Local Daily News 10th January

Rubble and fallen trees, broken wiring, and containers falling against vehicles: the effects of the strong wind in Alicante

The Local Police and the firefighters attended more than fifty emergencies on Sunday morning due to strong gusts of wind, the most important of which are detachments of rubble from a ledge on calle Colón that has caused damage to a parked vehicle, metal sheets, industrial warehouses and construction fences, as well as falling branches, trees and a large billboard.

During the morning, especially from 6 a.m. to 1 p.m., the security forces, according to the Department of Security, travelled to attend to emergencies due to the fall of displaced containers, awnings fallen in Inmaculada del Pla, Virgen del Socorro, various cornices, metal sheets of industrial buildings and perimeter fencing of construction work on Avenida de Doctor Jiménez Díaz, which came apart and fell onto the road.

In addition, they intervened with a large poster, a tree affected in Doctor Sapena, windows, branches, wiring, blinds, due to the strong gusts of wind that were registered in Alicante in which the pre-emergency state was active.

Around twelve o’clock, members of the Prevention, Fire Extinction and Rescue Service (SPEIS) and several police patrols were dispatched due to the detachment of rubble from a ledge in calle Colón that has caused damage to a parked vehicle. The Firefighters deployed the ladder vehicle and cleaned up the facade of the building. For this emergency, the Police cut off road and pedestrian traffic on Colón Street for an hour, while the facade was being cleaned up.

In the special device launched to coordinate incidents and warnings, the Local Police and the SPEIS firefighters attended to the fall and breakage of wiring that gave off sparks when hitting each other, on calle Francisco Carratala Cernuda, and telephone cables, in calle Cameo in Rebolledo.

Likewise, the Firefighters and Police have come to clean up cornices, and to secure the Christmas lights with risk of falling on calle San Fernando, and the large flowerpots overturned on the Esplanade of Spain with Rambla.

Specifically, the security forces also attended to a score of displaced containers, some hit against vehicles, in Maestro Alonso, in Condes de Soto Ameno, another container of organic waste was displaced to the centre of the road, in Miriam Blasco, Rambla de Méndez Núñez, Cardinal Francisco Álvarez, Alfonso el Sabio, among others, set aside to avoid traffic accidents.

The staff of the Alicante Local Police and the SPEIS fire station have been divided into teams and worked intensively during the morning to attend to the more than fifty emergencies, cutting off traffic at various times and marking affected areas, as well as securing buildings, posters and fencing.

The strong gusts of wind have meant that the Alicante City Council for safety closed access to the Castle of Santa Bárbara, and the Local Police have carried out special surveillance in El Palmeral Park, due to the meteorological situation of the wind, although, finally, it remained open to users.

Four sentenced to 83 years in prison for breaking into houses and threatening victims with cutting off their fingers

The Alicante Provincial Court has sentenced four of the five accused of being part of a violent gang of house robbers that used machetes and shotguns and did not hesitate to beat and threaten the victims with cutting them off the fingers or an arm to seize their jewels and other valuable effects, to 83 years and six months in prison as stated in a sentence.

The Prosecutor’s Office requested 139 years in prison from the five accused of committing 28 robberies, all of them in the province of Alicante except for two in the Murcian municipality of Sangonera la Seca.

One of the defendants has been acquitted by the Hearing as they do not consider proven his participation in a single robbery that they are accused of, while the other four defendants have been acquitted of nine of the 28 robberies but have been punished with harsh penalties, especially three of those involved, who have been sentenced to 26, 24 and 24 years in prison. However, the ruling establishes a maximum of 18 years for one of them and 14 years and three months for the other two.

A fourth defendant has been sentenced to nine years and six months in prison and the court acquits him of the crime of belonging to a criminal organization due to lack of data to consider him a member of the gang of thieves despite participating in two of the assaults.

The sentence states that the accused, depending on their participation in the different robberies, must compensate the victims for an amount slightly higher than 46,000 euros.

The defence attorney for one of the defendants, José Soler Martín, has announced that he will appeal this judgment of the Court.

When setting the sentence, the judges of the Second Section highlighted in the ruling the “extreme violence used” in the assaults and the fact that several aggressors participated in the robberies, “which necessarily increased the fear and defenselessness of the victims.”

In addition to the crimes of robbery with violence in an inhabited house, several of them with the use of weapons, and the crime of integration into a criminal group, three of the accused have also been sentenced to fines for minor injuries, since some victims were injured.

Among the robberies attributed to the gang are assaults in the Alicante towns of Cañada del Fenollar, Verdegás, El Rebolledo and La Alcoraya, as well as in Novelda, Elche, Sax, Busot, Xixona, La Vila Joiosa, Dénia and San Vicente del Raspeig, according to the facts declared proven in the sentence handed down a few days ago by the Second Section.

