Local Daily News 1st of December

El Palmeral de Elche celebrates 21 years as a World Heritage Site with a new regional law

El Palmeral de Elche celebrated its 21st anniversary as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. On such a day as yesterday in the year 2000, the United Nations organization for education, science and culture distinguished not only the unique landscape but also its historical and cultural singularities, which are already an inherent part of the Elche identity.

Therefore, the city is celebrating. At noon yesterday the institutional act to commemorate the anniversary took place in the Hall of the City Council, presided over by the mayor, Carlos González, accompanied by the mayor of Culture, Marga Antón, members of the Government Team and the Municipal Corporation. Also by those people and representatives linked to the Elche palm trees or to the social and cultural sphere of the municipality, on a special anniversary given the approval last October by the Valencian Courts of the Palm Grove Law, which guarantees the survival and conservation of the heritage, forcing the Council to collaborate in its economic maintenance.

Once Law 6/2021 of the 12th of November on the Protection and Promotion of the Palmeral de Elche has been endorsed, the mayor has stated that it is time to “forge a great alliance so that this marvel that we have received from our ancestors and that we must bequeath has the necessary resources to be able to withstand the passage of time”. Now the challenge is, he has affirmed, to join the Government of Spain and the Provincial Council in financing and in the conservation tasks of the palm grove.

González, who has defined the Elche palm grove as “an extraordinary beauty” and which, at the same time, “symbolizes the attachment and respect for our identity signs”, wanted to thank all the generations of Elche who, for centuries, “have preceded us since time immemorial with the intelligence, determination and vision of the future to take care of the palm grove so that it would reach today as it has.”

In particular, the councilor reminded the families of the palm growers that “they knew how to make them profitable and live from them while still preserving them, maintaining the trade and bequeathing their know-how”, and that also, “they have been able to to keep the crafts of the white palm alive while in the rest of the world it has disappeared”.

In addition, Carlos González has reviewed the regulations prior to the recently in force Law 6/2021 of the 12th of November on the Protection and Promotion of the Palm Grove of the Generalitat Valenciana, which “was conceived and was born in Elche” as it was the product of “the initiative of this City Council and of the interest of the citizens to conserve, protect and guarantee the future of the palm grove”. He has continued to show his gratitude to the Valencian Courts, to its president and to the political groups of the chamber, to the Ministry of Culture and to the Minister Marzà for his direct involvement.

On the 8th of March, 1933, he recalled, the Republic declared the conservation of palm orchards of social interest, making it forbidden to cut off live palm trees thanks to the social debate opened by Pedro Ibarra. Subsequently, Law 1/1986 of the Council, which, although it was already out of date, “regulated from then until today the guardianship of the palm grove, being key throughout the decades for its defense,” he acknowledged. In 1998, the PGOU made it possible for the vast majority of privately owned orchards to become part of the municipal patrimony, being an essential step for the subsequent Unesco declaration; “A work promoted and led by former mayor Diego Macià and his team of collaborators,” stressed the mayor.

The Department of Culture has organized a series of complementary initiatives on the occasion of the anniversary. Last Saturday the MAHE hosted workshops for the whole family and on Sunday the Palm Grove Museum offered guided tours. Yesterday, Tuesday, this last space promoted an open day in which palm climbing demonstrations were held from 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Likewise, the mayor recalled last week that the white palm braiding courses had begun, being divided into two parts: initiation and improvement.

Immunization against covid among the unvaccinated rises by 34% in the province of Alicante, and by 53% in the Valencian Community

The upcoming implementation of the covid passport to enter bars, restaurants, hospitals and homes for the elderly in the Valencian Community continues to bring people who until now had refused to be immunized against the virus to the vaccination points.

However, in the province of Alicante this influx is lower when compared with the data for the whole of the Valencian Community. In the last week, according to the statistics of the Ministry of Health, the increase in inoculation of first doses has increased by 36% in the province, compared to 53% in the whole of the Valencian Community. If the last two weeks are taken as a reference, the increase in the province has been 54%, compared to 73% registered at the regional level.

The vaccination rate against the coronavirus in the province of Alicante is lower than in the rest of the provinces of the Community. According to the latest available data, 89.5% of the population in the province has the complete vaccination course, compared to 92.5% of the Community as a whole. One of the reasons for this difference is, according to experts, the large foreign population that resides in the province and is more reluctant to be immunized.

