorca is Biniarroca Rural Hotel in Es Castell, where it’s hoped to open five rooms at the end of May.
The number of people seeking help from Associació Tardor’s social canteen to feed their families has risen from 600 to more than 5,500. Caroline Fabian, of the business Private Cooking Mallorca, is helping to cook meals for the association’s users. Caroline has organised two collection points, courtesy of artisan bakery Thomas Bakeshop, for donations of foodstuffs to help the association continue its vital work.
Donations of dried, tinned, and bottled products should be unopened and in their original packaging.
In Palma, food donations may be dropped off tomorrow, Friday, at Thomas Bakeshop in Santa Catalina (Carrer d’Annibal, 24) between 10:00 and 13:00 and on Saturday, at Thomas Bakeshop’s bakery in Santa Maria del Camí (Carrer Bartomeu Pasqual 8) between 07:00 and 10:30h.
Donations of the following will be gratefully received:
Friday: dried goods such as pasta, basmati rice, olive oil for cooking, salt, sugar, tins of tomatoes, all types of pulses, sweet corn, spices, soy sauce, paella rice, wheat or spelt flour, baking powder. No frozen or items requiring refrigeration can be accepted at tomorrow’s drop-off point.
Saturday: Th Santa Maria collection point has refrigeration so, in addition to the above, donations could include yogurt or quark, UHT milk, butter, frozen cod, frozen prawns, eggs.
The daily media briefing by the Ministry of Health took place this morning, with the following statistics to date announced.
The TUI Group – the world’s largest leisure, travel, and tourism company – could shed up to 8,000 jobs globally as it strives to restructure and cut costs by 30 per cent. After most of its travel programme in March was cancelled, because of the pandemic, the Hanover-based company received a state-backed loan of 1.8 billion euros.
The company’s pledged to ‘reinvent the holiday in 2020’, with new destinations, changed travel seasons, new local offerings, and more digitalisation, according to CEO Fritz Joussen, who said the demand for holidays is still very high.
TUI Group says it’s ready to resume operations this year, in all areas of its business, and Joussen said that although the season would start later, it could last longer.
The UK Foreign Office, however, is still advising against all non-essential foreign travel with no indication of when that advice may change.
The 5-star hotel Can Bordoy Grand House & Garden in Palma’s La Lonja reopens its doors tomorrow – one of the first hotels in Palma to do so.
The hotel has carried out extensive preparations and staff training, to ensure the safety of guests and employees. The privately owned hotel has prepared an easy-to-follow protocol document so that visitors to the property understand and abide by all the safety measures.
The hotel’s Botànic restaurant requires advance booking of at least one hour and asks clients to arrive 15 minutes before their table time to go through the appropriate protocols. Weather permitting, the restaurant service will on the garden terrace.
All areas of the all-suite hotel will open – although the garden swimming pool and hydromassage pools in the garden and on the roof terrace will remain closed.
The Balearic government says that the requirement for international travellers to Spain to undergo a 14-day quarantine period, should last the minimum time necessary. The quarantine measures announced yesterday by Spain’s Ministry of Health come into effect this Friday and are expected to last until May 24th.
Yesterday, the Balearics’ president Francine Armengol and tourism minister held a video-conference with Spain’s national tourism minister Reyes Maroto and the secretary of state for tourism, at which Armengol stressed the Balearics’ intention to be able to restart tourism at the end of June or beginning of July.
If you drive and park in Palma, you’ll need to know that ORA parking regulations come back fully into operation again today.
Seventy ORA parking attendants have started work again, after not being on duty since the start of the state of alarm. These attendants will have masks, gloves, and use sanitising gel.
More than 400 parking machines in the city’s eight ORA zones have been reprogrammed ready for use and will be disinfected once a day. Although payment in coins is available, it’s recommended that users make payments using the mobiAPParc if they can.
The Council of Mallorca has launched a promotional campaign to encourage all of us to eat local food. The ‘Si es de ca nostra, guanyam tots’ campaign focuses on farm products from local growers affected by the lack of activity in the hotel and restaurant sectors. As a result of meetings arranged by the councillor for economic promotion and local development, Mallorcan fruit and veg are now being supplied to El Corte Inglés and Lidl supermarkets.
The figures from this morning’s Ministry of Health showed:
Cases to date confirmed by PCR test number 228,030
In the past 24 hours, there have been 426 new cases and 176 more deaths from Covid-19.
138,980 in total have now recovered.
There were no new cases in the Balearics in the past 24 hours, which means the total to date stands at 1,953.
One person who already had the virus needed to go into hospital; one went into ICU.
One more person died, bringing the total to 210.
Spain has decreed that international travellers arriving in the country will be quarantined on arrival for 14 days. This will become effective from this Friday and remain in force at least until the state of alert ends. Only cross-border workers, transporters, crew, and health workers will be excluded.
During their quarantine period, travellers to Spain will have to stay in their holiday accommodation or second home. They’ll only be able to go out to buy food, basic necessities, and medicines – and must wear a mask when doing so. The health authorities may contact people in quarantine to check on their health.
Travel agencies, tour operators, and transport companies must inform potential customers about the quarantine requirement before selling them their services.
Airlines will ask passengers to complete the Passenger Location Card, to be handed in on arrival in Spain.
Several other European countries have adopted a similar measure.
The citizens of Sóller didn’t allow the pandemic to prevent their biggest fiesta of the year, the Battle of the Moors and Christians for Es Firó. The hugely popular fiesta took place yesterday, conducted in a socially distanced fashion from balconies and in gardens. Es Firó 2020 will be one that Sollerics will never forget.
Few hotels opened their doors yesterday to guests. In Palma, Hotel Abelux opened with 15 per cent of its 65 rooms filled and followed all the necessary security measures relating to Covid-19. The two-star Hotel Abelux in Carrer Ramón Muntaner has been open since 1963 and some 95 per cent of its clients are business rather than leisure.
In Pollença, the Hotel Juma, in the Plaça Major, also opened – with the benefit of its large terrace for serving breakfasts. And the Hotel Son Sant Jordi opened six of its 14 rooms, located in an annexe building under the name Boutique House. The hotel’s owner and president of the hoteliers’ association in Pollença, Jaume Salas, said it was a good time to welcome local tourism, at attractive prices.
The FETV – Federación de Estancias Turísticas Vacacionales de Mallorca – announced yesterday that some 1,300 of its holiday accommodation members were ready to receive guests. The federation’s president, Jordi Cerdó, said that the strictest professional cleaning – such as that done in hospitals and operating theatres – had been carried out. He pointed out that such holiday accommodation offered ‘exclusivity, isolation, and security.’
Footie fans in Spain could be watching the beautiful game again from mid-June. That’s according to the president of La Liga, Javier Tebas, who said in an interview that he would like games to restart on June 12th.
The decision to resume the championship depends on whether there’s a new spike in Covid-19 cases. Tebas said that was not up to football, but ‘up to the Spanish people.’
Of the 2,500 tests carried out on players and members of the first and second divisions in Spain, eight people tested positive for Covid-19, of whom five were players. Statistically, this was lower than expected – they’d estimated the incidence would be around 25-30 cases.
At today’s daily media briefing in Madrid, the following data was reported:
The Balearics’ president, Francine Armengol has called for prudence and responsibility, as we enter Phase 1 of the easing of state of alert confinement measures.
Armengol stressed the importance of learning lessons from other parts of the world where easing of the lockdown has resulted in spikes in infection. She emphasised the need to stick to hygiene and safety measures to avoid a return to confinement.
Mallorca’s four ITV vehicle-testing stations – in Palma, Manacor, and Inca, re-open from tomorrow morning at 09:00h until 21:00h. All centres will be disinfected twice a day and vehicle inspection staff will wear face shields, masks, and gloves, and will not get into vehicles.
Those whose appointments were during the period of closure will be contacted to arrange a new appointment from next Monday and will be given priority.
The Balearics’ business confederation CAEB has launched its ‘Brindamos por ti’ (‘We toast you’) campaign, designed to thank health workers, law enforcement officers, and journalists for their effort and dedication during the Covid-19 crisis.
CAEB’s president Alfonso Robledo said the confederation is creating a network of bars, cafes, and restaurants throughout the Balearics that will invite these workers to a free drink in their establishments – on production of proof of their profession.
Any establishments that want to be part of this solidarity initiative can sign up to it on the website brinmosporti.com.
Mallorca today enters Phase 1 of the loosening of the state of alarm measures imposed in March, giving us all a little more freedom. Menorca and Ibiza also enter Phase 1, which Formentera has been in for the past week.
Many establishments and small businesses may re-open today, albeit with a limit of 30 per cent of their capacity.
Bars and restaurant terraces will be open with only half the usual number of tables, allowing for social distancing. You can visit these anywhere on the island.
Social gatherings of up to 10 people are permitted – again observing distancing measures.
If you have a second home in Mallorca, you can also visit and stay overnight in it from today. Hotel stays on the island are also allowed.
ITV stations are now open for appointments too. And the Ministry of Transport yesterday published that there are now no restrictions relating to car-sharing with family members from your household. For these, it’s not compulsory to wear masks in the car. However, the rule of one person only for supermarket shopping still applies.
If you have to use public transport, masks must be worn.
And although all these activities can be done at any time, the Balearic Government has announced that the time bands for walks and exercise outside still apply. Local municipalities have the authority to decide whether you can walk on beaches but sunbathing and swimming are not allowed.
Since the state of alarm began, there’s been only one daily return flight between Palma and Menorca and Palma and Ibiza, by Air Europa. From today, there can be two flights per day on each route. Airlines will operate at 50 per cent of their capacity.
The latest cumulative statistics to date were presented this morning at the daily media briefing.
Bars in Palma will be allowed to extend their terraces onto parking spaces in front of their premises, the town hall has announced. Pavement space for pedestrians can’t be used to allow for the required two-metre social distancing but, on a temporary basis, parking spaces could be used. Establishments that don’t already have a terrace, but do have parking spaces in front of them, can also apply.
Interested bars must first apply for permission to Palma City Council, which has promised to reply to requests within 48 hours. It’s estimated that around 1,000 businesses could benefit from this temporary measure.
Businesses in Palma will not be charged a terrace fee from the start of the State of Emergency until the end of this year.
If we enter Phase 1 of the de-escalation of emergency measures on Monday, as expected, adapted terraces can be used from 08:00h until 23:00h. An announcement from Madrid on this is expected either today or tomorrow.
Madrid has today opened 170 parks in the city, to provide more social-distancing space for citizens exercising or walking during the permitted hours. Sports fields and recreation areas within these parks will not be open though. Madrid’s larger parks – such as El Retiro – will stay closed. Madrid is also introducing weekend pedestrianisation of 29 roads in the city, affecting almost 50 bus routes.
There’ll be traffic restrictions in parts of Palma over this and future weekends, from 06:00h tomorrow until 23:00h on Sunday night, due to the temporary pedestrianisation of 14 kilometres of roads in and around the city.
From tomorrow, people in Palma will be able to exercise or walk at weekends more safely. On Saturdays and Sundays over the coming weekends, 14 kilometres of roads in Palma will become temporary pedestrian zones, to make social distancing easier to achieve.
Six zones, covering almost 120k square metres, will be closed to traffic from tomorrow morning at 06:00h until 23:00h on Sunday. These zones include the seafront road from the Palau de Congressos to La Ronda del dique del Oueste – on the carriageway nearest the sea – and a half-kilometre stretch of the Avenidas, from Alemania to Carrer de Sant Miquel. Roads in Molinar, Playa de Palma, Son Rapinya, and the Eixample area will also be closed at weekends.
Palma’s mayor, José Hila said these were a first step to making the city more pedestrianised, ‘reaffirming Palma’s commitment to sustainable mobility.’
Spain’s Institute for Tourism Quality has prepared a proposal of measures to be adopted by hotels and other tourist accommodation establishments, to prevent Covid-19 infection. The Institute has submitted the document to Spain’s Ministry of Health for approval.
The proposed protocols cover every area and aspect of operating such establishments, with a focus on social distancing, the use of protective wear, and disinfection.
The Spanish National Research Council is currently carrying out a scientific study to determine appropriate measures regarding the use of swimming pools. The Institute for Tourism Quality has also drafted protocols for Spain’s beaches, which would likely mean extended duties for lifeguards.
For more information about the road closures in Palma at the weekends from tomorrow, see our website mallorcasunshineradio.com
The director of the Centre for Co-ordination of Health Alerts and Emergencies, Dr Fernando Simón, released the following data at this morning’s media briefing:
Of the total deaths, 41.2 per cent were people in their 80s, and 24.7 per cent were in their 70s.
The Balearic Government is awaiting a decision after sending its proposal to Madrid to move to Phase 1 of the de-escalation of the Covid-19 measures from Monday, May 11th. This phase would mean businesses and terraces could partially reopen and groups of up to 10 people could meet in the open air or in private homes – but observing social distancing.
The islands of Menorca and Ibiza have already been approved to move into the next phase, but the decision about Mallorca may not be announced by Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez until Saturday.
