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Local Daily News 22nd November

Orihuela improvises a landfill for hundreds of tons of pruning on the coast without permission

The company that maintains parks and gardens for the Orihuela City Council on the Costa has improvised an enclosure where it has been collecting tons of pruning and all kinds of plant remains for weeks in the middle of a residential area and in front of CP Los Dolses. It has done so with the approval of the City Council, although there is no administrative trace of the decision, because the land, located parallel to Avenida de Nicolás de Bussi, is owned by the municipal government. A large part of the 14,000 square meter plot, which the Playa Flamenca institute housed in barracks for more than fifteen years, has been fenced off. The fence has been covered with a raffia that hides the activity that takes place inside.

The trucks of the company Actúa (formerly Grupo La Generala) have accumulated day by day, for approximately a month, pruning, logs and plant debris from all kinds of maintenance work in the green areas of the coast where 30,000 residents live. The chosen land is surrounded by residential tourist developments, where residents have been waiting for years for an adaptation with public endowments – although now what is planned is to expand the school. Any type of waste storage and treatment activity requires an environmental authorization from the regional administration. The PP-Cs coalition government team has not responded to requests for information on the legal situation of the site on municipal land. The councilor responsible for the area, Ángel Noguera, has not commented either.

Municipal sources indicate that a collection activity and possible subsequent waste treatment are being developed on the ground, making it a kind of precarious transfer plant, something that requires a prior project and technical reports from the City Council itself and the regional administration. It is a process that takes a few months. Unofficially, the company and the municipal staff of the Infrastructure area have indicated to the neighbors that the collection is “temporary” and that as soon as the pruning, most of it from date palms and pines, dries in the sun, “they will be shredded” on the premises. The objective is to use this plant material in the parks of Orihuela Costa themselves.

It has been the Partido de la Costa-Claro that has publicly denounced this activity, which worries residents due to the “latent danger of a fire” and the proliferation of pests that it can generate. The same source describes the activity as an “urban landfill” and recalled that it has spent “years” requesting an ecopark from the Orihuela government. Claro, ally of Cambiemos in the City Council, will ask for explanations in the next plenary session from the responsible councilor Ángel Noguera “urging him to urgently clean the plot.”

The usual practice in the management of pruning in the municipalities is to transport the remains to an authorized plant, which charges the companies a disposal fee per ton. The companies, in turn, charge that cost to the municipalities. In the case of the Vega Baja, this elimination is carried out in the Region of Murcia or other regions of the province of Alicante, with significant cost of transport and disposal fee.

Actúa performs the service in Orihuela Costa without a contract since February 2017 – a total of five years outside of administrative legality. 

The City Council currently pays 900,000 euros per year for this service on the Orihuela Costa. The company would seek to save costs with this action. Reduction that should also affect the certifications paid by the City Council. The plot is the one projected by the Generalitat to carry out the expansion of the Los Dolses school over 8,000 square meters. One of its ends is traversed by a promenade that leads to the north of Playa Flamenca.

The province of Alicante is at the forefront in sequencing covid samples in search of new strains

Vaccination has changed the evolution of the coronavirus pandemic, reducing mortality as well as the number of people admitted to hospitals. However, there is a threat that remains latent, that of new variants of the virus that make it resistant to vaccines and can return things to the way they were at the start of the pandemic.

Hence the importance of not losing track of these strains, for which the Ministry of Health has a network of laboratories throughout Spain that continuously and randomly sequence samples of patients with covid in search of mutations that can change the course of the pandemic. In the province of Alicante, the general hospitals of Alicante and Elche are in charge of this surveillance work, possibly the most unknown of this pandemic, but just as necessary as tracing or vaccination.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, both centers have multiplied their sequencing capacity, from about 200 weekly samples in the first wave to about 700 that could be reached at this time. These are figures that place the province “as a leader in the Valencian Community”, explains the professor in Genetics Fernando González Candelas, who heads the Seqcovid project in the Community, which brings together 40 hospitals from all over Spain in this work of sequencing and searching for new variants.

The process to genetically unravel a coronavirus sample is complex and can take several days, “and now with the pandemic, new equipment has arrived that automates the entire process, because before all the data had to be entered by hand,” explains Antonio Galiana, Researcher at the General Hospital of Elche and the person responsible for the secondary program at this health center. The first delta, South African and delta plus strain samples detected in the Valencian Community passed through Galiana’s hands.

