Local Daily News 24th November
The province registered ten deaths in one day for the first time in eight months
The pandemic continues in a clear upward trend in the province of Alicante, as revealed by the different data released by the Ministry of Health, in the daily cases, hospitalized infections, and incidence after 14 days. In a single day, ten deaths were reported, something that had not happened in more than eight months; you’d have to go back to the 17th of March to find similar data. Thus the number of deaths accumulated since March 2020 stood at 3,040.
In the rest of the Valencian Community, another five deaths were registered, leaving the total number of victims of the pandemic in the Valencian Community at 7,906. According to the Ministry of Health, these 15 people were between 67 and 97 years old.
Sunday was also one of the days with the most infections in the last two months. The Ministry of Health reported 206 new cases in the province, the second highest daily figure in more than two months. Apart from the 221 positives reported last Friday, since the 8th of September there had not been a higher figure corresponding to a single day. Those affected since March 2020 already stand at 192,111.
In the entire Valencian Community, they recorded 599 positives, 279 in the province of Valencia and 114 in that of Castellón. The accumulated number of cases throughout the pandemic is 525,170. Meanwhile, there were 373 discharges, a figure well below the new infections, and which shows that the curve continues to rise. In the whole of the autonomous territory there were 6,843 active cases as of yesterday, 211 more than the previous day.
While this is going on, the contagion rate, as is logical, also continues to rise. Thus, the incidence has risen 28 points in four days, to stand at 110.57 active cases per 100,000 inhabitants, according to data published yesterday by the Ministry of Health. The department of Orihuela is the only one in the province that has had a positive evolution in this time, having only 18 infections and lowering the number of active cases from 75 to 70. It also has the lowest rate, 41.67.
There is only one other health area that remains at low risk, although with the medium risk threshold already very close. This is Elche-Crevillent, whose incidence is 45.17. Of the remainder, almost all are at medium risk, although with significant fluctuations between them. The Elche-General Hospital presents a rate of 56.24 and Alicante-General Hospital a rate of 67.48, and that of Alcoy is not very high, which stands at 81.19. On the other hand, Elda and Sant Joan d’Alacant are at 112.94 and 113.86, respectively, while in Dénia it amounts to 127.77 and Torrevieja is close to high risk with 144.91.
However, nothing remains without being comparable in the rest of the province, at least for the moment, with what is happening in the Marina Baixa, whose situation was already delicate and is now getting even worse. In four days, 317 positives have been reported. The current incidence in this area is 314.5 active cases per 100,000 inhabitants, that is, practically three times the provincial average. In the entire Valencian Community, only the department of Gandia presents a worse record, with 330.25. Likewise, the Castellón de la Plana area is in the same position as the Marina Baixa, with a rate of 314.12.
Benidorm and La Vila Joiosa continue to be the main sources of the virus in the latter region. Its main municipality has a rate of 435.77, with 307 sick people. For its part, the incidence in the historic capital is 284.1, and those affected are 100. There are three other municipalities at extreme risk, but they are more circumstantial, caused by its small population, since these are Relleu, Orxeta and Benimantell. However, all other towns in the region with more than 5,000 inhabitants are at high risk, that is, Altea, L’Alfàs del Pi, La Nucia, Callosa d’en Sarrià and Finestrat. Outside of the Marina Baixa, the situation in Teulada should also be highlighted, whose 31 active cases also give rise to an extreme risk rate of 274.87.
La Palma volcano creates new delta in the sea, prompting authorities to confine 3,000 people
The lava flowing from the volcano on the Spanish Canary Island of La Palma made new contact with the sea on Monday, at around 12pm local time (one hour behind Spain). The risk to residents of the gases that emanate from the water when the molten rock makes contact prompted the authorities to confine around 3,000 residents of the municipality of Tazacorte. The new delta formed by the lava is in an area known as El Perdido, located some three kilometers south of the Tazacorte port and some two kilometers from the other delta that came into existence on the 28th of September.