All the Spanish regions, except Cataluña and Castile and Leon, asked to move to Phase 1. In each case, Central Government considers more than 60 criteria before allowing progress to the next phase of de-escalation.
The State of Alarm in Spain was extended for another 15 days yesterday. This fourth extension authorised maintains the government’s emergency powers to deal with the Covid-19 crisis, and will last until May 24th.
The centre-right Ciudadanos and the Basque Nationalist Party both voted in favour but, as had been expected, the Partido Popular abstained from voting.
Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez announced that Spain will have an official period of mourning for the Covid-19 victims, once most of the country is in the de-escalation’s Phase 1.
Of the Balearics’ 67 municipalities, 19 currently have no active cases of Covid-19. Only six of these 19 municipalities have had no test-confirmed cases.
They are Petra, Deià, Escorca, Estellencs, and Fornalutx in Mallorca, and Ferreries in Menorca.
Just under 60 per cent of all coronavirus infections in the islands were in Palma; the municipality has also suffered the most in terms of fatalities, with just over 63 per cent of these in the capital.
Baleària is working to become the world’s first shipping company to obtain the Global Safe Site Covid-19 accreditation, at its highest level of ‘Excellence’.
The certification of Baleària’s ships and maritime stations will be done by the international body Bureau Veritas, which looks at the management of specific procedures, clean-up plans, security measures, and personal protection measures to prevent Covid-19.
The certification will include the company’s 16 vessels and the maritime stations it manages in Dénia and Valencia and it’s planned to achieve it in early June.
The Global Safe Site Covid-19 certificate will guarantee that the company goes beyond the guidelines of the Ministry of Health and the World Health Organization, and will be reviewed for renewal every six months
The Ministry of Health reported the latest Covid-19 figures at this morning’s media briefing.
Some wineries across Mallorca may be forced to produce less wine this year, according to the president of DO Pla i Llevant, Antoni Bennàssar. With the hospitality sector closed because of Covid-19, there’s concern there’ll be a large amount of unsold stock later this year – which requires space for storage.
Director of Macia Batle, Ramon Servalls, who is also president of the wineries’ association of Santa Maria, believes it’s too early to panic.
Wineries hope that individual consumers will support them by buying local wines. To make this easier, the DO Binissalem, DO Pla i Llevant and Vi de la Terra have been promoting home deliveries and have seen a moderate growth in sales after the sharp fall following the start of the lockdown.
Spain’s Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez will today ask Congress to vote in favour of a further two-week extension to the state of alarm, which is currently due to end on May 9th. However, four of the country’s political parties have already made it known they’re planning to vote against the extension.
If Sánchez doesn’t secure approval today, almost all of the measures introduced to help stop the spread of coronavirus would be dissolved. Spain’s Transportation Minister José Luis Ábalos said that not supporting the extension would be ‘like sentencing us to chaos’.
Palma town hall and the Mallorca Restaurants Association are in talks over measures to help the bar and restaurant sector through the crisis. These measures could include increasing terrace space as, during the phased de-escalation, the capacity of existing terraces will not be fully usable.
After a positive meeting yesterday between the vice-president of the association and the councillor for internal government, communications will continue on a weekly basis.
Although we’ve been allowed to exercise since Saturday, swimming in the sea is still banned throughout Spain. According to the Spanish Government, we’ll have to wait until Phase 3 of the de-escalation of coronavirus restrictions to be able to swim in the sea or sunbathe on the beach. Public outdoor pools normally open mid-June in time for the school holidays, but Dr Fernando Simón said yesterday that there’s no guarantee these will allowed to open then.
Fernando Simón announced the latest Covid-19 statistics at this morning’s media briefing from Madrid.
The Balearic tourism sector wants the islands to reopen to international visitors from July 1st. According to the president of the Association of Hotel Chains of Mallorca, Biel Llobera, the main European tour operators are continuing to sell package holidays on the islands for July and August and beyond.
Tourism entrepreneurs in the Balearics believe that if airports can reopen, airlines will schedule flights to meet the demand. This would enable the hotel companies and tourism sector to benefit from at least half the summer season.
Llobera suggested that people who want to travel could undergo a temperature control and quick test before boarding the plane – arguing that these tourists wouldn’t mind having to pay for the cost of the test, in order to have their holiday.
El Corte Inglés is gearing itself up for re-opening in Phase 2 of the de-escalation of the lockdown restrictions which, if all goes to plan, will be from May 25th.
Amongst the measures they’ll be taking, customers and workers will have their temperatures tested, safety signage will be displayed to ensure two-metre social distancing, and there’ll be disinfectant gel for hands.
Staff will be provided with face masks and gloves and will have staggered breaks and more flexible shift start-and-end times.
Dairy company AGAMA and water business Font Major have donated 18k litres of milk and 25k bottles of water to social entities in Mallorca, through the Fundación Damm. The organisations to benefit include the social kitchens of the Iglesia de los Caputxins and the Associació Tardor de Palma, and Aldeas Infantiles.
Fundación Damm is also collaborating with different social initiatives on the island involving chefs and restaurants providing food for the socially disadvantaged.
The philanthropic foundation was started by the famous Spanish brewery in 2002 and has made many donations to the whole country during the coronavirus crisis.
Congress is tomorrow due to vote on Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez’s government proposal for a further extension of the state of alarm – but it looks as though the Partido Popular will not support the measure. Sánchez had discussions yesterday with the leader of the main opposition party, Pablo Casado, who has indicated that the PP may abstain from the vote.
The Balearic government is to ask Spain’s Ministry for Development for an increase in the frequency of flights between the islands, from next week. It also wants sea travel – which has been restricted to cargo during the lockdown – to be open to passengers. The announcement was made yesterday in Menorca by the Balearic government spokesperson Marc Pons.
At this time of the year, the makers of the reality TV series ‘Love Island’ would be planning to come to Mallorca to prepare the luxury villa for filming, but the Covid-19 restrictions have scuppered those plans.
ITV’s Director of Television, Kevin Lygo, said that it wasn’t possible to produce the show ‘in a way that safeguards the wellbeing of everyone involved’ and that was the priority.
There had been plans to relocate the show for this year to Cornwall, but makers, ITV and the Motion Content Group, have now said the show won’t happen this year but return in 2021.
The Ministry of Health reported its daily Covid-19 data at this morning’s media briefing.
Owners of boats moored in Palma – who also live in the municipality – are permitted to visit their vessels from today to check on them. The Balearic Ports Authority will allow visits carried out individually, which must take place during one of the time bands set out for exercise (06:00-10:00h and 20:00-23:00h; 10:00-12:00 and 19:00-20:00h for those over 70 years old).
The National Police and Guardia Civil filed 42 sanctions against people who broke the rules regarding walking and exercise on Saturday. Seventeen people were sanctioned for playing sports outside the allotted time zone, within a municipality with more than 5,000 inhabitants. Ten were sanctioned for walking outside their allotted time slot and fifteen were more than a kilometre from their homes.
Four people in Mallorca were arrested for using public roads without justification and for disobeying instructions from the police and security forces.
The number of deaths in Spain relating to coronavirus fell to 163 – the lowest in a 24-hour period since March 18th. This is what Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez informed the presidents of the autonomous communities yesterday. The number of new cases requiring hospitalization was 547.
The Balearics had six new cases – five requiring hospitalization – reported yesterday, bringing the total infections to 1,908. Yesterday’s report showed no new ICU cases or deaths in the Balearics, but 16 additional recoveries.
The Ministry of Health announced that 34,015 PCR tests have now been done in the Balearics.
The islands of Formentera and El Hierro, La Graciosa, and La Gomera in the Canaries, start Phase 1 of Spain’s de-escalation plan today.
Moving into Phase 1 is conditional on infection rates, testing, and health system capacity for each province, but those who meet the criteria should move from Phase 0 to Phase 1 next Monday, May 11th.
At the weekend, Prime Minister Sánchez also restated his intention to ask Congress for a further extension to the State of Emergency.
From today, users of any form of public transport must wear masks. Nationwide six million masks are to be given out at stations and other public travel hubs.
The Ministry of Health announced the latest statistics relating to Covid-19 at this morning’s daily media briefing.
Spain’s Minister for Tourism, Commerce, and Industry, Reyes Maroto said yesterday that the government has not yet set a date when the country’s borders will reopen.
Travel between Spain’s provinces and islands is banned until at least June 22nd but Maroto said that opening the international borders would be a decision by the European Union, depending on the pandemic situation.
Sixty-two aid initiatives are being planned to fight the economic effects of the coronavirus crisis in Menorca. Mahón’s mayor, Héctor Pons, announced that just over 1.5m euros was being allocated to this, on top of the budgeted investment of just over 4.5m euros for this year.
One area of spend will be tourism; the sum of 300k euros is being allocated to help small retailers. The town hall is looking into increasing restaurant and bar terrace sizes and relaxing noise regulations to enable construction work to continue during the summer.
The Spanish Health Minister, Salvador Illa, last evening explained the regulations regarding the walks and exercise which can be taken from tomorrow, Saturday, as part of Phase 0 of the de-escalation plan.
Walks are allowed once a day, within a radius of one kilometre of home, and can be taken with one other person you live with.
Sports – eg running, cycling, roller-skating – must be done ALONE and not involve any communal sports areas such tennis courts or football pitches. There’s no one kilometre limit but the exercise must be within our home municipality.
We cannot use a vehicle to travel elsewhere to walk or practise sport.
These have been allocated for different sectors of the population, to protect the most vulnerable. For both exercise and walks, for everyone, it’s ONCE A DAY for up to ONE HOUR.
Adults from the age of 14: between 06:00 and 10:00h and 20:00 and 23:00h.
The elderly and adults who need a carer: between 10:00 and 12:00h and 19:00-20:00h.
Children under 14: The timing for outings is now between 12:00h and 19:00h. As before, one adult can accompany a maximum of three children, for exercise outside within one kilometre of home for up to one hour.
In the municipalities with fewer than 5,000 inhabitants (listed below), exercise can be taken at any time between 06:00h and 23:00h.
Maria de la Salut
The Ministry of Health released the latest Covid-19 data this morning at the daily media briefing.
Spain’s GDP (Gross Domestic Product) fell by 5.2 per cent in the first quarter of this year, because of the coronavirus confinement measures. That’s according to an advance report from the National Statistics Institute today. The quarterly drop is the largest since the time after the Spanish Civil War. For comparison, the economy fell 2.6 per cent in the first quarter of 2009, during the recession.
Trade, transportation, and hospitality were among the worst-affected sectors.
Reports in the local press yesterday of Biniagual Vineyard being forced to shut down for want of government aid have led to concerned people contacting Bodega Biniagual.
The two-hectares of vineyard mentioned in the news story have been rented for the past three years by a company called Viveros Villanueva – and that’s the business facing closure.
Charlotte Miller of Bodega Biniagual confirmed today that the winery is still very much in operation and offering free home delivery of its wines in Mallorca, with orders placed via WhatsApp or email. Bodega Biniagual is also launching its new website, with online shop, this coming Monday.
The Spanish Interior Minister, Fernando Grande-Marlaska said yesterday that the return of foreign tourism will vary from province to province, depending on several factors. The government hasn’t yet specified when Spain will re-open to the international market, but more information is expected to be released today.
Balearics President, Francina Armengol said in an address last evening that she would be asking the Ministry of Health at national level to allow Menorca to enter Phase 1 of the de-escalation of emergency measures on Monday, May 4th – when Formentera enters this phase. This is because of the much lower number of coronavirus cases in Menorca, compared to Mallorca. She may also request the same for Ibiza.
Playa de Palma could become a ‘test’ destination when Mallorca is reopened to foreign tourism, until a vaccine can be found. The hoteliers’ association in Playa de Palma cites its proximity to the airport, and factors that would make social distancing easier, such as the wide promenades and parks, and the five kilometres of beach. Playa de Palma is particularly popular with German tour operators and airlines – with whom the association is in talks.
The following statistics were released by the director of the Centre for Co-ordination of Alerts & Emergencies, Fernando Simón, at this morning’s media briefing.
Phase 1 of the Spanish de-escalation of the lockdown measures, announced by Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez yesterday evening, is likely to come into effect from Monday, May the 4th – but only on a few of Spain’s islands. At this stage, only the Balearic island of Formentera, La Gomera, El Hierro, and La Graciosa in the Canaries, will move forward to this phase, because of the low rate of coronavirus transmission on these islands.
In the meantime, Mallorca is in the preparatory phase of the de-escalation from May 4th to the 11th. During this period, hairdressers and other services offering appointments can re-open and restaurants can offer a take-away food service. This period will also see the return of training for professional sports leagues. Walks and individual sporting activities will be allowed from May 2nd – although specific details have not yet been announced.
The national epidemiology study to establish the prevalence of Covid-19 has started. In the Balearics, just under 5,000 people will be tested, with almost 2,500 of these in Mallorca.
The study is to estimate the percentage of the Spanish population that has been in contact with the virus and developed antibodies.