At this time, the low circulation of the virus is allowing the hospital to sequence all the samples of patients that arrive and as long as they have a high viral load, otherwise it is impossible to genetically decipher the virus.

Through the Carlos III research institute, Galiana’s laboratory has received funds throughout the pandemic that have allowed it to improve sequencing equipment. A technological deployment that will have a life beyond the pandemic. “The teams will serve to work on the detection of resistance of bacteria to antibiotics, another pandemic that seriously threatens us.”

Samples from the entire province are sequenced at the General Hospital of Alicante, except for Elche. Every week, the results of the genetically analyzed samples “are fed into a European network that maintains surveillance of the variants that may arise throughout the continent”, highlights Juan Carlos Rodríguez, head of the Microbiology department at the General Hospital of Alicante. A task “from which admitted patients may not benefit, but which is essential to know what variants exist at all times and for Public Health to make decisions”, such as applying curfews or perimeter closures. Decisions that must be made without delay, since a variant in a few weeks may have colonized the entire territory, as happened with the delta strain. Not all hospitals have the necessary technology to carry out this tracking work. “We have the teams thanks to the sum of synergies undertaken between the Microbiology Service and the Alicante Health and Biomedical Research Institute”.

Several injured in three serious accidents Sunday morning in Alicante

The Alicante Local Police and the Firefighter Traffic Accident Rescue Unit of the Alicante Prevention, Fire Extinction and Rescue Service (SPEIS) intervened Sunday morning in three traffic accidents with injuries that took place in the Glorieta Deportista Paqui Veza, on Avenida de Doctor Rico and Avenida de Oviedo, where it was necessary to rescue two people.

According to police sources, the most serious accident occurred at around 6:30 am on Goleta Avenue with the Glorieta Deportista Paqui Veza. Immediately three police patrols were displaced and cut off the accesses to the roundabout and coordinated the emergency response. Firefighters managed to rescue and safely remove the driver, who was seriously injured, performing the fastest, most effective and efficient action so that the injured person could be assisted by the paramedics.

In addition, two other serious accidents occurred Sunday morning. One of them took place around 3:00 am, on Avenida de Oviedo at the height of the roundabout of the golf course, where a person was injured. The second accident took place on Avenida de Doctor Rico at 8:20 a.m. A vehicle was overturned sideways from the impact after losing control. The Local Police are investigating the causes of both accidents.

The National Police gives ten tips to avoid falling for lottery-related scams this Christmas

The National Police warns about the most widespread deceptions and scams on the occasion of the Christmas lottery draw and offers ten tips to avoid falling for this type of fraud. Through their profiles on social networks, agents will remind citizens of these tips to prevent them from becoming victims of these crimes, as they have advanced this Sunday through a statement.

In the lead up to the most important lottery of the year, the acquisition of tickets and shares is massively increased. That increase in sales, police sources recall, also increases the risk of being a victim of possible fraud related to the purchase of tickets, problems when collecting prizes when a ticket is shared by several people, or false tickets, among others.

To avoid this, the National Police disseminates various safety tips, also explaining what some of the most reported frauds in relation to the Christmas raffle consist of. Knowing how Christmas scams are carried out can help people identify if they are being the victim of a scam.

One of the most common scams involves the victim receiving a phone call, a text message, an email or a message via social media. This message supposedly comes from a trustworthy institution in which they supplant the corporate identity and communicates to the person that they have been awarded a prize from a raffle in which they have not even participated. The intention of the scammers can range from taking our private data, including banking, to requesting a bank transfer as a fee to access the prize, among other excuses.

In this type of situation, it is necessary to avoid calling any number that is indicated – which is usually a high-rate telephone – as well as to avoid following the web link provided and, of course, making any type of payment. When communication occurs in writing, it is easier to identify fraud because they often make many mistakes and are poorly written.

All tickets must be purchased in authorized places to avoid counterfeiting and, in any case, it is necessary to check that the ticket has the logo, the code, the stamp of the vending entity or that it indicates that it is an authorized division.

Criminals sometimes use the internet to pretend to be authorized sellers through fraudulent websites. Official sales pages must have a URL (web address) with the characters https, whose “s” indicates that it is a trustworthy page. If they do not indicate where the purchase was sent from, the cost, a reliable means of contact with the company or the delivery date, it is possible that it is a scam attempt.

