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Local Daily News 25th November

The covid passport will be mandatory to access the interior of the pubs, restaurants and discos in the Valencian Community

Presenting the covid passport will be mandatory in restaurants, shops, and entertainment venues in the Valencian Community, however football stadiums and other places where a high number of people are concentrated will be excluded from this measure. Nor will it be necessary to be vaccinated to make use of terraces or cinemas or theaters. This is how the Minister of Health, Ana Barceló, and the Regional Secretary of Tourism, Francesc Colomer, transmitted it to representatives of the main employers of the sector in the Community: Hosbec and Conhostur, to hoteliers, and the Business Confederation of the Valencian Community.

According to sources present at this meeting, the criteria for implementing this measure is to do it in closed spaces where it is necessary to remove the mask at some point to consume food or drink. In this sense, hotel restaurants and hospitality establishments integrated into shopping centers would also be included. It remains to be determined if there is a capacity limit from which this document is required and therefore smaller premises would be exempt from applying the measure – an issue that may be resolved this Thursday at the meeting of the Interdepartmental Commission, which will determine how the document is implemented. The objective of the Council is that the measure is operational before the December bank holiday and that its validity is extended only for the essential time while the transmission of the virus returns to lower values, as Barceló has transferred to the representatives of the sector. As soon as the measure to enter these spaces is operational, it will be necessary to be vaccinated or provide a negative PCR test done in the last 72 hours or an antigen test in the last 48 hours.

The objective of the Ministry of Health is that with this measure it is possible to increase the vaccination rate in the Valencian Community and achieve that a good part of the 400,000 people who have not yet been vaccinated change their opinion.

And although the measure has the support of specialists in Public Health, there are experts who warn of possible risks. This is the case of Salvador Peiró, a researcher from the Department of Public Health of Fisabio and one of the experts who advises the Council on this pandemic. Peiró has warned in an interview on À Punt Radio that the negative aspect of this measure “is that it can give the false confidence that because they are vaccinated they do not have to take other measures, such as the use of a mask or ventilation.” Although Peiró believes that the health authorities have insisted on the need to maintain these precautions, “among the public it seems that the certificate provides additional security.” That is why he believes that the fundamental strategy to face the increase in cases is not the covid passport, but the use of a mask, ventilation and vaccination.

The Public Health expert recalled that in closed spaces “there are no safe spaces and vaccinated people can get infected.” Regarding the situation of the pandemic in the Community, Peiró explains that the transmission of the virus is not only increasing, but it is doing so “faster than two and three weeks ago.” The positive, in his opinion, is that “serious cases do not rise so much and that is what matters to us.” In this sense, the specialist believes that the situation in Spain and the Valencian Community will not reach the levels that are being registered in other European countries.

Restaurants and entertainment venues where vaccinations are required to access will have a computer application that will connect to a monitoring system at European level and that allows verifying whether the document displayed is correct. This solves one of the main doubts that employers had when applying this measure and about the responsibility in the event that a client presents a false document. In order to comply with data protection, restaurants and entertainment venues will not keep a record of the people who access the premises or their vaccination status, since this data will be erased.

The risk of ending up in the hospital for unvaccinated young people between 12 and 30 years of age is multiplied by 14

If you are not immunized against covid-19, you have up to 18 times the risk of ending up in hospital, whatever your age, and the average risk of contracting coronavirus is three times higher, eight times higher if you are between 60 and 80 years old.

The biggest difference and the most evident proof of the role that vaccines are playing is in this age group: those who are not vaccinated and are already in their sixties or seventies have a risk of dying from covid that is 25 times higher than those who are protected against the disease.

These are the main conclusions of the new information on cases and their severity by vaccination status that the Ministry of Health offers since Tuesday, finally listening to the clamor of those who asked to know, with data, what were the differences in infections and hospitalizations between the vaccinated and the unvaccinated. The Ministry of Health had hinted during these weeks the great difference that existed in the ICUs but they had also wanted to explain that, although now there are more patients admitted who are fully vaccinated than those who are not, the risk of ending In the hospital should not be worked out from looking at the total figures but rather at what they represent compared to the total number of vaccinated or not vaccinated: the incidence rates, because 10 hospitalized out of 4 million vaccinated is not the same as 10 hospitalized out of 450,000 unvaccinated.

Thus, the ministry’s data make it clear that the incidences of contagions that are being seen in recent days have nothing to do with whether they speak of immunized or not immunized patients. The risk of becoming infected according to the average weekly incidence increases up to eight times whether they are vaccinated or not, and the risk of ending up in hospital is high even among the youngest: 14 times higher for people between 12 and 30 years old. In those over 80 years of age, the differences are smoothed out because it is an age group with many pathologies in which covid can destabilize other diseases, as happens with the flu, but even in the oldest, the risk of ending up in the ICU is 24 times higher for the unvaccinated.