The Health Service yesterday started making telephone appointments to see the people selected by the National Institute for Statistics. The population sample includes people of all age groups and geographical locations.
Of the almost 5,000 people in the Balearics who will be part of this national study, half will be seen this week and the rest in the next.
Last evening Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez presented the Spanish government’s plan for a four-phase de-escalation of the restrictions relating to Covid-19, which was approved yesterday by the Cabinet.
Each phase is expected to last at two weeks – the incubation period of the virus – which means that by the end of June, we should have reached what Sánchez referred to several times as the ‘new normality’.
During the de-escalation, there will still be limits on movement between provinces and islands. Those with a second home or family members in different provinces will not be able to visit them yet.
Sánchez said that the only objective of the de-escalation was ‘to activate Spain, protecting the health and lives of Spaniards’ and to bring the country to a ‘new normality’ until a vaccine for Covid-19 is available.
Dates for each of the four phases of the de-escalation have not been set, as the progress through the stages will vary according to local circumstances of contagion – which the Health Ministry will evaluate.
The first phase – zero – begins on May 4th for all territories and a week later, May 11th, the provinces that meet the requirements will enter Phase 1.
Working from home will be preferable until at least Phase 3, Sanchez said.
Adults will be able to go outside and exercise or walk from this weekend – but exact details of this are still to be announced.
From today it will be easier to maintain the recommended distance between people in Palma, where 44 parks and green spaces are reopening. EMAYA has disinfected the parks every day and will continue to do so. Palma City Council announced that Bellver Forest, Parc de ses Estacions, Sa Riera park, and La Ribera forest will reopen on Friday.
The latest Covid-19 statistics, from the time of the first confirmed case, were presented at this morning’s daily media briefing.
Eight communities across Spain have reported no new ICU admissions in the past 24 hours.
The police in Mallorca have been lenient with parents and children during the first couple of days of relaxing of the confinement measures for children. However, expect them to become stricter in the coming days with those who break the rules.
So far, the most common infringements were two parents – rather than one – going out with children and travelling further than one kilometre from home. Officers also had to intervene when children weren’t staying a safe distance from others from outside their home.
Until now, family members could only communicate with Covid-19 patients in hospital using videoconferencing, but a Health Service scheme which has been working at Son Espases is now being rolled out to other public hospitals.
The family member can request the visit according to each hospital’s agreed procedure and hospital staff will manage aspects relating to the visit, such as timing, and help with personal protective equipment. A maximum of two people per patient is allowed and it’s recommended that visits do not exceed 30 minutes.
Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez will today take the proposal for a further loosening of the State of Alarm restrictions to Cabinet. If approved, it would mean that adults will finally be allowed out for periods of exercise, sports, and walks from this Saturday, May 2nd.
Masks, aprons, gloves and sanitizers are amongst the personal protection items for the health service that could be manufactured in the Balearics in future. The Balearic government is to allocate up to 9m euros a month to purchase PPE from local manufacturers, on an ‘emergency’ contract basis for up to two years.
Health minister Patricia Gómez said that as well as supplying the health service, it would create employment, keep investment within the Balearics, and reduce the islands’ dependency on external suppliers.
The closure of businesses in the hospitality sector and lack of foreign visitors are having a huge impact on Mallorca’s wine producers, who are facing a critical situation.
The geographical denominations Vi de la Terra, DO Binissalem and DO Pla i Llevant have launched a promotional campaign intended to boost local wine consumption amongst residents. It’s estimated that barely 12 per cent of wine consumed in Mallorca is from local bodegas and increasing this to 20 per cent would give some stability to the sector.
Several wineries are offering a home delivery service for their wines, including Mesquida Mora, Can Majoral, and Mandia Vell. Wine distribution companies on the island have also put together home-delivery offers.
The latest statistics relating to Covid-19 were announced this morning at the daily media briefing and are totals to date since the first case in Spain.
Inca town hall has restructured its budget in line with the current situation and will allocate 300,000 euros in direct help to local self-employed and small businesses. The move will be approved at the next plenary session, taking place on Wednesday this week.
Children under the age of 14 had their first taste of freedom yesterday since mid-March, when Spain’s State of Alarm began. The rules for outings with children are one adult, with up to three children, going up to a maximum of one kilometre from home, for one hour between 09:00 and 21:00h.
Although social media was awash with photos yesterday of obvious infringements, a spokesperson for the Spanish Interior Ministry insisted that there were no ‘serious or widespread breaches’ of the confinement rules yesterday. But they did confirm that surveillance may be strengthened in specific areas, once they had studied data from state security forces.
In Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez’s news conference on Saturday, he said that a further relaxation of the lockdown measures would come into force on May the 2nd, if the contagion figures continue to fall. The suggestion is that we’d be able to go out for exercise, sport, and to take walks from Saturday.
The plan for this next phase of de-escalation will be presented to the Spanish Cabinet tomorrow. Sánchez said that the confinement measures will continue to be eased throughout May, and the situation reviewed in June.
The latest statistics announced at yesterday’s daily media briefing showed the following:
Palma town hall is developing a scheme to boost sales for small shops, bars, and restaurants, once the lockdown is lifted. The scheme involves discount vouchers and will be similar to one that’s previously been used successfully in the Basque Country. Consumers will be able to buy 20€ vouchers that can be used for purchases of 30€ or more.
The town hall is spending 500k euros on the discount voucher scheme – the precise details of which have not yet been finalised.
The latest data relating to COVID-19 was announced at this morning’s media briefing.
Public hospitals across the Balearics are starting to reschedule operations and outpatient appointments – postponed because of the COVID-19 crisis – as part of the first phase of the region’s healthcare revival plan. Details of this first phase were presented this morning by the general director and the healthcare director of the Balearics Health Service.
They also announced that family members would now be allowed to visit patients hospitalised with the virus, if they comply with the necessary security measures.
Children and their parents will be eager to go outside again from Sunday after weeks of confinement. A professor and expert in epidemiology and preventive medicine at Complutense University School of Medicine, María Elsa Calle, has offered some advice for parents who may be concerned about the safety aspects of venturing out.
From this Sunday, April 26th, children up to 14 years of age will be able to go out once a day for up to one hour, between 9am and 9pm.
Children will be able to play in the street with balls, scooters, and other toys – but not with other children (other than those they live with). Visiting play parks and taking part in group kids’ games are still banned, but kids can at least run, jump, and exercise in the fresh air.
In rural areas, children can go out in the countryside and forests, but must always respect social distancing.
They can travel up to one kilometre from their home but must always be accompanied by a responsible adult who lives with them.
Spain’s Vice President, Pablo Iglesias said that a maximum of three children will be able to go out with an older brother or sister and stressed that social distancing must be respected regarding other families and children.
The exception is that any child with a fever, possible symptoms of COVID-19, or who are in quarantine, must not leave the home.
Iglesias thanked children for their efforts during the past weeks of confinement and apologised for the confusion earlier this week about the conditions under which children would be able to go out.
The Ministerial Order for these easing of restrictions for children will be published in tomorrow’s official state bulletin (BOE) and comes into effect on Sunday. An accessible guide will be published for clarification.
The Balearics Health Service received 20 ventilators this week, which are being distributed to the ICUs of hospitals on the islands. These ventilators are in addition to the 26 already received since March.
The Health Service has invested more than 690k euros on these 20 ventilators, which it purchased direct from the medical technology company Hamilton, its usual provider. The model of ventilator is one of the most modern and high-grade on the market and can be adapted for use for adults and children.
It was pointed out that these ventilators were acquired to enable ICUs to face any future recurrences of COVID-19 under better conditions, rather than for current needs.
The ventilators are being distributed within the next few days to the following hospitals: Can Misses (5), Son Llàtzer (5), Manacor (4), Mateu Orfila (3) and Inca (3).
The Ministry of Health announced the daily statistics at this morning’s media briefing.
In terms of positive cases per 100k members of the population, the Balearics have the fifth-lowest number, at 35.93 per 100k people. The lowest number is in the Canary Islands, followed by Melilla, Murcia, and Andalusia.
Seven people were arrested by the Police in the Balearics on Tuesday for lockdown infringements. Two teenagers in Palma had previously been denounced for being outside.
A man was detained for smoking a cigar on a bench in Plaça de Espanya; it was his fourth infringement. Another man with previous lockdown-breaking form was detained for drinking in the street.
National Police arrested a couple in the Son Gotleu area of Palma after a high-speed car chase through the streets of the city. The chase ended when the driver hit a parked vehicle. He’d already been sanctioned four times in the last few weeks.
And in Maó, Menorca, a man who told Police he was taking his dog to the vet, was arrested when his story was found to be a lie. He was three kilometres away from home.
Protur Hotels and chef Tomeu Caldentey – whose restaurant is in the Protur Sa Coma Playa Hotel & Spa – have responded to Red Cross Spain’s call for help with its #CruzRojaResponde campaign. Protur and Caldentey will provide free daily meals for two weeks for people who are in a vulnerable situation in the Llevant region of Mallorca.
Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez asked Congress yesterday to approve the latest extension to the State of Alarm. Congress authorised this third extension up to 00:00h on May 10th, with 269 votes in favour; 60 against, and 16 abstentions.
For this third extension, from April 26th, children up to 14 years old will be allowed out with one adult for a walk or to accompany a parent doing permitted activities; the specifics of this loosening of the lockdown, regarding children have not yet been announced.
The part of the Ministry of Health that’s responsible for pricing of medicinal products has fixed a maximum price of 96 cents each for surgical masks for public use. The price includes IVA and has been set to ensure that all citizens can economically access these health-protection products, for use during the pandemic.
Yesterday, the Balearic Government distributed 1.3m surgical masks to pharmacies across the islands. Purchases are limited to two masks per person.
A new study to ascertain the prevalence of COVID-19 infection is to take place across Spain, with 90,000 adults and children being invited to be tested – 2,460 of them from the Balearics.
The tests will monitor antibodies against the virus by autonomous region, province, age, and sex.
Members of selected households will be contacted by phone and informed of the study’s objective. Consent to the test will be sought and, if given, a home visit will be arranged. Everyone who takes part will undergo a rapid immunochromatography test to find out whether they have antibodies in their blood.
The Ministry of Health reported the following statistics at this morning’s media briefing:
German owners of second homes in Mallorca have written to President Francina Armengol, complaining about what they see as Spain’s harsh measures to get rid of the virus. In hundreds of letters, the holiday-home owners have demanded to be allowed to return to their properties on the island.
The president is to reply to all letters and explain the reasons for the health measures, pointing out that even residents here cannot travel to their second homes on any of the islands, and no distinction can be made amongst nationalities.
Today Congress will debate Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez’s proposed extension to the current state of alarm, from April 27th to May 9th.
Children aged 14 and under will be allowed out of the home for accompanied walks from this Sunday, 26th onwards. That was the final result of yesterday’s weekly Cabinet meeting and it was a U-turn on the announcement made earlier in the day that said minors would be able to accompany an adult on a trip outside the house to go to the supermarket, pharmacy or bank. This would have meant no walk in the open air.
The initial announcement was widely rejected by Spain’s political parties and members of the public on social media, who highlighted the fact that there was a greater chance of infection for children in a closed space such as a supermarket.
Announcing the revised loosening of restrictions relating to Spain’s 8.3m minors who have been confined to their homes for the past five weeks, Health Minister Salvador Illa said he would issue an order this weekend allowing children to go out for walks. The finer details relating to this will be announced soon.
The Ministry of Health announced the latest Spanish coronavirus statistics at its daily media briefing this morning.
Today the Spanish Government will decide what measures are to be taken to de-escalate the lockdown measures for children. The director of the Centre for the Co-ordination of Alerts and Health Emergencies, Fernando Simón, has, however, warned that any loosening of the restrictions must be controlled by parents.
The Spanish Ministry of Health is trying to get a refund of the money it paid for replacement antigen coronavirus tests from the Chinese company Bioeasy, sourced through a Spanish distributor. The first batch of kits received were faulty, and the replacements have been found not to be sensitive enough to detect the virus. The Ministry of Health has begun the process of recovering the money paid for the kits.
Yesterday saw the arrival in the Balearics of another consignment of protective material: 300k surgical masks, 40k filter-fitted masks, 1.5 million gloves, and 100k protective goggles.
The Balearics Government yesterday released figures relating to confirmed cases of coronavirus by municipality.
The figures showed the largest number of registered cases in Palma, where 1,009 cases had been detected by Sunday. The second largest number of cases was in Calvià (90); Ibiza had 70 cases, and Marratxí, 69.
When the number of cases relative to the population were taken into account, Sant Joan in Mallorca had the highest number: 37.95 infected for every 10,000 inhabitants, although the actual number of cases was 8, in the population of 2,108.
Across the Balearics, there are 15.55 cases for every 10,000 members of the official population.
Nine municipalities across the Balearics (8 in Mallorca*, one in Menorca) have had no confirmed cases of COVID-19.
*Deià, Escorca, Estellencs, Fornalutx, Lloret de Vistalegre, Petra, Puigpunyent, Santa Eugènia.
