Local Daily News 20th November

Health experts advise Puig to require the covid passport before the national bank holidays in December

With infections rising in Spain and in the Valencian Community, and the pandemic raging throughout half of Europe, it is urgent that the requirement of the covid passport be implemented as soon as possible, especially in the face of the December bank holidays (the 6th and 8th of december). Various experts believe that the greater mobility that will occur on those dates will lead to an increase in incidence, as happened last year.

“It should be operational as soon as possible and announced to the people so that they know what they are going to have to do,” says epidemiologist José María López Lozano. The cumulative incidence in the Community has already exceeded one hundred cases per 100,000 inhabitants and it continues to rise, “more than enough of a reason for it to be implanted as soon as possible, especially before the bank holidays,” says Victoria Ortiz de la Tabla, head of Microbiology at the Sant Joan Hospital. This specialist also insists that the covid passport, by itself, will not be enough to prevent the spread of the virus. “People have to realize that they must continue to wear the mask indoors and in open spaces when the safety distance cannot be guaranteed.” She recalls that vaccines, although very effective, are not infallible “and none are 100% effective.”

The Generalitat Valenciana is finalizing the legal report on which the implementation of the covid passport in the hospitality sector will be based, although it remains to be specified in which type of establishments its use will be imposed: discos, pubs, bars, restaurants… The only clue that the president of the Valencian Community, Ximo Puig, has given is that they will be closed spaces, in which it is difficult to maintain the use of a mask and a safe distance. For both López Lozano and Ortiz de la Tabla, its use could be applied to other areas, such as public transport. Both experts agree that with the vaccine fully available it would not be unreasonable to think about extending its use to these spaces. Juan Francisco Navarro, president of the Valencian Society of Preventive Medicine, has more doubts in this regard, “since using public transport is mandatory for many people who, for example, have to travel to work, so its mandatory implementation would be complicated” .

This specialist also believes that the covid passport should already be in operation. “We are always late and the increase in incidence that we see now is the result of social interactions a week ago.” For Navarro, the “health authorities behave like a turtle when it comes to applying restrictive measures and like lightning when it comes to de-escalation.”

This specialist believes that depending on what we do these weeks “we are risking a Christmas with more or less restrictions” and recalls that the incidence of the coronavirus “is increasing weekly with a greater acceleration.” He also asks for the vaccination to be sped up with the third dose for people between 60 and 70 years old and for health workers, announced by the Ministry of Health before the end of the year. “It should be done now, since vaccination is ending with the group of people over 70 years of age. I don’t understand why we’re waiting so long.”

The leisure and hospitality sector hopes that finally next week the Generalitat Valenciana will specify how and in which spaces the requirement of the covid passport will be implemented, although they warn of the difficulties that there will be to request this document. “Always facing Christmas there are difficulties in finding porters available to work, and smaller venues are not required to even have a person at the door. Who, then, is going to be in charge of checking the certificate in these businesses? There are still many bits to be solved”, says Lalo Díez, president of the Business Coordinator of Leisure and Hospitality of the Valencian Community. The hoteliers also demand that the covid passport be extended to other areas, such as cinemas, stadiums or shopping centers, where there is an agglomeration of people. “If the greatest number of people are to be vaccinated, the use of the certificate has to be forced beyond the hotel and leisure sectors.”

The Consell reaches 98% of repair of hydraulic works damaged by the DANA

The Regional Secretary for Agriculture and Rural Development, Roger Llanes, highlighted on Friday during his visit to Benejúzar that “right now, the level of execution of the hydraulic works committed by the Generalitat in the Vega Baja to repair the serious damage caused by the DANA now stands at 97.3%, while the number of this type of actions undertaken by the Ministry of Agriculture in 20 municipalities of the region amounts to 85”.

Regarding rural road repair works, the degree of execution at the moment, although not as high as in the case of hydraulic infrastructures, is equally remarkable, since it currently stands at 88% of the works planned. The number of actions amounts to 35 and there are 23 municipalities that are benefiting from them. The investments of the Generalitat, only in the aforementioned sections, exceed 20 million euros.

Llanes has made these assessments during his tour of the Arrabal road in the town of Benejúzar, which suffered serious damage as a result of the effects of the DANA and whose repair works have involved an investment of 376,000 euros by the Ministry of Agriculture, Rural Development, Climate Emergency and Ecological Transition.

Likewise, the regional secretary of Agriculture, has stressed that these works “are practically concluded, which allows farmers in these areas access without difficulties to their farms and the full recovery of an agricultural infrastructure that was seriously affected by the rains that hit the Vega Baja region at the end of 2019”.

Llanes, who has made the visit accompanied by the territorial director of the Consell in Alicante, Antonia Moreno, by the director of the Vega Renhace plan, Antonio Alonso, and by the mayor of Benejúzar, Rosa García, stressed that “the high level of compliance of the works that the Consell undertook to carry out reliably proves the commitment and decisive support of the Valencian Government with the Alicante regions”.