Asaja promotes the protected geographical indication for lemons grown in the Vega Baja

The agricultural organization Asaja Alicante is going to set up the administrative process that allows the production of lemons from the Vega Baja to be the first product in the region to have the quality seal of protected geographical indication (PGI). The uniqueness of the Vega Baja lemon, with which it can be distinguished from the rest of the market, is determined by the salinity of the waters and the land used for its production. These conditions give the lemon, in this case as a condiment, a specific flavor, resistance, juice and size, according to Asaja.

Obtaining the PGI requires a complementary effort from the producers themselves integrated in the geographical indication when investing in a headquarters as a regulatory council of the geographical indication, as well as their own work team for the investigation and promotion of the protected product and the administrative work of registering plantations, warehouses and conditioning and packaging facilities.

The citrus fruits of the Vega Baja and the province of Alicante, in a generic way, are already covered with a PGI throughout the Valencian Community under the name of “Valencian Citrus”, approved in 2003. But the idea of ​​Asaja is that the lemon Vega Baja appears with its own brand and subregion in this protection framework.

This initiative will be debated at the First Citrus Workshop of Asaja Alicante, focused on the current situation and the future of lemon cultivation, which will be hosted next Saturday by the CAM Foundation of Orihuela with the support of the Orihuela City Council and the Juan Gil Albert Institute of the Alicante Provincial Council, an appointment presented today by the mayor Emilio Bascuñana and the president of Asaja, José Vicente Andreu.

The PGI is one of the quality regimes in the European Union that identifies a food product as originating in a specific place, a region or a country, with a differentiated quality, a reputation or characteristics that can essentially be attributed to its geographical origin and “At least one of its stages of production, transformation or processing takes place in the defined geographical area.” To achieve this, some regulated requirements at the European level are necessary, but unlike the protected designation of origin, part of the raw material, or part of the production, transformation or elaboration process, can come from or can be carried out outside the geographic location, as long as the reputation and traditional quality of the area is guaranteed.

Despite the great economic and social weight of the agricultural activity of the Vega Baja in Europe, it lacks products protected under a PGI. The production of mollar pomegranate from 40 municipalities of Vega Baja, Baix Vinalopó and L’Alacantí, is protected by a protected designation of origin but under the heading “of Elche”, while the project of geographical indication for artichoke, promoted by the Asociación Alcachofa Vega Baja, presents difficulties because it should also integrate Murcian producers and the farmers of Bajo Segura do not want the Vega Baja brand itself, which has already been internalized by the consumer due to its quality and with a significant commercial pull, be diluted with other origins.

Among the contributions planned for the I Citrus Conference is that of David Bernabé López, doctor and researcher at the Miguel Hernández University and expert in Agro-environmental economics, who will address the figures of the agri-food quality brand for lemon from the Vega Baja, in addition to a conference on the project to promote the consumption of Spanish lemon in the United States, Canada and Europe, by the head of Consumption of the Interprofessional Association of Lemon and Grapefruit (Ailimpo).

In a standard campaign, the lemon produced in the province of Alicante, concentrated in Bajo Segura, has a turnover of around 110 million euros per year. It is the one with the greatest economic weight followed by far by the grape, with 66 million and the orange tree with 51, according to data from the University of Alicante. 40% of the national production of lemons in Spain has its origin in the terraces of the orchard and in the fields of the Vega Baja. It adds up to almost 30% of the national turnover. More than 90% of the ten thousand hectares planted with lemon trees in the province of Alicante are located in the Vega Baja, with an increasing growth of the organic product thanks mainly to the demand of the European market, despite the price increase that carries.

Benidorm claims the management of its treatment plants

The local government of Benidorm, of the PP, will take a motion in plenary session next Monday to demand from the Valencian Courts and the FVMP the modification of the legislation so that local entities can directly manage their treatment plants, outside of EPSAR. The request was already formulated a year ago by the City Council, which still has not received a response from the Ministry, recalled this Wednesday the councilor for Water Cycle, José Ramón González de Zárate, and coincides with the latest investment made by the municipality: the installation of a new pump in one of the Sierra Helada pumping stations, a “key machinery because if it fails it could have uncontrolled discharges into the sea,” the mayor has warned.

González de Zárate recalled that Benidorm pays EPSAR 6.2 million in Sanitation Canon annually, “while the maintenance cost of the treatment plant does not reach 4 million”, so that “2.2 million remainder is they remain in the hands of the entity, which should be used to show solidarity with the treatment plants of small municipalities and to improve the treatment plant in Benidorm, something that is not happening”. According to calculations by technicians, in the last 10 years EPSAR has achieved a remainder of “about 20 million”, while the City Council has invested “more than 3 million between its own investments and those of the concessionaire.”

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