The Balearics have 67 municipalities: 53 in Mallorca, 8 in Menorca, and 6 in Ibiza.
The executive vice president of Meliá Hotels International, Gabriel Escarrer Jaume is calling for the introduction of a ‘health passport’ by the European Union, and rapid tests to be carried out on travellers leaving their home countries and on arrival in the Balearics and Canaries.
He stated that the tourism situation would be worse for Spain’s islands than for regions on the peninsula because of their dependence on foreign visitors and air connectivity.
His opinion is in line with President Francina Armengol’s remarks during the regional presidents’ videoconference on Sunday, when she pointed out that technologies exist to check the health of arriving passengers and that these technologies, and the health passport, should be used across the EU.
The Ministry for Health announced its daily COVID-19 media update this morning.
The Balearic Government’s public health management, in collaboration with the Guardia Civil, carried out COVID-19 controls of 19,304 users of the Balearic ports and airports – only 35 people presented with symptoms compatible with the virus. The findings were up to April 16th and came from completed questionnaires and triage clinical evaluations. More than 10k forms were completed in the ports and just under 9k in the airports.
The authorities are isolating and evaluating people with symptoms compatible with coronavirus in specially designated zones in the airports and ports. If found to be positive but not requiring hospital attention, these people are given a mask and told to go home and to follow the instructions and advice given to them in a special document.
More than 5,063 COVID-19 detection tests have now been carried out in 20 residential homes for the elderly and six centres for disabled people, across Mallorca, Menorca, and Ibiza. The tests were shared almost equally between centre users and those who work in them. The testing will continue, with priority given to those centres where there have already been positive cases.
The owner of the ice cream franchise business Ice Wave, Tomeu Riutord (33) has been nominated for the title of ‘Entrepreneur of the Year’ in Spain’s Premio Rey Jaime I – for the second year in a row.
The award will be presented in November by King Felipe in Valencia and, if Riutord wins, he’s said he’ll donate the prize money of 100k euros to the country’s fight against coronavirus.
Tomeu Riutord founded Ice Wave in 2015 and today there are more than 20 shops all over Spain, and a presence abroad, employing more than 200 people.
Riutord has a degree in Pharmacy from Barcelona and in Physical Education and Sport from the University of Lleida. He also has an MBA from Stamford University in the States.
The Healthy Ministry reported the following statistics at yesterday’s official media briefing.
In his Saturday evening address, Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez confirmed the government’s proposal to extend the state of alarm for another 15 days, up to and including Saturday, May 9th.
He also said that the government wanted to ease the confinement for children, with effect from next Monday, April 27th, without going into the specifics of ages and how this would work.
The proposals will be put to Congress on Wednesday this week.
The theory has been raised and dismissed before, but an initial study by the Spanish meteorological agency AEMET and the Carlos III Health Institute indicates that there could be a link between weather conditions and the spread of COVID-19.
The results for the initial study were based on data collected from five regions of Spain – including the Balearics – between March 26th and April 5th, which found that the higher the temperature and humidity, the lower the incidence of spread of the virus.
AEMET and the Carlos III Health Institute will carry out more detailed analysis of each of Spain’s regions over the next few weeks. The joint study will also look at environmental factors that could be detrimental to identify risk areas and design strategies for diagnosis and prevention.
The Spanish Government published an extraordinary Official State Gazette today, stating how Spain’s autonomous communities should report the data relating to infections and deaths from coronavirus from now own. This follows controversy in recent days because of the disparate criteria used by each autonomous region to report their figures.
From now on, the data must include the total number of COVID-19 deaths since January 31st. The regions must also state the number of new cases confirmed by PCR tests, the number of patients admitted to hospitals or other health facilities caring for coronavirus patients and how many are in intensive care.
The data must also include the number of discharges from hospital and people being treated at home, and number of recoveries.
And on a weekly basis, the autonomous communities, National Institute of Health Management and all hospitals and health centres must advise how many stocks they hold of PPE and other equipment used in the treatment of patients.
Spain’s Ministry of Health announced this morning that there had been an increase of 5,252 confirmed cases in the past 24 hours, bringing the total for Spain to 188,068.
On our sister island of Menorca, there are just five patients receiving intensive care treatment, at the Mateu Orfila Hospital in Mahon. This a 50 per cent reduction on the number there a week ago. The hospital has an additional seven inpatients on the ward; one was discharged on Wednesday and is now being monitored by the COVID-19 mobile unit, known as UVAC. This unit of a doctor, nurse, and driver is also monitoring 23 other people who are ill at home.
Calvia town hall’s Institute for Training and Employment (IFOC) has set up a new service to support the self-employed, who can use it to find out about measures to help during the coronavirus crisis.
The service can be accessed by phone or email. The phone number (971 13 46 13) is operational Monday to Friday, from 08:00-15:00h and the email address is email@example.com.
A specific website with information about the different aids and measures available for self-employed workers has also been set up:
According to the committee for the management of infectious diseases, a situation of ‘zero transmission’ of coronavirus in the Balearics could be reached by next week. Spokesman Dr Javier Arranz explained that this wouldn’t mean ‘zero contagion’ and no new cases, but that infections would be specific to people in places such as care homes and health centres, rather than in the general population.
Arranz reported that work is under way to increase rapid detection to distinguish between those who have respiratory symptoms and those who don’t, to identify people most susceptible to virus transmission.
Meliá Hotels International is to give 10,000 two-night hotel stays to health professionals fighting the pandemic, it announced yesterday.
The Mallorcan hotel company currently has 13 hotels that have been repurposed for medical use or essential services in Europe – 11 in Spain, one in Luxemburg, and another in the UK.
They’re offering the two-night stays for two people at any of their hotels, to be taken once the pandemic ends and their establishments have resumed activity at the chosen destination.
The booking campaign starts today and runs for the next 10 days, with 2,000 hotel nights offered daily. Health workers who wish to apply for these free hotel stays, must complete a form on the melia.com website, and show their college accreditation or that of the health facilities at which they work, on check in at the hotel reserved. Ten per cent of the roomnights will go to the health professionals directly involved in the Melia Group hotels being used as medical facilities.
Executive vice president of Meliá Hotels International, Gabriel Escarrer Jaume, said the company wanted to offer health professionals a well-deserved rest in one of their hotels once the pandemic is over.
Spain’s Ministry of Health announced the latest COVID-19 statistics for the country at this morning’s media briefing.
In the Balearics:
The purchase of foodstuffs for Spanish homes, in the first week of April, increased by 22 per cent year on year. That’s according to the latest statistics from the Ministry for Agriculture, Fishing, and Food. There have been significant increases in the purchase of fresh fruit, vegetables, fresh and processed meats, and flour for home baking.
During the first few weeks of lockdown, Spanish citizens bought mainly essential foodstuffs, but there’s since been an average increase of around 50 per cent on products such as wine, beer, spirits, bars of chocolate, snacks, and nuts.
With restaurants and bars closed, the people of Spain are dedicating more time to cooking, but the purchase of ready-prepared meals was also up 23 per cent in the first week of April this year, compared to last.
In the Balearics, the average year-on-year increase in food and drink purchases in the four weeks to April the 5th was 23 per cent.
Across Spain, online shopping has gone up by 84 per cent in the past couple of weeks.
Menorca’s Sant Joan fiesta will not be going ahead in June. The midsummer event, which attracts around 30,000 visitors to the island, has been postponed – although alternative possibilities are to be discussed tomorrow in a video conference between Ciudadella’s mayor, Joana Gomila, and the fiesta’s president Borja Saura.
Coronavirus is the cause of another cancelled event in Mallorca. The 2020 Palma International Boat Show and Palma Superyacht Show was originally due to open at the end of this month but was postponed to early June because of the lockdown. The organisers have now called off this year’s event because of optimal safety concerns for their exhibitors and visitors. The 2021 nautical show will revert to their usual timing, to coincide with the May bank holiday.
There’ll be no mass testing for coronavirus for now, according to the regional health minister, Patricia Gómez. Instead, a representative sample of the population will be tested to see how the virus is distributed.
Although three different testing techniques have been made available, the one for antigens didn’t work, and the PCR (polymerase chain reaction) technique is the most reliable of the other two. Gómez said that a new technique will be available to the health service within three to four weeks.
Three people have been fined for being in the sea during the lockdown. A couple in their 50s received sanctions for skinny dipping in Puerto Pollensa late evening. In Portals Vells a Guardia Civil sub-aquatics group doing coastal surveillance work came across a man in a wetsuit – who was also fined.
The Ministry of Health released today’s statistics relating to COVID-19 at this morning’s daily media briefing.
Spain as a whole:
In the Balearics:
Only around half of construction workers and a quarter of industry sector workers went back to work yesterday in the Balearics. It’s alleged that some companies failed to comply with proper protection measures for their workers.
Workers are obliged to have their temperature taken, wear a mask, and fill in a health form. Balearics transport minister Marc Pons met with representatives from businesses, unions, and professional colleges to remind them of Government rules – including shifts for meals, keeping records of everyone entering their buildings, and the need for designated cleaning areas.
Spain’s Ministry of Health has issued cleaning recommendations to help prevent coronavirus coming into our homes.
The Spanish president, Pedro Sánchez, is to request authorisation for another extension to the state of alarm. This would take the lockdown period to May 10th, from the current date of April 26th. During the last vote in Congress, Sánchez said he was convinced it would be necessary for a further extension.
The latest proposal will be debated in Congress next Wednesday.
An exemption for airport taxes in the Balearics, once the coronavirus crisis is over, is one of the measures that the islands’ federation for small-to-medium-sized businesses – PIMEM – is calling for from the Spanish government.
Another measure would be the introduction of a 30 € fare for plane and ferry travel between the Peninsula and the islands, to promote tourism this summer. A similar arrangement exists in Italy, for travel from Rome and Milan to Sardinia.
The coronavirus figures released at today’s media briefing showed that Spain had:
In the Balearics:
Some 90 per cent of the active positive cases of COVID-19 in the Balearics are those working in the health or social-care sectors (most exposed to the virus), or vulnerable elderly people living in residential homes.
On Good Friday, the health department and council took over the direct control of two private residential homes for the elderly – Oasis and DomusVi – which had a total of 180 cases of the virus, seven victims of which had died. A total of 48 care workers at these two homes have been infected.
With the end of total lockdown for thousands working in construction and manufacturing, Mallorca’s roads this morning were busy with traffic once again as people returned to work.
From dawn this morning, Police, Guardia Civil, and Civil Protection personnel handed out face masks at strategic points in Palma and at public transport stations all over the island.
The Government has provided more than 200,000 single-use masks for public transport workers and those in environments where social distancing is impossible.
The coronavirus figures released yesterday at Easter Monday’s media briefing showed that Spain had:
In the Balearics:
Today and tomorrow, 240,000 face masks are being distributed in the Balearics. In Palma, masks will be handed out at the busiest EMT bus stops – including Plaça de la Reina, Plaça de Espanya and outside the large El Corte Inglés on the Avenidas.
The Balearics now have 3.4 million masks, but the government is trying to obtain more. President Francina Armengol said that an agreement has been reached to supply pharmacies with masks, via the pharmacy distribution service.
One of the charitable organisations in the Balearics that’s authorised to provide help during the COVID-19 crisis is Age Concern Mallorca. Their volunteers can now travel around to help English-speaking members of the community.
These volunteers can help with matters such as shopping, doctor’s appointments, accessing government help, or simply providing some company for elderly people who are alone.
If you know anyone who’d find such services useful, contact Age Concern Mallorca by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
And a good news story to end this bulletin: an elderly married couple has recovered from COVID-19 and returned to their home. Josefa, aged 81, and her husband Toni (79) were admitted to Son Espases at the same time with severe pneumonia brought on by the virus. The couple spent 18 days sharing a room in the hospital and were together throughout their treatment.
Staff at the hospital gave the couple a warm farewell as they left the hospital together.
The Spanish prime minister, Pedro Sánchez, sought approval from Congress this morning to extend the state of alarm until April 26th – a further two weeks.
Sánchez said the priority was ‘not letting our guard down’. The prime minister also called on other parties to secure support for a national recovery pact. He reiterated his proposal for a Moncloa Pact – a cross party consensus such as the pacts formed in the 1970s to address inflation and unemployment, as Spain transitioned from dictatorship to democracy.
Sánchez also promised that there would be a State Tribute to all those who had died as a result of COVID-19, once the worst of the pandemic has been overcome.
Spain’s Ministry of Health announced the latest COVID-19 stats this morning.
Women who are being subject to abuse in the home can get help, by visiting their local pharmacy. Using a special codeword will prompt staff to call the police, who’ll come to the pharmacy to speak to the victim, before taking appropriate action. The codeword to use is Mascarilla-19 or Mascareta-19.
The mayor of Palma, José Hila, yesterday announced further town hall measures to reactivate the city’s economy and ‘strengthen social policies.’