Despite being a scam almost as old as the Christmas raffle itself, many citizens continue to report having been victims of the “tocomocho” scam. The term “tocomocho” derives from the expression “touched a lot” and consists of the victim being approached by someone in the street with the excuse of having been awarded a prize and not being able to collect it for some reason. They even show you a false list of winning tickets where the number they have previously given you appears and offer you the supposedly winning ticket in exchange for a large sum of money. If you agree, they accompany you to your home or to the bank, collect the amount agreed and give you the ticket, which is not actually a winning ticket. The victims are usually elderly people, but although you may think that scammers are easy to identify, they are true professionals who act fast and are very credible, so it can be easy to fall into the trap.

The National Police offers ten recommendations that must be taken into account when buying lottery to avoid being a victim of a scam:

  1. Buy the lottery tickets for the draw only in authorized sites, either in physical establishments or online.
  2. If you make your purchase on the internet, save the emails related to it and take screenshots if necessary.
  3. Be suspicious of the messages you receive informing you that you have been awarded in a draw that you do not know and in which you have not participated.
  4. Check that your ticket has the logo, the code and all the verification elements.
  5. When you share the lottery with friends or family, photocopy the ticket and indicate who participates in that purchase and how much each of them plays.
  6. Try to keep the ticket in perfect condition, its deterioration could give you problems if it is awarded, and remember that it expires after three months.
  7. Take a picture of your ticket or write the number down in a safe place, the series and the elements that will help you to identify it if you lose it.
  8. Report the loss or theft of your ticket at any National Police station, in addition to notifying Loterías y Apuestas del Estado
  9. If you have been the victim of a scam, do not hesitate to report it by providing all the information you have about the authors and their modus operandi.
  10. And if you have not fallen for a scam but have information about it, inform the police at www.policia.es.

The Ministry of Health will install mobile vaccination devices for Black Friday in Plaza Mar and L’Aljub

The Conselleria de Sanidad Universal y Salud Pública is going to intensify the walk-in vaccination against covid-19 through mobile immunization points in spaces with a large influx of public, in order to bring the coronavirus vaccine to the public in the coming weeks.

In this way, people who, for whatever reason, have not yet been vaccinated against coronavirus or are waiting to receive a dose can approach these mobile vaccination points.

Specifically, the installation of two mobile points on the occasion of Black Friday is planned for next Friday, the 26th of November, one in front of the Valencia bullring (from 4pm to 9pm), and another next to the Ikea center of Alfafar (from 3pm to 9pm).

Likewise, in Alicante, vaccination points will be opened in the Plaza Mar shopping center, next Friday (from 3pm to 8pm hours) and Saturday (from 10am to 8pm), and in the L’Aljub shopping center in Elche on the 3rd December (5pm to 9pm).

On the other hand, in Castellón the vaccination point installed in the La Salera shopping center will remain active on the 26th of November (from 4pm to 9pm), and on the 3rd, 10th and 17th of December.

In addition, the Valencia Marathon will collaborate with the Ministry of Health to add a new mobile vaccination point, which will be located at the runner’s fair in the Ciutat de les Arts i les Ciències, so that the medical staff of the Generalitat Valenciana can vaccinate runners, family members, companions or anyone who comes on Friday the 3rd (from 10am to 2pm and 4pm to 8pm) and Saturday the 4th (from 10am to 2pm).

In this sense, the regional head of Health, Ana Barceló, has indicated that “from the Ministry of Health we will continue to insist on the importance of the vaccine to face the coronavirus. We are not going to tire of repeating that it is necessary to be vaccinated, and we will continue to offer all the possibilities that are within our reach to bring the vaccine to the public.”

Also, to date, more than 2,000 doses of vaccines have already been administered in these mobile covid-19 vaccination units, more than half have been administered in the province of Castellón. Specifically, vaccination devices have been installed in football stadiums such as Mestalla, Ciudad de Valencia – Levante UD, the Manuel Martínez Valero stadium in Elche or the La Cerámica stadium in Vila-real.

In addition, health professionals have traveled to vaccinate at festivals such as the Festival de Les Arts, and in Benidorm vaccination points have been installed in the Museu L’Hort de Colón, on the occasion of the central acts of the Major Patron Festivities, and at the Benidorm Foreign Tourist Service.

On the other hand, mobile vaccination points have been installed in shopping centers, as well as on university campuses to bring the vaccine to the younger population.

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