Benidorm lifts the park on Avenida Venezuela to create a new roundabout

A new roundabout on Avenida de Venezuela to reorganize the heavy traffic in this area. The construction of this roundabout has led to the lifting of part of the park that is located in this area of ​​Benidorm to accommodate this infrastructure. Some works have already begun with the removal of part of the pavement and green area of ​​the same and with the first changes in the circulation of vehicles.

The new roundabout of this avenue will be located in the influx with Ricardo Bayona Street, one of the areas of the city with the most traffic at rush hours since it is one of the exits to the Poniente area from the city center. At present it is a two-lane road with one to turn towards the Foietes health center and the specialty center. There are also two schools, the CEIP Ausiàs March and the Miguel Hernández school in its upper part. So, at certain times of the day, with the traffic light crossing, there are traffic jams.

The new roundabout will have three exits with two lanes each. The size of it has made it necessary to take space to the park on the left side, keeping the fountain, as well as an area with benches on the right side. However, the Councilor for Works, José Ramón González de Zárate, explained  that “the pedestrian crossing will be located behind the existing fountains that have been maintained” and a part of the garden will be recovered away from the new road to guarantee pedestrian safety. As for the trees, they will be moved to a new location: “as we are doing with those in other areas when there are works, this time they will move to the top of the Foietes park.” An area in which “they will not affect the subsoil”; because that is one of the problems that the City Council has encountered, that the species in that park have “broken sidewalks and pipes” with their roots. In fact, the action also includes the improvement of all the basic services that pass through the subsoil.

The project for this roundabout on Avenida Venezuela with Ricardo Bayona is included in the participatory budgets and was a neighborhood complaint. The budget is 550,000 euros and it is the work that takes most of the 600,000 euros that is allocated to this item in the municipal budgets. The work includes widening the sidewalks for pedestrians and a bicycle lane to and from Vía Parque.

The tourist areas of the north of the province are already at extreme risk of covid infection

The Valencian Community and specifically the province of Alicante are not an island and the circulation of the coronavirus, as is happening in the rest of Spain and in Europe, has not stopped increasing in recent weeks.

The incidence in the province of Alicante is currently 88 cases per 100,000 inhabitants, according to data updated Thursday by the Ministry of Health. There are 26 points more than just a week ago and the black points are concentrated in the most touristic municipalities in the north of the province. The town of Benidorm has an incidence of 326 cases, which places it at extreme risk due to the circulation of the virus. La Vila has 214 cases and Callosa d’en Sarrià reached 239. In fact, according to the weekly report published by the Ministry of Health, the health department of Marina Baixa is the only one that is at alert level 3. The intensity in the circulation of the virus is worrying among those over 65 years of age, almost 450 cases per 100,000 inhabitants and the high number of diagnostic tests for covid that are positive, 12%.

The method to calculate the incidence of the coronavirus in Benidorm has created annoyance among hoteliers. Hosbec insists that Benidorm has a special situation due to the significant volume of tourists and floating population that lives in the city and that multiplies its resident population by three. The committee of experts that advise President Ximo Puig and the Ministry of Health to determine the incidence of covid and, therefore, the prevention measures to be taken suggest that the system for calculating the risk of contagion caused by the virus be changed. However, the calculation system has not yet been modified.

Methodology aside, the truth is that the high circulation of covid in the Marina Baixa takes its toll on the regional hospital, whose ICU currently suffers the greatest pressure of the entire Valencian Community, with almost five critically ill patients per 100,000 inhabitants. And it remains to be seen if the patron saint festivities that have been celebrated this week have an effect in the form of an increase in coronavirus cases. It will be known in a week.

The vast majority of people who are admitted to hospital in the province in serious condition are not vaccinated and many of them are foreigners. In order to convince them to be immunized, the Ministry of Health has installed a mobile vaccination point in a tourist office in Benidorm, as well as in two shopping centers in Alicante and Elche. Almost 700 people have already passed through these three points to receive the coronavirus vaccine.

According to the update made Thursday by the Ministry of Health of the pandemic by municipalities, in Alicante there are six localities at extreme risk, exceeding 250 cases per 100,000 inhabitants, although some of them are small. They are Gaianes, Gorga, Benimantell, Benidorm, Beneixama and Teulada. Sixty Alicante towns are free of covid and 81 have new cases in the last 14 days.

Compared to the whole of the Valencian Community, the province is the one with the best situation. The worst is the province of Castellón, with an incidence of 172 cases per 100,000 inhabitants. In Valencia, there is an incidence of 115 cases per 100,000. In the whole of the Valencian Community the incidence continues to grow and this Friday it stood at almost 114 cases, a figure slightly higher than the average for Spain.

Regarding the daily update, the number of new infected people amounts to 221, which is 28 more than on Thursday. The most positive news is that there have been no deaths in the last 24 hours and no outbreaks with more than ten affected. Also that the number of hospitalizations remains stable. There are currently 82 people admitted to the ten hospitals in the province, 21 of them in the Intensive Care Units. The fall in the last days of admission to the ICU puts the province at the same levels as the beginning of October.

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