The sum of one million euros is to be provided for the retail and trade sector. Bars and restaurants will be exempt from the terrace tax until the end of the year. Exemptions are also being made for news-kiosk taxes and for filming in the city.
Social policies – with particular attention to domestic violence victims – will benefit from 1.96m euros, coming from the Balearic government and Council of Mallorca.
Tourism promotion spend for Palma and Playa de Palma is being doubled to 300K euros.
The president of Mallorca’s restaurants association, Alfonso Robledo, is calling for more help for the sector, than just eliminating the terrace tax until the end of the year.
One estimate suggests that 40 per cent of bars, cafes, and restaurants, could go once the immediate crisis passes, because of the absence of tourists.
The association is calling for the suspension of all municipal taxes and for the town hall and tourism ministry to develop a tourism recovery promotional plan.
On Tuesday this week, police arrested nine people for breaking the lockdown regulations. One of those detained– a man who’d previously been sanctioned for ‘serious disobedience’ – was in Alcúdia.
The other eight arrests were in Palma – and for seven of those detained it was not the first time they’d been sanctioned.
Spain’s Ministry of Health announced today’s official coronavirus figures:
The numbers of patients in intensive care were incomplete, as not all regions had reported up-to-date figures.
In the Balearics:
Up to yesterday, 204 healthcare professionals had tested positive and 390 were being monitored.
Fifty-seven per cent of the active coronavirus cases in Spain are either healthcare workers or nursing home residents. Members of the Armed Forces are disinfecting nursing homes and other critical facilities every day, with teams of five military personnel at each one responsible for the three-phase cleaning.
The Spanish Ministry of Health estimates that more than 90 per cent of COVID-19 cases have not been registered, with many experts agreeing that the true figure is much higher than the official one.
A mass-testing campaign will begin in Spain next week, to get a more realistic picture of the spread of the virus and help combat it. The plan – designed by the Carlos III Health Institute – is to test around 30,000 families in a three-week campaign, according to Spain’s health minister Salvador Illa.
Meanwhile, only 1.2 per cent of Balearic residents have so far been tested.
If you’d like a change from cooking at home, or prefer to buy items from local businesses, home-delivery services are growing in number – especially in the Palma area.
Restaurants offering a special menu of dishes for home-delivery include Botànic at Can Bordoy Grand House & Garden, Bahía Mediterráneo, Restaurante Mola, and Infineathai. You can also have traditional baked Easter goods delivered in Palma by the bakery Fornet de la Soca.
Expect increased traffic controls this week and over the Easter holiday – during the night as well as the daytime. Additional patrols are being made all over Spain, although the traffic directorate reports that the amount of traffic last Sunday was 90 per cent less than usual.
Another consignment of sanitary equipment from Spain’s Ministry of Health arrived in Palma on Monday for health service use. The latest cargo arrived by commercial flight from Barcelona, and consisted of more than 1.5 million surgical masks, 5,000 protective personnel screens, and 10,500 rapid tests for antibodies.
The equipment will be distributed across the Balearics from Son Espases hospital.
The 45 public primary care health centres across Mallorca will be open from 8 AM until 8 PM, tomorrow, Good Friday and Easter Monday. Saturday and Easter Sunday hours will be the same as last weekend.
Midwives, auxiliary nurses, case managers, and primary care pharmacists will be working as normal.
The updated figures relating to coronavirus in Spain have been released this morning:
In the Balearics:
The growth rate of coronavirus in the Balearics is the lowest in Spain – that’s according to the National Institute of Epidemiology’s data.
During the first week of the emergency measures, the number of cases diagnosed in the Balearics was around 100 a day; last week diagnosed cases fell to about 60 a day. There’s also been a notable decrease in cases diagnosed over the past two weekends.
More than 80 per cent of people who tested positive for COVID-19 have been hospitalised, with the remainder treated at home.
The Balearics have now received 18,000 rapid test kits for the virus, although how they’ll be used isn’t yet known.
A collaborative effort, involving more than one hundred people, led by a team of ten municipal technicians has resulted in the new online resource Palma Stop COVID-19 – a portal offering a wide range of information for the public and private organizations during the crisis.
The site brings together official information from the City Council, the Government, and resources such as maps of establishments that are open or offering a home delivery service. It also includes data about the number of cases and links to other relevant websites.
Today is World Health Day – a day to celebrate the work of nurses and midwives and remind world leaders of the critical role these health workers play, particularly during the current pandemic. Today marks the launch of the first-ever State of the World’s Nursing Report 2020, providing a global picture of the nursing workforce and setting out the agenda for investment in the health workforce for generations to come.
The Playa de Palma hoteliers’ association is calling for exemption from municipal taxes, as a means of support when they re-open after the crisis. They’re demanding that Palma and Llucmajor town halls waive – rather than defer – the business activity tax, rates, rubbish tax, water rates, and the charge for reserved space on the public byway.
Mallorca’s world-famous shoe company, Camper, is turning its manufacturing efforts from shoes to supplies, in the fight against coronavirus. They’re using their 3D printers to produce face-protection screens for health personnel and await official authorisation to start production of parts for ventilators.
Camper has also donated shoes to hospitals on the island, including pairs of slippers for patients from their Casa Camper hotels in Berlin and Barcelona. The Mallorcan company has also put the iPads from their stores at the disposal of hospitals, so that patients can communicate with their families.
Although this isn’t the usual Semana Santa, the long Easter weekend is almost upon us. If you’re planning your shopping trip for this week, supermarkets will be open on Thursday and Saturday, but closed on Good Friday, Easter Sunday and Easter Monday.
Speaking of supermarkets, Carrefour is to pay an extra 200 euros to its workers for their efforts during the coronavirus crisis and is increasing their employees’ discount from eight to 16 per cent.
The Spanish Ministry of Health announced the latest figures relating to coronavirus this morning:
In the Balearics:
The president of CAEB – the Confederation of Business Associations of the Balearics – is calling for the suspension of IVA (VAT), personal income tax, and social security payments, with the extension of the lockdown period. Carmen Planas pointed out the urgency of adopting new fiscal measures to prevent further deterioration of the economic situation and said that liquidity mechanisms for companies should also be expedited.
Patients in Palma’s Son Llátzer hospital and in the temporary Palma Bay facility can now follow an exercise video, designed to teach breathing techniques and ways to activate joints and muscles when confined to bed.
The video is part of a general rehabilitation programme, which is broadcast on the hospitals’ internal TV network. The Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Service designed these exercises for patients who are in a stable clinical situation, to minimize the complications of being sedentary whilst in hospital. Medical staff are responsible for authorising patients to follow the video programme, which lasts six minutes and is broadcast on a loop.
The official figures for Spain, announced yesterday morning, stand at 130,759 confirmed cases of the virus, with 6,861 in intensive care. 12,418 people have died, but 38,080 have now recovered.
In the Balearics, cases now number 1,293, with 120 people receiving intensive care. 75 people have died and 461 have recovered.
Spain’s Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez announced on Saturday that the government plans to extend the state of alert until April the 26th. The proposed extension though does not apply to the emergency decree which suspended all non-essential jobs until this coming Thursday. This means that non-public-facing sectors will be able to work again after Easter.
Sánchez needs the approval of Spain’s Congress and contacted regional leaders yesterday to ask for their support. The Spanish Cabinet will meet tomorrow and the extension measure is likely to face a congressional vote on Thursday.
In a teleconference yesterday morning, Prime Minister Sánchez asked the autonomous communities to prepare a list of possible places to accommodate people who have tested positive for COVID-19 but are asymptomatic, so that they can avoid passing the virus to their families. The list should be made by this Good Friday, with suitable infrastructures – such as hotels, hostels, and sports centres – for isolating infected people without symptoms. Sánchez also told the regional presidents that he would be sharing out a million tests over the next week.
Expect more street and vehicle checks across the Balearics from today, after a rise in the number of people breaking the confinement measures. On Wednesday alone, there were 620 sanctions.
Across the Balearics, the National Police, Guardia Civil, and Local Police forces will be extending the road and street controls to ensure that the restrictions introduced for the state of alert are being met.
The Government has reminded people that shopping should not be used as an excuse to go out and trips for shopping should be limited to those necessary.
On Wednesday, agents of the law operated more than 400 controls on roads across the islands.
In the space of the past two days, a further seven arrests have been made in Palma for not complying with the lockdown requirements.
A 31-year-old man walking along a street with three other people was detained – having been reported on three other occasions for disobeying the state of alert restrictions.
A 24-year-old man – shopping with his partner – was caught by the National Police, after reacting violently to a security guard’s request to observe safety measures.
Another male detainee claimed he was out shopping but had no bags or shopping with him.
Two couples were also arrested: one in their 50s, walking around Palma without good reason – although they were from one of the villages and not the capital; a man a woman in their thirties were also walking around and drinking on Carrer General Riera.
The number of coronavirus deaths across Spain has increased to 10,003, with 950 deaths in the past 24 hours – according to the latest figures from the Ministry of Health today. The number of infected people has risen by more than 8,000 in the past 24 hours to 110,238. 6,092 patients are in intensive care, and 26,743 people have now recovered.
In the Balearics, there are now 1,204 confirmed cases; 105 patients are receiving intensive care. Fifty-eight people in the Balearics have died from the virus, but 239 have now recovered.
The coronavirus crisis could lead to a decrease of almost 41 per cent in tourism GDP in the Balearics this year – amounting to more than 6,000 million euros. That’s according to EXCELTUR, Spain’s Alliance for Excellence in Tourism.
Their calculations are founded on studies by various institutions and the expectation that current restrictions will continue until the end of May. The loss of tourism GDP in the Balearics is expected to be the highest in Spain, ahead of Catalonia, Valencia, Andalusia, Madrid, and the Canaries.
News for Calvià residents now: the voluntary period for paying municipal taxes, such as rates and rubbish, has been changed. It was originally June 1st until August 16th but has now changed to July 1st until November the 15th.
Calvià’s town hall has set up a competition to find the municipality’s most talented residents. The competition Talent Calvià is open to everyone in the municipality and offers a variety of cash prizes.
Those who have a talent – singing, juggling, poetry, painting, music, gymnastics, or whatever – are invited to make a video of themselves in action, lasting no more than three minutes. The closing date for entries is April the 6th. Find full details on the website https://bit.ly/2ycfEDa
The National Police have warned the public about a new phishing scam, at a time when there’s been an enormous increase in internet usage. Their cybercrime specialists have escalated their surveillance and monitoring, to identify scams.
The latest warning is of people pretending to be from Amazon, claiming that customers’ accounts have been blocked for security reasons, because illegal access has been detected. The message from the scammers could look official and includes an Amazon logo and the sender address of email@example.com The National Police say you should not click on any links referred to in the email, as the scammers will then gain access to your data and the bank card linked to your Amazon account.
The Balearic Government’s health department has created a new COVID-express unit for taking sample collections in the Llevant area. The testing is for health and socio-health professionals, special services such as security etc, and groups most vulnerable to the virus – who have been previously identified by the Ministry of Health.
The new COVID-express unit’s operation started yesterday in Manacor, based in the car park of the Miquel Àngel Nadal sports centre. Those who are tested do not have to get out of their cars.
If keeping children entertained and educated is proving to be a challenge, the Miró Foundation has come up with a fun way to help them get involved in art and culture.
During the lockdown, the Miró Foundation has launched an online programme for every Wednesday and Friday to inspire children to make things with household materials, use their imaginations, make sculptural portraits, and do drawings which they can share on social media.
Spain’s official statistics, announced at the daily media briefing this morning, show that the country has 102,136 confirmed cases, with 5,872 in intensive care. 9,053 people have lost their lives to the virus, but 22,647 have now recovered.
In the Balearics, there are now 1,131 confirmed cases, with 95 people in an ICU. Forty-six people have died, but 170 have recovered.
The regional agriculture, fisheries, and food ministry’s aid action plan for the agricultural sector on the islands includes the availability of 200K euros of financial support for the producers of lamb, suckling pig, and kid. The funding will cover the period up to the end of May. It’s expected to mean that consumers will pay a price reduced by one euro per kilo, on average. The main objective is to incentivise buying local products, by offering very competitive prices.
The Policia Local in Palma is appealing to citizens NOT to contact them to request birthday greetings outside the homes of children celebrating their birthdays. The local police in Palma don’t have the resources to offer this and ask for your understanding in this matter.
Yesterday the Policia Local de Palma undertook carried out 52 controls, checked the identities of 691 people outdoors, and the details of 935 vehicles.
The Save the Med Foundation educational team has developed a digital version of their popular Dos Manos Schools programme – available now to anyone who’d like to engage their children in the topic of plastic pollution.
The Dos Manos Digital Package is free of charge and aimed at students aged 14 and above but can be adapted to younger kids too. It’s available online in English, Spanish, and Catalan, and includes an educational video, student workbook, Q’s & A’s and more.
To take advantage of this material, see the Save the Med website’s News page to download what you need.
New measures to offer security and protection to everyone facing the negative impact of the coronavirus crisis, were announced yesterday in the Spanish government’s weekly Cabinet meeting.