The President of the Generalitat, Ximo Puig, on Tuesday reminded all Valencians who have not been vaccinated against the coronavirus that “they have no right to infect others” nor is there “freedom to saturate hospitals.”

“In this we have to be clear: thoughtlessness has limits,” he warned in his speech at a colloquium organized by the Barcelona Tribuna opinion forum and collected by Efe.

Meanwhile, the province is already at high risk of contagion, after the 14-day incidence has risen to 174.22 active cases per 100,000 inhabitants, according to data released Monday by the Ministry of Health. They are 32 points more than on Friday of last week, when the previous update of the figures was made. In these four days, the number of sick people has increased from 2,610 to 3,194.

The increase in the rate has been generalized throughout the demarcation, where a total of 1,124 positives have been detected over four days. The area with the most infections, 237, has been the Marina Baixa, which makes the situation even worse here. Active cases rise to 723 and the incidence stands at 395.45. Benidorm continues with the worst data in the region, with 403 sick people and a rate of 572.04. The other important localities in the area are also at extreme risk: Altea, l’Alfàs del Pi, la Nucia and Vila Joiosa.

The number of infections in the department of Torrevieja has also been high, 164. Active cases in this area are already 442, which raises the rate to the edge of extreme risk: 240.79. The city of Torrevieja itself is already in this worrying situation, with an index of 276.38, and San Fulgencio, with 309.75. And we must also pay special attention to the department of Elda, where in recent days there has been a significant escalation of infections. Since last Friday, 128 more positives have been located, so that the active cases are already 401 and the incidence rises to 211.64. A figure that, on a local scale, Villena doubles: 442.1, with 151 affected at the moment.

Other departments at high risk are those of Dénia, Alcoy and Sant Joan d’Alacant, with respective rates of 181.68, 169.69 and 154.04. Also in two of these three areas there are municipalities of remarkable size in an extreme situation: Teulada (301.47), Pedreguer (317.22), Cocentaina (321.18), Castalla (353.69) and Banyeres (310.3 ). The rest of the health areas are at high risk, with significantly lower rates at the moment. The environment of the General Hospital of Elche presents 117.86 active cases per 100,000 inhabitants, while in Alicante-General Hospital it is 91.43. For its part, Elche-Crevillent is at 90.97 and Orihuela continues to have a less complicated situation with 88.69.

The Spanish Health Ministry lists omicron as ‘variant of concern’ as Catalonia detects two suspected cases

The Spanish Health Ministry has listed the omicron strain of the coronavirus as a “variant of concern” in its latest daily report on the epidemiological situation in Spain, which was released Monday evening. The report describes a variant of concern as those that are “more transmissible, more virulent or able to escape, either partially or totally, the effect of antibodies acquired after a natural infection or vaccination against previous variants.”

On Monday, the Gregorio Marañón Hospital in Madrid confirmed the first case of the omicron variant detected so far in Spain. The hospital’s microbiology department reported that the variant was found in a 51-year-old man who flew in from South Africa and that the patient was “feeling well.” The traveler returned from South Africa on November 28 after a stopover in Amsterdam. In a press release, Madrid health authorities said that the region is “maintaining epidemiological vigilance of all the close contacts of the flights that arrived in Madrid from the Dutch capital.” The 51-year-old patient has “minor symptoms” and is “in isolation, keeping quarantine,” it added.

This case was found via a large-scale antigen testing operation in Madrid’s Adolfo-Suárez-Barajas airport, while the virus was sequenced on Monday via an “ultrafast procedure” that provides same-day results, said the regional health department in a press release. In Catalonia, two suspected cases of omicron have also been detected in Barcelona’s El Prat airport, in two travelers from South Africa who are now under quarantine. The Catalan regional government expects confirmation on Tuesday on whether the infections are from the omicron variant.

Under Spain’s current health controls, passengers are tested in the airport if they are suspected of carrying the virus. In the past seven days, 249 imported cases have been detected in Spain, according to Monday’s report. This represents 0.46% of all infections detected in the same time period (54,010). Of Spain’s 17 regions, the Canary Islands have registered the highest number of imported infections in the past seven days, with 66 cases, or 3.15% of all contagions reported in the region in the last week. The archipelago is followed by the Valencia region with 42 cases (0.67%), Madrid with 35 (0.7%) and Andalusia with 18 (0.4%).