The tongue that reached the sea on Monday has been receiving the largest amount of lava in recent days from the center of the eruption, which began on the 19th of September and shows no sign of letting up right now. The sudden contact with the ocean was “another surprise from this volcano,” according to Miguel Ángel Morcuende, the technical director of the team of experts monitoring the phenomenon, the Volcano Risk Prevention Plan (Pevolca).
At the same time, lava is still reaching the first delta, which grew another seven hectares in surface area in just a day to a total of 1,068 hectares. The lava has destroyed a total of 1,481 properties, according to data from the public land registry. Of these, 1,193 were residential homes.
When molten rock, which has a temperature of around 1,000ºC, reaches the 20ºC sea water off La Palma there is an explosion of steam that generates a dense black cloud. The lava also creates a chemical reaction, mostly of chlorine, which can irritate people’s skin, eyes and respiratory tracts.
According to the United States Geological Service, there are four main dangers associated with lava flowing into the ocean. These are: the sudden collapse of the land and cliffs on the coast; explosions caused by such a collapse; waves of boiling water; and a column of toxic steam containing hydrochloric acid and small particles of volcanic crystals.
These risks prompted Pevolca to confine residents in Tazacorte, which is home to 2,500 people, as well as San Borondón (this is the third time it has been locked down since the eruption started), and part of the population of El Cardón.
Miguel Ángel Morcuende warned on Monday that the air quality in the east of La Palma would continue to make local air travel impossible. On Tuesday, Spanish air authority Aena announced that the airport on La Palma would remain closed for a fourth day due to the dangers presented by the volcanic ash. Binter, an airline that runs routes between the Canary Islands, also confirmed today that all of its flights would be canceled.
The use of FFP2 masks was also recommended, as well as avoiding open-air activities in the municipalities of Santa Cruz de La Palma, Breña Alta and Breña Baja (in the east of the island).
The emission of sulfur dioxide from the volcano dropped sharply from Sunday to Monday, to around 900 to 1,300 tons a day. Pevolca spokesperson Carmen López said on Monday that this does not necessarily mean that the eruption is losing energy, and said that the data point would have to be monitored over the coming days. The emission of this gas constitutes one of the most trustworthy measures for the intensity of the eruption.
The National Geographic Institute detected 43 earthquakes on Monday night. Of these, three were stronger than 4 on the Richter scale. The biggest tremor, measuring 4.8, was in Villa de Mazo at a depth of 39 kilometers, and took place at 1.03am. Seconds later, another tremor measuring 4.7 was detected in the same place.
Climate change increases the formation of Gota Frias in Alicante by 20%
Climate change is going to cause the formation of more gota frias over the Mediterranean and with more virulence than a few decades ago. In fact, since 1980 the number of gota frias has increased by 20% in the Mediterranean, according to statistics from the Climatology Laboratory of the University of Alicante. “That means that they can arrive at any time of the year. It is no longer a phenomenon limited to the end of summer or autumn, but can occur even in winter”, as Jorge Olcina, director of the Laboratory, pointed out yesterday. The other key factor is the temperature of the sea water, which has risen 1.4 degrees since 1982 off the coast of the province. Two factors that make these storms possible. “Change the way it rains. It also rains more intensely”, Jorge Olcina stressed.
The increase in the temperature of the Mediterranean Sea off the coast has become the main problem related to the advance of climate change, and its derivative in Alicante: the formation of episodes of gota frias, like the one the other morning, growing more virulent at any time of year and not just in the fall.
And far from diminishing, all the forecasts of the experts, including those of the UN panel of scientists, warn that the phenomenon will increase in the next 50 years. Directly related to this increase in heat that rises from the sea will also be the formation of the already popular waterspouts, which are generated in the interior of the sea and then advance towards the coast, sometimes causing damage.
To this is added the one that will increase the repetition of episodes such as the drop in atmospheric pressure in summer, which will cause meteorological tsunamis such as those that caused the sea to enter Santa Pola last August, Guardamar and in the yacht club of Torrevieja during an early morning.