The measures cover rented accommodation, with no evictions allowed; after the State of Alert ends, evictions will be suspended for six months. There will also be a six-month extension to rental contracts for any habitual place of residence, to prevent excessive rent increases.
The moratorium on mortgage payments is being extended to three months for those who have lost jobs or suffered a reduction in income. The moratorium also applies now to the self-employed.
Cuts to energy and water supplies at a habitual place of residence are prohibited while the state of emergency is in force. Social tariffs are to be extended to workers affected by lay-offs or self-employed people whose work has ceased. There’s to be a moratorium on payment for utilities for the self-employed and small-to-medium-sized businesses.
An exceptional subsidy will be available for temporary workers whose contracts expire during this current situation and who aren’t entitled to unemployment benefit.
Measures are being introduced to protect women at risk of becoming domestic violence victims. These include being able to seek refuge in tourist accommodation during the State of Alert.
And finally, the Government announced a six-month moratorium on social security contribution payments by the self-employed and businesses.
Seven people who breached the lockdown regulations in the Balearics were detained by police on Monday.
Local police arrested a man in Marratxi who was on the streets with no justifiable reason and refused to go home. A driver in Alcúdia was arrested by the Guardia Civil for not complying with regulations and being under the influence of alcohol. The National Police arrested a total of four people in Palma during the day, and a 19-year-old male in Ibiza – who said he was going to a friend’s house. Some of those detained had previously broken the restrictions.
The Spanish government announced the latest coronavirus statistics at this morning’s daily media briefing. The number of confirmed cases in Spain now stands at 94,417, with 5,607 in intensive care units. 8,189 people have died from the virus, and 19,259 have recovered.
In the Balearics, the number of confirmed cases stands at 1,069 and 85 people are currently receiving intensive care. There have now been 42 deaths, but 111 people have recovered.
More than half of the beds in the eight intensive care units in the Balearic Islands are under pressure because of the new cases of the virus being diagnosed every day.
Patients in ICU generally spend two to three weeks there and even when the rate of infection slows down, the ICU will continue to be affected. The Meliá Palma Bay hotel has been repurposed as a temporary hospital and is receiving its first patients today. Should it become necessary, eight units of 25 beds and 24 extra intensive care units could be made available within a couple of days, by adapting the Palau de Congressos.
The Spanish government is considering a moratorium on social security contributions by self-employed workers and some small-and-medium-sized businesses. It’s reported that the Ministry for the Economy has approved the initiative and it’s now being considered the Minister for Social Security, José Luis Escrivá. The financial implications for the government are being reviewed today at the weekly Cabinet meeting and approval could be fast-tracked.
At the same meeting today, the government will also consider a moratorium on mortgage payments for business premises and is expected to discuss new measures to help struggling tenants pay their rent, and financial relief for temporary workers who are currently ineligible for unemployment benefits.
Another planeload of protective sanitary material arrived in Mallorca yesterday, arranged by the Balearic Government. The latest delivery came on a Russian cargo plane, which had flown from Shanghai. The 17-ton cargo included more than half a million masks, millions of disposable gloves, protective glasses, gowns, and antibacterial gel.
The iconic tram service connecting Sóller with its port, yesterday made its last journey during the lockdown. The Ferrocarril de Sóller suspended its operations between Palma and Sóller from the start of the State of Alert.
The Mallorcan hotel group Iberostar has closed all its hotels around the world. The temporary closure during the coronavirus pandemic affects 120 4- and 5-star establishments and 34,000 employees.
The traditional bakeries of the Balearics are facing a critical situation. Sales are reported to have fallen by 85% – although, as an essential business sector, they’re still open and providing a service. Many bakeries are adapting their products and hours of operation to suit the current situation, but it seems that people are buying their baked goods – or the ingredients to make them at home – from supermarkets.
The Balearics association of bakers and pâtissiers has communicated to their members the need to adopt strict protocols for security, hygiene, and social distancing, to guarantee the safety of their workers and customers.
AGAMA, the Mallorcan company producing dairy goods, is asking islanders to consume more 0km products during this time of confinement.
More than 65% of AGAMA’s sales are to bars, restaurants, and hotels – which are currently closed. The firm says that the situation is not only affecting their sales, but also the day-to-day life of the farms and those who run them. AGAMA’s products include whole, semi-skimmed, and skimmed UHT milk and whole and semi-skimmed fresh milk, as well as the chocolate milk drink, Laccao.
The Local Police and Civil Protection in the municipality of Andratx are set to make things a little more fun for children who have birthdays during the lockdown.
They will come to sing happy birthday outside the child’s home on the appropriate date. If you know a child in the Andratx municipality with a birthday coming up, send a WhatsApp to 663 25 03 88, giving the name of the boy or girl, the date of their birthday, their age, and their home address.
Today’s official coronavirus statistics were released by Spain’s Ministry for Health this morning. The country now has 85,195 confirmed cases of the virus, with 5,231 in intensive care. There have been 7,340 deaths, but 16,780 have recovered. Spain has more confirmed cases than China, and the third largest number – behind America and Italy.
The Balearics now have 1,000 confirmed cases, with 80 patients receiving intensive care. The total number of deaths stands at 36, according to the Balearic Government, although Spain’s Ministry for Health reported the figure today as 37. The latest victims were all aged 80 or over, with pre-existing conditions. One hundred people have recovered.
The director of the Centre for Co-ordination of Alerts and Emergencies, Fernando Simón, was not at the media conference this morning, having himself tested positive for the virus. He’s awaiting confirmation following a second test.
Palma’s airport may be like a ghost town, but there are still strict measures in force to stop anyone entering Mallorca without being checked. Only one entrance and one exit door per floor are in use and all arrivals are concentrated in one area. The airport’s chief inspector, José María Velasco, says only about four or five flights a day – with few passengers – are still arriving.
All passengers must complete a questionnaire and answer questions about any signs or symptoms of the virus. Passengers without any evidence of it face a second round of questions from the police to verify their identity and justify their force majeure reasons for having travelled.
Anyone with symptoms is interviewed in a closed room and will be accompanied home to remain in isolation, with the Health Department being notified.
There are fears that almost a third of vehicle-hire businesses in the Balearics could go bankrupt because of the current crisis. There are currently 270 companies that are members of one of two associations in the rental vehicle sector, and some 70,000 hire cars in the Balearics. It’s reported that companies are negotiating the return of vehicles to dealers and manufacturers, because of the lack of tourism due to the crisis.
All non-essential work has been suspended until Thursday, April 9th – a period of eight working days. The Spanish cabinet yesterday approved this latest crisis measure, announced by Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez in a televised address to the nation on Saturday. It’s a bid to help stop the coronavirus spreading and ease the pressure on Spain’s intensive care units.
The latest measures restrict movement for work purposes in all sectors, except: foodstuffs, pharmaceuticals, healthcare, veterinarians, opticians, hygiene products, the media, fuels for the automotive sector, tobacconists, IT and telecommunications retailers, pet food, internet, and dry cleaners. Banks will also remain operational, while motor mechanics will continue to offer a service to the freight sector, but not the general public.
A system of ‘recoverable paid leave’ for non-essential workers affected by this latest restriction will be introduced, whereby employers must guarantee full payment, while employees will have to make up the time.
Figures released by the health ministry yesterday showed that there were 78,797 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the whole of Spain. 6,528 people have died with the highest increase in one day since the crisis began. 4,907 are in intensive care, but 14,709 people have recovered.
In the Balearics, there were five corona-related deaths on Saturday – the highest figure in one day so far – and a man in his 80s with pre-existing medical conditions passed away in Palma yesterday. Thirty-two people have now died in the Balearics, where the total number of confirmed cases stands at 958.
The world’s first internet funeral took place in Mallorca last week. The ceremony was led by trained funeral celebrant Glynis German – known well to Mallorca Sunshine Radio listeners for her contributions to the station.
The pandemic has affected the way funerals can be carried out in Mallorca, with ceremonies now restricted to a duration of just 15 minutes and ten or fewer attendees.
Glynis organised and conducted the online ceremony in co-ordination with staff at the Bon Sosec crematorium. However, she officiated from her home on the island – enabled by the Internet and Zoom technology. This meant that family members from as far away as the USA and the UK were able to be part of the ceremony, saying goodbye to their loved one.
The latest official figures relating to coronavirus were released this morning.
The number of confirmed cases across Spain now stands at 64,059, with 4,165 people receiving intensive care. 4,858 people have lost their lives to the virus, but 9,357 have now recovered.
In the Balearics, there are now 755 confirmed cases, with 46 in an ICU. The total deaths from COVID-19 now stand at 25. Three men who had tested positive for the virus died in Son Espases hospital last night. One was aged 70, the others were in their early 80s; all had pre-existing health conditions. Sixty-seven people have now recovered – an increase of 28 in the past 24 hours.
The Balearic Goverment has conducted almost 6,000 controls at Balearic ports and airports since air-and-maritime traffic was restricted on Thursday, the 19th of March.
Only one person showed symptoms entering the port of Palma and none of the 67 checks made in the port of Alcúdia found anyone symptomatic. Twenty airline passengers – 19 in Palma and one in Ibiza – arrived with apparent symptoms.
Less than one per cent of all arrivals presented with symptoms compatible with COVID-19 and they were placed immediately in isolation.
Protur Hotels has donated mattress covers to Sant Llorenc town hall, which will be used by locals to make face masks.
Calvià town hall is looking for 40 volunteers to make masks at home, with the aid of an online tutorial. They will provide the material and collect the finished masks from volunteers. If you’re interested, see the Ajuntament de Calvià Facebook page and send them a private message, including your name, telephone number, and address.
It was announced at lunchtime that Britain’s prime minister Boris Johnson has tested positive for the coronavirus. He has mild symptoms, is self-isolating in Downing Street, and is well enough to keep working remotely, using technology. Should he become unable to work, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab would step into his shoes.
Thirty-seven per cent of all people who’ve died from coronavirus in Spain so far have been elderly inhabitants of residential homes. The worst affected region is Madrid, where more than a thousand people were living in homes. In the Balearics one person from a residential home has lost their life to the virus.
The Balearics have received just over 99K face masks from Spain’s Ministry of Health – part of the countrywide distribution of more than six million masks. Another five-and-a-half million masks will be arriving in Spain in the next days.
The farming and fishing sectors are to receive financial aid from the regional Agriculture, Fisheries, and Food Ministry, following the announcement of a 1.85 million euros package.
Farmers have been negatively affected by the current crisis, because hotels, bars, and restaurants are closed.
Four hundred thousand euros will go to livestock farmers; 250,000 to dairy farmers, and 600,000 euros to fruit and vegetable growers. The aid will enable these sectors to continue the supply of food for the public.
A fall in demand and prices has also affected the fishing industry; the ministry is allocating 400,000 euros to Palma’s fish market – La Llotja – to ensure fishermen can continue to work.
The series of measures will continue until June.
Two world-famous athletes have come together to start a fundraising campaign for the Red Cross Responds project, to help those in Spain who are most affected by the current pandemic.
Tennis supremo Rafa Nadal and his friend, basketball player Pau Gasol – who’s played for teams including the Chicago Bulls and LA Lakers – plan to unite all athletes in their country to help raise eleven million euros for the fund.
On social media, Rafa Nadal admitted he was ‘feeling the impact of the pandemic’ and wanted to contribute his ‘grain of sand’.
After a long debate, parliament has approved an extension to the state of alert – including the current lockdown measures – until April the 12th, a further 15 days.
Health minister, Salvador Illa said that the government has ordered 432 million euros worth of masks, gloves, and testing kits from China.
The latest coronavirus statistics, release this morning, show that Spain now has 56,188 confirmed cases; 3,679 patients are in intensive care. Fatalities have reached 4,089, but 7,015 have recovered.
In the Balearics, there are now 660 confirmed cases and 22 people have now died. The latest three deaths were a woman of 80 years, a man of 65 years (who had cancer), and a woman of almost 90 (with a previous health condition).
Forty-three are in intensive care and 39 people have recovered.
Farmers in the Sóller Valley are finding a market for their fresh produce. The European demand for their products saw 40 tons of oranges alone sent to Germany last week, along with other farm products.
The initiative Fet a Sóller – set up by Franz Kraus some years ago – is also exporting jams and olive oils, and demand is said to be similar to that over the Christmas season. Fet a Sóller is the main outlet for orange production in the valley and purchases, on average, 40 per cent of the fruit from the Sant Bartomeu Co-operative and other producers.
The Council of Mallorca is today launching a global tourism campaign, designed to thank loyal visitors to the island and remind them that there’ll be a warm welcome awaiting them when the coronavirus crisis is over. The campaign for the slogan is #SeeyousoonMallorca.
The Melia Palma Bay hotel is ready to take up to 35 patients from today, if it becomes necessary. Medical professionals from Son Llàtzer hospital will manage the facility. Only the first floor rooms have been prepared so far, but another seven floors of rooms will provide a maximum of 250 beds.