The flu puts the health system, already collapsed by covid, on high alert

The flu is already present with the first and incipient cases and has put the health system on alert for the consequences of overload that can add to a group already saturated by the sixth wave of covid.

The only respite they aspire to in hospitals and health centres consulted is that the dreaded flu will practically pass by, as it happened last year, but if it does not, the impact it will cause could prolong a sixth wave for weeks, proving unaffordable for the health sector.

“If between the third and fourth weeks of this month of January flu cases begin to rise, the situation could be very complicated,” warns the infectious disease specialist Francisco Jover, head of the service at the Sant Joan Hospital. It is then for when a flu season is expected to be more pressingly present, which in the Valencian Community is usually delayed with respect to other autonomies due to the warmer climate.

The similarity of the flu symptoms with those of the covid adds an extra factor of confusion that is a real headache for the health sector, excessively stressed at the moment by the progressive increase in covid infections as the omicron variant advances.

“As the symptoms are similar, it is most likely that if it is flu the antigen tests will be negative, which will cause an increase in the demand for PCR tests” to verify cases, continues Dr. Jover, with the consequent increase of work in Primary Care.

Experts regret that there is still no reliable antigen test on the street for the diagnosis of influenza and that since the only diagnosis available is the clinical one, it is very difficult to distinguish from covid. “The flu can become a pseudo covid that prolongs the sixth wave for weeks,” says Dr. Jover.

Influenza infection itself includes among its most damaging aspects the aggravation of basic diseases by causing severe decompensation in previously weakened organisms. “Basic diseases are decompensated by the flu and this is the most important problem that we could face, especially worrying among the elderly despite being vaccinated,” explains in turn Dr. Félix Gutiérrez, also a specialist in infectious diseases and chief of Internal Medicine at the General Hospital of Elche. Although it is a less serious entry infection, the doctors emphasize that those who suffer from some obesity can also lead them to a serious situation that leads to hospital admission and that can even cause death.

Dr. Gutiérrez trusts that the flu season this year in the province will once again be “exceptional” like the previous one and the use of the mask will provide sufficient protection against the fearsome spread of this virus. “We still do not know if the conjunction with the covid may have to do,” he explains. In the hospitals of the province they have already seen the odd case of flu, but so far none that is associated with infection, the doctors indicate.

“At the moment the incidence of influenza is not increasing, but in this Community it is delayed”, they insist. Now that it seems that the cold is getting worse, they fear that the flu will also come with it. “It could have an impact on the volume of hospitalizations greater than the current one,” says the head of Internal Medicine at the Elche centre, who advises citizens to maintain the protection of the mask especially in the coming weeks.

The Ministry of Health resumes vaccination without appointment in Elche and Alcoy

The immunization campaign continues with the advance of the sixth wave and the daily increase in positive cases. Thus, the Ministry of Health will install vaccination points without appointment for first and second doses next week. From Monday the 10th to Friday the 14th, the province of Alicante will have two vaccination points in Elche and Alcoy.

In the town of Elche it will be located in the Toscar sports hall from 9:00 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. next Monday, while the following four days the opening will be at 8:30 a.m. The closing time will be the same.

The one located in the north of the province, in Alcoy, will be in the Hospital and the schedule will be divided into two shifts. In the morning, from 8.30 a.m. to 2.30 p.m. and in the afternoon, from 3.30 p.m. to 8 p.m.

In addition, today, Monday, paediatric vaccination will also be resumed in schools, coinciding with the return to classrooms in person.

The operation, coordinated by the Ministry of Health and Education, will focus on students from 5 to 8 years old. Students between the ages of 9 and 11 who could not be vaccinated before Christmas due to being confined, not having the authorization of their parents or guardians, or for any other reason, will also be immunized.

In order to receive the vaccine, the first step is for the family to fill out, sign and deliver to the school the authorization that the centre will have sent them. It is expected that this process can be completed between Monday (the day the authorizations will be delivered) and Wednesday, to begin on Thursday, the 13th of January with the inoculation.

The process takes place in the schools themselves, during school hours and by educational level to preserve the usual groups of coexistence, or bubbles. As in the first phase of the paediatric campaign, with the youngest children, a family member will also be allowed to access the centre to accompany them at the time of the vaccination.

With this second stage of the paediatric vaccination campaign, the immunization of all schoolchildren aged 11 to 5 years residing in the Valencian Community will be covered.

In the first phase, which developed normally before the Christmas holidays, 107,360 students received the first dose of the Pfizer paediatric vaccine.

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