The UA Climatology Laboratory confirms that the risk of torrential rains (popularly known as gota fria) is no longer an autumn phenomenon, but has been extended to nine months a year, specifically since the beginning from spring to late fall. The seasonal change in rainfall and the intensification of showers, the increase in “tropical nights” and the warming of the sea are three clear pieces of evidence of climate change in the Spanish Mediterranean coast.
The variation in rainfall is reflected in an increase in rainfall in autumn and a fall in spring, which should have a direct impact on hydrological planning, since the waters in the first quarter of the year are very valuable for development with normality of agricultural activity and for the accumulation of water reserves in reservoirs and aquifers.
These reserves should allow, according to Jorge Olcina, to meet the increase in water expenditure in the warm months of the year, so the decrease should be included in the future National Hydrological Plan, which will have to be drawn up in the coming years, in order to “Avoid short-term supply problems.”
The requirement of the covid passport causes a black market of false vaccination certificates to emerge
They advertise on well-known social networks and offer to forge covid passports for people who do not want to be vaccinated. As the vaccination certificate has been imposed to enter bars and restaurants in half of Europe and now it seems that also in Spain, a black market of people who want to take advantage of doing business is beginning to emerge by falsifying the certificate issued by the Ministry of Health.
For an amount ranging from 50 to 250 euros you can get a false passport and those behind its issuance act in a more or less sophisticated way. There are alleged groups of health workers opposed to how the pandemic is being managed who offer to use the daily doses left over from the covid vaccines to falsely assign them to another person and thus allow them to appear as vaccinated. They ask for 50 euros in advance and demand to do the operation in cryptocurrencies to complicate being tracked.
On other profiles, false certificates are also offered to be able to travel around different countries, from the United Kingdom to Ireland, the United States or Australia. They show images of the passports they have issued and even photos of “clients” showing the false document. In other groups with a clearly Anti Vax profile, advice is given on how to contact counterfeiters and which ones are the least reliable.
The Ministry of Health has not yet received any complaint for the falsification of passports, although they point out that so far this certificate has hardly been used on a mandatory basis in the Valencian Community. Sources from the National Police also point out that at the moment they do not have records on forgery of covid passports and they also wait for it to become mandatory in bars to verify that there are irregularities in this regard.
The Civil Guard has already warned of the activity of these groups. If the Covid passport is forged, a document issued by the public health services of the autonomous communities, this act could be understood as a forgery of a public document. This crime carries prison sentences of six months to three years and a fine of six to twelve months.
From the leisure and hospitality sectors they have asked the Generalitat to equip them with the necessary means to be able to detect possible counterfeits and not bear the responsibility of an outbreak occurring in a business from an unvaccinated person. When asked about this question, the Ministry of Health indicates that all the details will be given when the regulation of the covid passport is presented in the Valencian Community
On the other hand, the download of covid passports has doubled in the last week, coinciding with the announcement by Ximo Puig that this document will be a requirement to enter certain hospitality establishments from the December bank holiday. Between the 15th and 21st of November, 218,271 documents were downloaded compared to 114,184 the previous week, according to data provided by the Ministry of Health. This represents an average of 31,181 certificates each day.
Since the Covid vaccination certificate issuance service was launched in the Valencian Community, a total of 2,254,335 certificates have been issued, including 24,914 for tests, 30,516 for recovery and 2,198,905 for vaccination.
Of all of them, 1,835,190 (81.4%) were created online and 419,145 (18.6%) in person.
The president of the Generalitat Valenciana, Ximo Puig, announced this Monday that the obligation to present the covid hospitality passport will be implemented in the Valencian Community before the Constitution Bridge, as the experts claimed.
Puig added that the proposal that will be sent to the Supreme Court in order to obtain the court’s endorsement to implement this certificate is currently being finalized. Having the approval of this court is essential to avoid what had happened in other autonomies, where Justice has ended up overturning the norm.
The Generalitat has not yet specified in which areas of the Valencian Community the obligation to be vaccinated to gain access will be implemented. Puig has repeated that it will be in closed spaces “where there is more possibility of contagion and where wearing a mask and keeping distance is more complicated.”