The Melia Palma Bay is the first hotel to be repurposed to accommodate COVID-19 patients or those showing symptoms of corona. Three additional hotels – one in Mallorca, the others in Menorca and Ibiza – could potentially be used in a similar way and their suitability to take patients is being evaluated.
The Balearic Government said that the public and private health sectors on the islands have sufficient capacity at the moment to deal with the needs of their patients; the repurposing of hotels was a precaution in case health facilities became stretched by the number of corona patients.
Over the past two days, 135,000 masks of three different types have been distributed to hospitals, health centres, and central and social health services across the Balearics. More than a thousand surgical gowns also arrived yesterday. More deliveries are expected in the coming days.
Three people in Mallorca were arrested on Tuesday for not complying with the emergency measures in place. One man had been alarming customers in a supermarket and, when the police found him, he provided false identity and was arrested for disobedience. On the same day, a man on a bicycle insulted officers when he was stopped and questioned, then pushed one of the officers. The man was arrested for disobedience and assault. The third man was practising sport and had already been fined twice on Monday; his third infringement resulted in him being arrested.
The three forces of the law are continuing their controls on main roads across the Balearics and checked more than 4,000 vehicles on Tuesday alone.
Since the State of Alarm was announced in Spain, there have been more than 900 arrests for disobeying the lockdown orders, according to Spain’s Interior Minister, Fernando Grande-Marlaska. A court in Santa Cruz de Tenerife has handed down a four-month prison sentence to one man.
Public hospitals in the Balearics have reserved almost a thousand beds for patients with, or who are suspected of having, COVID-19.
The hospitals are Son Espases (which has the greatest number – 253) and Son Llàtzer in Palma, and those in Inca, Manacor, Mahon, and Ibiza town.
All patients with possible coronavirus, who are awaiting the results of tests, are being put into individual rooms. It’s expected that non-urgent surgery will reduce this week, but urgent surgery and services such as oncology will be maintained. Surgery and obstetrics patients will be in a specific area of each hospital.
In addition, all the hospitals involved are reinforcing their workforce by hiring a total of 182 additional professionals, including doctors, nurses, auxiliaries, caretakers, and cleaning staff. The emergency departments will be separated into two areas: one for patients with respiratory symptoms and the other for other cases.
The public health system across the Balearics also has the facilities of eight private healthcare providers available to them, if necessary.
Spain now has 47,610 confirmed cases of coronavirus, with 3,166 patients in intensive care. Deaths across the country have reached 3,434, but 5,367 people have now recovered.
In the Balearics, there are now 562 confirmed cases; 40 patients are in intensive care; 21 people have lost their lives, but 15 have recovered.
The proposal to extend the State of Emergency until April the 12th was approved by the Spanish Cabinet yesterday and will be debated by Congress today.
The Cabinet also agreed to lift the ban on flights from Italy – but only for Spanish citizens and residents of Spain. Quarantine will be compulsory for anyone flying in from an Italian airport.
Spain’s Armed Forces have asked for international help in fighting the coronavirus pandemic, which is expanding in Spain at a faster rate than in Italy. NATO’s Euro-Atlantic Disaster Response Co-ordination Center received the request from the Ministry of Defence to supply humanitarian assistance to Spain.
Fatalities from coronavirus in the Balearics have risen to 16, with three people having died in the private healthcare sector in Mallorca. The deceased ranged from 77 to 97 years of age.
Nursing homes in the Balearics are to be inspected and disinfected if necessary. Police and Guardia Civil officers are carrying out the task to prevent COVID-19 from developing as it has in similar establishments in Madrid.
The nuns of Palma’s Santa Clara Convent have turned their hands to sewing. The nuns have been sewing masks since last Friday afternoon, and had produced 700 of them by Monday.
Their masks are to be distributed amongst groups who need them to protect against coronavirus, such as residential homes, social dining rooms, centres for the disabled, and individuals who work with people who are in at-risk groups.
The Council contacted the convent to ask for help. The nuns started sewing on Friday afternoon and continued all day on Sunday and Monday – making 700 masks in the two and a half days. The nuns – of a closed order – are probably better known for their convent-baked biscuits and sweet treats.
The latest daily coronavirus statistics released this morning reveal that there are now 39,673 confirmed cases of COVID-19 across Spain. The total of deaths is 2,696 people. 2,636 patients are in intensive care and 3,794 have now recovered.
In the Balearics, confirmed cases now number 478. Twenty-eight people in four nursing homes or independent-living facilities are amongst those who have tested positive for coronavirus and been taken to hospital. Three people (aged 85, 70, and 33) have died since yesterday’s official figures were reported, bringing the total deaths to 13.
Thirty-five patients remain in intensive care, but 19 people have recovered in the Balearics.
Last week, Melia Hotels International was one of the hotel chains in Mallorca to announce that it would make its hotels available for use as temporary hospital accommodation. Now, the Palma 47 Infantry Regiment are preparing the Melia Palma Bay Hotel for future use. A total of 250 rooms will be available for the health service use.
The Balearics’ president, Francina Armengol, says there are currently no problems of bed shortages, and making this additional space ready is purely in anticipation of future needs. The Melia Palma Bay Hotel is next to the Palau Congressos in Palma and is the first hotel being prepared to take patients, because it meets IB-Salut’s conditions and size requirements.
A bar in Paguera has been fined for being open during the lockdown and serving customers. Residents of the resort denounced the bar in Carrer Palmira and, when police went to check, they found the bar owner and four customers drinking there. All were German and were fined for breaching the current lockdown measures, which say that bars must not be open.
Calvia police alone have issued more than 200 fines over the past week for infringements of the emergency measures.
One of Mallorca’s most popular music events has been postponed, because of the coronavirus crisis. The Mallorca Live Festival was due to take place on May 15th and 16th in Calvia and would have drawn thousands of fans beyond the island to see performers including the Pet Shop Boys, the Kaiser Chiefs, and Marilyn Manson.
The fifth edition of the Mallorca Live Festival is now planned for October this year.
Fifteen primary care health professionals in Mallorca are offering health consultations through social networks. The online consultation service – Atención Primera – was launched last Friday and has already attended to almost 500 queries on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
The 15 professionals are mainly family doctors, paediatricians, nurses, and midwives and are volunteering their services to respond to people who are at home, using the #APMallorca. The idea is to avoid increasing the pressure on health centres. To respect patient privacy and data protection, the virtual consultation must be done through a private message.
The online consultation service #APMallorca responds to queries between 8am and 8pm. For now, the health professionals responding to queries don’t have access to any patient’s medical history, but it’s hoped this will become possible.
Our friends, families and the rest of the population in the UK are waking up this morning to new restricted-movement measures, which became effective at midnight, to tackle the spread of coronavirus.
In a televised address, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that people can only leave their homes to travel to and from work (if they can’t work at home), shop for essentials, buy medicine, and care for vulnerable people. One exercise outing a day is allowed, alone or with one other household member.
All shops that don’t sell food and other vital supplies, libraries, playgrounds, tennis courts, outdoor gyms, and churches will be closed. The police will have powers to tackle gatherings of more than two people and issue fines for those who don’t stick to the new measures.
Spain’s National Police have taken to Twitter to quash a rumour that the Army is going to shut down supermarkets in the Balearics. The rumour has been spread by WhatsApp over recent days and caused a surge of panic buying this morning. The National Police ask citizens not to share hoax messages and only to trust information that comes from official sources.
The Ministry of Health has released today’s official statistics relating to the pandemic in Spain.
In the Balearics, there are now 400 confirmed cases, with 27 patients in intensive care; 18 people have now recovered, but ten have died.
The total confirmed cases in Spain amount to 33,089. Of these, 3,355 have recovered and 2,182 people have died. The Madrid area alone has almost ten thousand confirmed cases, with Catalonia and the Basque Country the next worst autonomous regions affected.
If you have a driving licence that’s due to expire during the State of Alert, there’s no need to worry. Spain’s Interior Ministry is extending the validity of these driving licences for a period of up to 60 days from their expiry date.
Spain’s prime minister Pedro Sánchez announced yesterday that he would ask Congress to extend the state of alert by another 15 days, from March 29th to April 12th. In a national address on Saturday night, he said that Spain was, “following the advice of international experts and applying the strategy of the World Health Organisation to win time needed to improve the resistance of our healthcare and so that science can find a vaccine.”
This weekend, more than 1.6 million face masks were distributed to all Spain’s autonomous regions.
The Spanish Agency for Medications has advised that authorisation of any vaccine for COVID-19 would be fast-tracked, without going through the conventional processes. At least four companies in Spain are supplying coronavirus tests and 640,000 tests in the international market have been purchased and are already being distributed in different areas of the country. These faster tests give results in 15 minutes.
Three more people have died from coronavirus in the Balearics. All three were men in their eighties, with underlying health conditions. Two of the deaths were in Palma and the third in Ibiza. This brings the total number of deaths to nine.
The total number of cases confirmed in yesterday’s briefing was 331 – an increase of 85 over the previous day. Of the confirmed cases, 17 people have recovered.
Forty-eight health professionals across the Balearics have tested positive for the virus. The Health Service’s measures include arranging rapid tests for health professionals and police and fire services personnel and putting in place psychological help for health workers.
More than 2,000 tests for COVID-19 have been done in the Balearics.
Anyone who needs to go to a health centre because they have symptoms of COVID-19 – or for any other reason – should first call either 902 079 079 or 971 437 079 for assistance.
An additional 50 lines have been put in place, as well as a virtual attention system through social networks. For URGENT attention, the number to use is still 061 – which has been strengthened with the addition of 60 people.
A British woman who arrived in Palma on Saturday was repatriated yesterday for not meeting the requirements of the State of Emergency. She was not a resident of the Balearics but had the keys of a friend’s house in Andratx, where she planned to stay for a while.
Two hundred and thirty-four people arrived at Palma Airport on Friday. A total of 2,361 left the island on scheduled flights.
Operation Gate – designed to stop people travelling to their second homes on the island – was carried out over the weekend. The Guardia Civil, National and Local police operated checkpoints on major roads.
If we have a second home on the island, we cannot travel to it and must remain in our main home – other than in exceptional cases. That’s the latest reminder from the Balearic Government, which has announced that the Guardia Civil will be increasing checkpoints across the islands – particularly on Fridays and over weekends – to ensure compliance with the State of Emergency measures. If we’re already in a second home, we must stay there to comply with the lockdown measures – or face fines of between 600 and 3,000 euros.
Palma City Council is extending the deadline for paying vehicle tax by a month and a half, with the aim of helping those whose income has dropped as a result of the pandemic. In addition, restaurants will have their terrace rates refunded for the days affected by the lockdown measures. The Municipal Institute of Sports is returning all fees relating to suspended courses and reimbursing half of the fees paid for March.
The Ministry of Health has ordered the closure of all hotels and lodgings in Spain. Despite the State of Alert, between 80k and 90k tourists are still in the Balearics and the Canaries – where up to 300 daily flights are being organised to return tourists to their home countries.
TUI Germany has stopped all flights until April the 23rd.
From Monday, 23rd, professionals in the hospitality sector will be able to take advantage of free online webinars – in Spanish – covering topics including rethinking marketing, Google Ads and Adwords, revenue management, and sales improvement strategies. The daily 90-minute webinars are scheduled until April 8th. To subscribe to these free webinars, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Ministry of Health advises that the following groups are considered most vulnerable to COVID-19:
The director of the Centre for Co-ordination of Health Alerts and Emergencies, Fernando Simón, has announced today’s statistics for Spain.
There have been 2,833 new cases in the past 24 hours – an increase of 16.5% (which is a bit lower than the last increase). There are now 19,980 cases of COVID-19 in Spain, with one thousand deaths, 10,542 in hospital, and 1,141 in intensive care.
In the Balearics, there have been 34 new cases in the past 24 hours, bringing the total number of infected people to 203. A further person – a man of 90 years old – has died, bringing the total to four.
A third person has died from COVID-19 in the Balearics. The deceased was a man of 30 years old, who had been hospitalized in Son Espases.
Following Air Europa’s decision to cancel all flights between the islands, Air Nostrum has followed suit. The Balearic Islands’ only air connections will now be with the Peninsula – and only with Madrid and Barcelona. There’ll be no flights connecting the Balearics with Valencia.
The Madrid-Palma route will be served by a daily flight by both Air Europa and Iberia. The Barcelona-Palma route will be covered with a daily flight by Air Europa and Vueling.
There is a positive side to the lockdown: In just a few days, the reduction in traffic in Palma has resulted in lower emissions – which have fallen by around 75 % as a result. A substantial drop in Nitrogen dioxide levels has been recorded in the city centre, in Sant Joan de Déu, and at the Port of Palma.
Although we have no idea when this current state of emergency will end, the Council of Mallorca is putting together a tourism promotion plan that can be implemented as soon as it does. The Majorca Tourism Foundation’s advisory council is holding videoconferencing meetings to decide on measures to target overseas markets and restore tourism to Mallorca as soon as it’s possible. The Foundation will contribute 750k euros to a 1.5m euro co-marketing campaign.
