An end-of-year trip in Mallorca has caused nearly 350 students between the ages of 17 and 21 are infected with COVID-19, 245 of them coming from the Community of Madrid and affecting other regions such as Valencia, Murcia, the Basque Country, Cantabria, Aragon and the Balearic Islands.
The stay, which lasted between June 12 and 18, has caused the coordination of this supra-community outbreak to be assumed by the Center for the Coordination of Health Alerts and Emergencies (CCAES) directed by Fernando Simón.
However, there are many data of a different nature that have been provided by the different Health Departments of each autonomous community affected, from Madrid -the one that accumulates the most infected cases- to the Balearic Health Department, constantly updating the number of infected.
How has the outbreak affected each community?
This outbreak has affected all the communities unequally, with Madrid being the most affected region with approximately two-thirds of the students infected in total. In addition to the 245 infected confirmed to date in said community, more than 600 close contacts involved in this outbreak.
Other communities have been implicated, but in a minority way, such as the Basque Country, with 49, Valencia, with 32 cases, Murcia, with 18, Aragon, with 10, and Cantabria and the Balearic Islands, with a number of infected students yet to be determined. On the other hand, it is being investigated whether the contagion of some Galician students is related to this outbreak.
The Valencian Ministry of Health reported that they are studying what they will do with the 32 infected students from Elche – according to informs the newspaper El Mundo, departed from a boat of the Baleària company— which must be examined from the extraordinary tests of selectivity, considering the possibility of postponing the exams or carrying them out electronically.
On the other hand, it is not ruled out that during these next few days new infected could be detected in other areas of the peninsula since Mallorca is usually one of the most visited destinations by students at the end of the course.
What has been the predominant covid variant in the outbreak?
Virtually all infected students Detected in the six communities have been infected with the Alpha variant – colloquially called British – of coronavirus, according to sources from the Ministry of Health of the Community of Madrid.
However, this same source has reported that, although this variant B.1.1.7 supposes the majority of infections, they are awaiting the definitive results of the sequencing of the samples to determine if the predominance of this variant is majority or total.
How could the outbreak be triggered?
Based on the number of events that took place in Palma de Mallorca and the measures taken to transport many of the students to the island, there are various hypotheses about what was the focus that triggered the outbreak of coronavirus in young people.
The first of the possibilities points to the ferry that left Valencia for the Balearic Islands, so the outbreak could have originated before the students set foot on island lands. According Has published the Balearic newspaper Diario de Mallorca, the students were “all together, without a mask and drinking alcohol”.
Once the students arrived on the island, a wide range of possibilities opened up as various events were held during the days of the youth’s stay in Mallorca. One of the loudest are the “party boats”, where many of the students from different parts of the peninsula could coincide and originate the outbreak.
According has reported NESTS, at the end of a ‘boatparty’ who left the Arenal port on June 15 at 3:30 p.m., “some parents have said that after the events they were left in a dead end so that there drank, danced or smoked so they wouldn’t bother“being guarded by the Local Police of Mallorca.
In addition, they were distributed in approximately 20 hotels between El Arenal and Magaluf, and many of them attended a massive reggaeton concert in the Plaza de Toros – known colloquially as Coliseu Balear -, later suspended by the Police for breach of sanitary regulations.
However, one of the most likely options being considered for this outbreak to be triggered is the concentration in El Arenal de Llulcmajor, on Pere Maimó Street, where gathered in isolation to protect residents, according has informed the Local Police of Llucmajor.
Although the Local Police controlled the area so that they did not move from there, they congregated almost 4,000 people in an esplanade near the Arenal Soccer Field and Aqualand El Arenal, forming a macro-bottle.
Who organized this trip?
Normally, it is the educational centers themselves that organize end-of-high school parties so that their former students can enjoy a trip to celebrate the end of this stage. In this case, the organizers of this trip have been the students and their families, since the centers have refused to prepare a trip due to the situation caused by the coronavirus.
The trips, both from public, subsidized and private centers, have been launched through several specialized travel companies such as Unicampus, which has estimated at approximately 400 students those who traveled to the islands, one part from Elche and the other from Madrid.
Sources from the public center Instituto María Moliner have distanced themselves from the trip and have regretted that 7 of the 11 students of yours who have attended the trip have been infected, since “with how harsh the measures have been throughout the year, it is very angry that a trip has ended like this”.
The Center for the Coordination of Health Alerts and Emergencies (CCAES) has called this Thursday a presentation of alerts with all the affected communities to review the situation and take the necessary measures to improve the coordination and control of this outbreak.
This presentation will also analyze the data provided by the trackers to promptly detect the close contacts of the students who have been infected by this outbreak.