MAJORCA and Ibiza are preparing for a third wave of coronavirus as new infections continue to spiral in Spain.
The Balearic Islands, while unsure when it will hit, be it in a few weeks or during the Christmas period, are ready for it to become a reality.
It is the first time any Spanish region has talked in public about a third wave but the Balearic government says it is already making contingency plans to deal with it.
It's also a blow for the Balearics where new cases of Covid-19 are finally slowing down under the second wave and will dent any plans for a tourism revival.
The Balearic government says the second wave "continues to decline" and the accumulated incidence in the islands is 142 cases per 100,000 inhabitants in the last 14 days, 130 in Majorca.
In the last seven days, the incidence on the island is 65. The positive rate for PCR tests is 3.62 per cent in the last two weeks.
There have been 317 deaths in the Balearics since the pandemic began.
The shock admission came during a press conference to discuss the evolution of the pandemic in Majorca, Ibiza, Menorca and Formentera.
General director of public health, Maria Antònia Font said they had bent the curve of the second wave and cases were going down but admitted: "There will probably be a third.
"We don't know when it will arrive but we are working on all scenarios as we don't want it to take us by surprise. We waited for the second to arrive and it arrived earlier."
She said they were working on the scenario that a third wave could "happen tomorrow," saying: "We are analysing what margins for improvement there are regarding the first and second waves."
Spokesman for the autonomous coronavirus management committee, Dr Javier Arranz said the worrying points for the way ahead were mobility and social and family gatherings which would increase cases.
But of a third wave, he said: "If there is one, as long as there is no mutation and we continue to behave well, it will have less impact, lower incidence and shorter duration."
One of the measures which would help with a third wave is the use of antigen tests which give a result in 20 minutes.
These can be used in schools, in residences or in ports and airports if a study carried out by the health department certifies their usefulness for asymptomatic cases, according to island newspaper Periodico de Ibiza.
"We have different diagnostic tools to launch at the right time," said the director of public health.
In anticipation of a third wave and saturated health centres, a number of express COVID testing stations have already been launched, two of them for school-children.
International sanitary recommendations are that the cumulative incidence is below 60 and the positivity rate below five per cent. "We still have a few weeks left," said Dr Arranz.
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