It’s been reported that thousands of companies across the Balearic Islands have begun applying for temporary layoffs for employees. These companies will submit ‘Expedientes de Regulación Temporal’ – a temporary employment regulation file.
The Balearic Islands has reached an agreement with the Government, employers and unions, to ensure that unemployment benefits can be paid as soon as possible. Temporary layoffs will affect all business sectors in the Balearics – with the tourism sector one of the worst affected.
The Directorate-General of Labour has increased the number of staff to help process applications and plans to extend working hours. A Government helpline is available for queries: 900 101 798.
Air Europa has cancelled all flights between Mallorca and Menorca, and Mallorca and Ibiza, from today until April the 30th. All flights between the islands and the Peninsula are also cancelled – except for one daily flight in each direction connecting Palma with Madrid, and Palma with Barcelona.
The Ministry of Development is in negotiations with Air Nostrum to maintain what would be one daily flight in each direction linking Mallorca and Menorca, and Mallorca and Ibiza.
The number of cases of coronavirus in Spain has increased by 25 per cent in just one day. The official figures are 17,147 cases diagnosed, and 767 deaths. In the Balearics, there are 169 cases – of which seven patients are in intensive care and two have died.
The telephone number 061 is now only to be used for emergencies. If you think you may have coronavirus then you should use one of these two other numbers: 902 079 079 or 971 437 079.
In exceptional circumstances, two people may travel in a car: one in the front and the other in the back, diagonally across from the driver. The second person can only be disabled, elderly (over 65), infirm, or a minor (if they cannot be left at home with another adult).
If you’re going out to work, you should carry a justification certificate or work contract from your employer.
When returning from a petrol station, chemist or food shopping, keep the receipts in case you are stopped and requested to demonstrate where you’ve been.
Fines for non-compliance with measures range from 300 – 1.000 € and a prison sentence may even result.
His Majesty the King of Spain broadcast a message of positivity to the nation last night, in which he thanked those working in the public sector – particularly the health service. He also expressed his concern for those who have coronavirus and ‘love and affection’ for those who’ve lost loved ones to it.
King Felipe appealed for unity and commitment to defeating the virus, which he said, ‘will not defeat us.’. He said that, ‘on the contrary, it will make us a stronger society; a society that is more committed, more caring, more united.’
Spain’s Foreign Minister, Arancha González Laya, asked Spaniards who are currently living abroad to stay where they are and reinforced the message for foreign nationals in Spain that they would be able to return to their countries in an orderly manner. All hotels in Spain have been ordered to close on Tuesday, March 24th. Britain’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office advises British travellers in Spain to contact their tour operator or airline as soon as possible, to arrange their return journey home before next Tuesday.
The fashion retail giant Inditex – which owns Zara, Massimo Dutti, Bershka, Oysho and other high street stores – is donating 300,000 surgical masks to the Government this week and will explore the possibility of diverting its textile manufacturing capability to the production of items such as surgical gowns.
Units from the 47th Infantry Regiment are on duty in Palma city centre, in shopping centres, and at the airport and ports to support the State and its population in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. The Land Army disinfection unit began its work yesterday in Palma.
Palma’s citizens can’t take to the streets to protest, but that didn’t stop them yesterday. People took to their balconies to make a noise, banging pots and pans, in what’s known as a ‘cacerolada’, demanding that the former king, Juan Carlos, donates the 100 million euros he has in Swiss bank accounts to the Spanish public health service.
Healthcare workers are now able to take taxies free of charge, to and from health centres, care points, hospitals, and their homes in Palma and other municipalities in Mallorca. It’s an initiative launched by the Autotaxi Group. The following are the details of the participating municipalities and taxi firms, with their telephone numbers.
Palma – Radio Taxis – 971 201 212
Andratx – Radio Taxis – 971 136 398 or 971 235 544
Manacor – Servitaxi Manacor – 971 551 888
Santany & Cala d’Or local taxis – 971 657 058
Spain’s Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez addressed Congress this morning to explain the measures the government is taking to combat the coronavirus pandemic. He told the almost-empty house that the state of alert is about protecting the most vulnerable, strengthening the health system, and protecting the population with hygiene measures and social distancing. The aid measures announced yesterday are aimed at maintaining the drive of the economy through the crisis.
Sánchez also said that the government will guarantee the supply of foodstuffs, electricity, gas, and petroleum products.
Spain continues to have the world’s fourth-largest number of coronavirus cases, with official figures today standing at 13,716 infected; 558 people have died, and 1,081 have recovered.
Across the Balearics, official infection figures are 112 cases, with four patients in intensive care, and four have recovered.
His Majesty the King of Spain will give an address on the crisis to the nation on television this evening, following his meeting at the Zarzuela Palace at 5 o’clock with Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez and the four ministers on the crisis management committee. The televised address will be at 21 h.
The Prime Minister, Pedro Sánchez, gave a press conference yesterday afternoon, announcing an aid package of 200 billion euros to reduce the impact of the current crisis on Spain’s economy, and to protect jobs. The measures will cover four main priority areas: families in vulnerable situations; all workers; the guarantee of the flow of credit for companies, and support for scientific research into a Coronavirus vaccine.
The government is allocating 600 million euros for basic benefits, with special attention to older people and the vulnerable – guaranteeing electricity, water, and telecoms services. They are also supporting a moratorium on mortgage payments, easing social security contributions, and ensuring nobody will be evicted because of the difficult economic situation.
Sánchez emphasised that the government would help companies in order to protect employment and prevent the temporary crisis from permanently impacting on the labour market.
The package of aid – made up of public and private funds – is equivalent to 20 per cent of Spain’s gross domestic product.
The Balearic Islands’ president, Francina Armengol, announced that the State had approved the closure of Balearic airports and ports to arrivals, to isolate the islands.
For islanders returning home to Mallorca from the Peninsula there’ll be one daily flight to Palma per airline from Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia, Menorca and Ibiza. Departure flights will continue to repatriate around 25,000 tourists from the islands.
No boats will be allowed to arrive in Mallorca – and this includes private and rented vessels.
The Government of the Balearics will carry out health control measures for passengers arriving at ports and airports.
Cargo transport will continue, to guarantee the supply of goods and materials, as will transport for health, humanitarian, and emergency reasons.
Palma is one of 28 cities across Spain where members of the Military are helping to reinforce the State of Emergency restrictions. One of their jobs in Mallorca will be to disinfect the General Directorate of Traffic in Palma. Military vehicles drove into the city last evening.
If you’re on prescription meds and your prescription is due for renewal, it will be automatically extended by two months, so you don’t have to make an appointment to see the doctor to renew it. If health card prescription information isn’t automatically updated, patients should call 902 079 079 or 971 437 079 to ask that their GP renews prescriptions without an appointment.
A second person has died in Mallorca from coronavirus. The man was a cancer patient in his 60s receiving palliative care, who had tested positive for the virus.
Day 3 of Lockdown
Hotels chains in Mallorca are offering their establishments’ rooms to house patients, should the hospital system become saturated. The Garden Hotels chain has told the government it can use its Garden Holiday Village in Platja de Muro if additional space is needed to house coronavirus patients. Melia Hotels International and the Riu Hotel chains are also making their establishments available to the Government, if necessary.
The Spanish health authorities have reported an increase of nearly 2,000 new coronavirus infections registered since yesterday. Director of the Health Ministry’s Coordination Centre for Health Alerts, Fernando Simón reported the latest figures at the daily press conference on the effects of the pandemic in Spain. So far there have been 491 deaths in Spain related to COVID-19, with 1,028 patients recovering from the illness and being discharged from hospital.
Spain’s Interior Minister Fernando Grande-Marlaska has said that further restrictions on the transport system could not be ruled out. Land borders were closed at midnight to all but Spanish citizens, residents, freight, and for force majeure reasons.
The Military Emergency Unit is in deployment throughout Spain to help enforce the state of alarm measures introduced on Saturday by the Cabinet. Units from the army and the marines are also being deployed across the country.
A Spanish man has been arrested in Palma, charged with a crime of disobedience for breaking the coronavirus restrictions by being out in the streets. Police officers challenged him during their patrols, and he responded to their reminder of the restrictions by insulting them – resulting in his arrest.
We’re reminded that not abiding by the lockdown regulations will result in a fine of between 600 and 30,000 euros.
Spain’s lockdown was strengthened from midnight last night when the country’s land borders were closed except to Spanish nationals and official residents of Spain. Freight will still be able to enter the country to continue the supply of goods. It has also been announced that the 15-day lockdown is likely to be extended.
If you’re a tourist here, the Balearic Islands government is working on a plan to co-ordinate the return of all the tourists currently on the islands. The aim is for tourists to return to their home countries quickly and in an orderly fashion, in co-ordination with the Ministry for Transport.
Whilst you are still in your hotel, you must stay in your room. You may only move around the interior of the hotel to make use of its food services. Avoid gathering in any of the public areas of the hotel and maintain a distance of one metre from anyone else. Cough or sneeze only into a paper tissue or your inner elbow, avoid touching your face, and wash your hands frequently.
Access to public roads is only for the purpose of buying food at supermarkets, pharmacy products or basic necessities. You cannot leave the hotel.
If you have use of a car on your holiday, public roads can only be used for refuelling, buying basic necessities or travelling to the airport or port.
The first meeting of the State Committee for the Coordination of Civil Protection is taking today. It involves Spain’s 17 autonomous regions and will be responsible for co-ordinating the response to the coronavirus.
Across Spain, more than a thousand troops are on the streets to police the lockdown measures.
Spain’s national healthcare system will temporarily take over the facilities of private health providers across the country to be able to deal with the emergency. All hospital appointments have been suspended.
ITV centres are now closed for general vehicle testing. Only emergency and public transport vehicles will be tested until further notice.
The situation for hairdressing services has been changed. Salons will not be open, but hairdressers can provide services in people’s homes for the most vulnerable members of society, for hygiene purposes.
Anyone with diagnosed coronavirus, who is awaiting the results of tests, must put all their rubbish – including material they would normally put into recycling – into closed bags before putting them into general rubbish containers. Mallorca’s parcs verdes are closed.
Courts are closed, for all but urgent cases. And it’s expected that all hotels in Mallorca will be closed within a few days.
On a more positive note of solidarity, people throughout Spain are paying daily homage to health workers and other personnel keeping important services going throughout the lockdown. Every evening at 8 o’clock, we can show our support by going to our window or balcony, to applaud or make some noise of appreciation.
Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez announced ‘a state of alert’ in his address to the nation on Saturday 14th, following a seven-hour meeting of the Board of Ministers. Spain – including Mallorca, her sister islands, and the Canaries – was officially put on a 15-day lockdown on Saturday night (although this had been originally expected to start at 8am today, Monday 16th).
Lockdown means we must all stay at home and not go out, except for certain permitted activities.
All schools and other education centres have been closed and children must stay at home.
We cannot visit friends and family (except elderly or vulnerable relatives who may need help and care).
Supermarkets and food stores; pharmacies; businesses offering medical, orthopaedic, or optical services; veterinary practices; newspaper kiosks and tobacconists, petrol stations, businesses offering technological and telecomms services and equipment, animal feed stores, dry cleaners, and hairdressers.
We can use public transport, but capacities will be reduced to half and, although trains and buses are being regularly disinfected, it’s recommended to use personal transport if possible.
Whether on foot or by car, we must travel individually (unless accompanying a disabled person or for another justified reason).
Dogs can be taken out for short walks, but only to do their necessary business – and accompanied by just one person. Dog walkers should not go near any other people or their animals. Take a bottle of water to wash away dog pee, and poo bags.
For those looking after feral cat colonies, it’s recommended to reduce the frequency of feeding by giving more food each time.
Feeding and looking after animals on fincas and in animal protection centres is allowed.
Outings for leisure purposes – including keeping fit – are prohibited. This means we’re not allowed to go for a run, hike, bike ride, or leisurely stroll on a beach.
We will see more police presence and could be challenged if we’re out, so we should take identity documents if leaving our homes for any of the permitted reasons.
Easyjet has its normal schedule today to try and allow as many people as possible to return home. However, flights from tomorrow, Tuesday, 17th, until March 29th will be cancelled, with only some rescue flights operating. If your flight is cancelled, you will receive an email and SMS from easyJet with details of how to book yourself onto one of the rescue flights.
Ryanair Group Airlines (including Buzz and Lauda) has been forced to severely reduce flights to/from the whole of Spain. They are contacting all affected customers by email to advise them of their options. They urge customers not to phone them.
Jet2 has cancelled all flights to the Balearics, but scheduled return flights will run until March 21st. Jet2 will be contacting those affected. They are dealing with customers in order of departure date, with priority given to those due to depart within the next 72 hours.
An official message says that stopping the spread of the highly contagious COVID-19 depends on each one of us. We’re reminded of the following:
This is only day two of the lockdown and it’s possible that further clarification about aspects of the restrictions may be announced. Stay tuned to Mallorca Sunshine Radio for our Coronavirus updates and, remember, we’re all in this together.