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Social distancing signs at El Arenal beach in Palma de Mallorca (Image: REUTERS)
Mallorca and Ibiza are experiencing a second wave of coronavirus, according to health chiefs for the Balearic Islands.
The soaring number of cases over the weekend has seen stricter lockdown measures enforced – following 252 hospital admissions over the last three days.
Of those hospitalised with the virus, 33 are in intensive care – compared to 23 last Friday.
Javier Arranz, spokesman for the Autonomous Committee for the Management of Infectious Diseases in the Balearic Islands, admitted today that there will be deaths and that several people aged between 20 and 50 are seriously ill.
He admitted the regions were in the grip of a second wave, but said it would not be as strong as in March when the pandemic began.
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People sunbathe and swim on El Arenal beach in Palma de Mallorca
Javier said: "We are in a second wave, with a significant rise, which will last a few days."
Of the 252 in hospital, 222 are in Mallorca.
Mr. Arranz said the islands were experiencing community outbreaks, not imported ones, and called for responsibility.
"It is not an infection that comes from outside but is fully located here," he said at a press conference.
Depending on how the pandemic evolves, he said, the Balearic Government will make new decisions on restrictions but he stressed the health system was not in a critical situation. He also clarified the new cases were milder than before.
If the Balearic government does impose new restrictions, it is likely to be in the next few days and could follow the same lines as announced this morning by Catalonia. These include a restriction on social meetings to just ten people.
Figueretes beach in Ibiza – where cases of coronavirus have been increasing
(Image: Getty Images)
Ibiza health officials said they are officially experiencing a second wave
(Image: Getty Images)
Health chiefs say new regulations have been in force since August 14th, including the closure of all nightspots, earlier closing times for pubs and a ban on smoking in the street unless sociall distancing can be guaranteed.
Mr. Arranz said the government would want to see what effect these were having before tightening them up if necessary.
He also told the press conference that he had seen people sitting together on terraces without masks and warned young people about "risky activities".
"Right now it's not about banning going to terraces, it's about doing things right," he stressed.
The Balearic government said this morning that since the start of the joint inspection campaign to monitor compliance COVID-19 rules, 275 infringements had been reported. These were for breach of capacity, safety distance or non-use of a mask.
The authority tweeted: "The irresponsibility of a few cannot jeopardise the effort of the majority. Prevention is, for now, the best vaccine we have against coronavirus. Therefore, we must ensure compliance with the measures and prosecute those who do not comply."