In an effort to control the spread of the new variant, Spain has tightened travel restrictions and introduced new quarantine measures for travelers from at-risk countries. The Spanish Cabinet is also expected to restrict flights to Botswana and South Africa at a meeting on Tuesday.

“It’s about acting early, buying time,” Spanish Health Minister Carolina Darias told the Cadena SER radio network on Tuesday. “Buying time allows us to try to stop the spread, until more is known about whether it spreads more easily or causes more serious illness or if it escapes the vaccines.”

Spain’s Public Health Commission, which is made up of health officials from the central and regional governments, is also set to discuss the new variant at a meeting on Tuesday. Also on the agenda is whether Spain should approve the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine for children. This child dose has already been approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA), but experts have expressed doubts about whether it is needed for children, given they largely have minor cases of Covid-19 or are asymptomatic.

In the meantime, the 14-day incidence rate of the coronavirus continues to rise in Spain. According to the Health Ministry report, released Monday, this figure now stands at 199 cases per 100,000 – up 27 points since Friday, the last day for which data is available given no figures are released on the weekend. The Health Ministry recorded 22,911 new cases since Friday and added 53 deaths to the official toll, which now stands at 88,008. Navarre continues to be the region with the highest incidence rate, with 571 cases per 100,000. It is followed by Spain’s Basque Country with 446 cases.

Hospital admissions for Covid-19 also rose on Monday. There are currently 3,780 Covid-19 patients in hospital, up from 3,385 on Friday. While in Spain’s intensive care units (ICUs), the occupancy rate has risen from 6.5% to 7.3%, with 673 admissions for Covid-19.

The Port of Alicante expands part of its promenade with a wooden platform, gaining 1,000 m2 from the sea

One thousand square meters reclaimed from the sea to expand the port’s promenade. The Alicante Port Authority has begun work to remodel the entire leisure area built 26 years ago in the Levante dock, facing the sea. Specifically, the work starts between the popular Escalerillas de la Reina (statue of the surfer that has been provisionally removed) and the pump to supply diesel to the sports boats at the end of Pier 8. The most innovative action has begun at pier 4, 150 meters long, where the replica of the Santísima Trinidad was once anchored (between shell and floating artifact), to which a wooden walkway about seven meters wide will be added, gaining ground to the sea that will be crowned with a platform-viewpoint with views of the Castle of Santa Bárbara. In total, it will occupy a thousand square meters and the total estimated length is about 210 linear meters including the viewpoint between the connections of Pier 4 and 6, where the pubs and cafes begin.

The Port’s board of directors approved in February 2020 the 15-year extension of the concessions of the commercial Marina Deportiva and Interparking Hispania, companies that, together with the commercial Marina Deportiva del Puerto de Alicante, whose extension had been approved in October In 2019, they will invest some 16 million euros in rehabilitating the area with the greatest port-city interaction: the port square and the promenade of docks 4, 6 and 8. The pavement will be changed, the stands will be removed facing the docks – there have been many injured due to falls – and, among other actions, the wood in the square will be replaced. The investments are aimed at achieving more productivity, greater energy efficiency and improvements in environmental quality.

It is also planned to remodel the facade of the main building of the Marina and its surroundings, the pavement will be improved in order to guarantee access to people with reduced mobility and to rearrange the traffic spaces, and also the pontoons, to improve their quality and the installation of charging points for electric vehicles.

The recreational area of ​​the Port in the Levante dock was the first great bet of the rectors of the Port when they designed, associated with the sports marina, the opening of a part of the docks to the city. Restaurants, pubs, cafes and, later, the casino emerged. For years it was the center of leisure and nightlife in the city, and it continues to have a great power of attraction, especially for tourism, but the lack of control of what happened inside some pubs led to a problem of security and public order that has ended up generating social rejection, especially during the weekends at dawn. Added to this problem are 26 years of use, changes in the structure and philosophy of the businesses themselves, and the deterioration typical of an area close to the sea.

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