Local Daily News 27th November

Traffic jams due to works on CV-70 reach the N-332 in Benidorm

The works of adaptation of the median strips of the CV-70 are becoming a headache for the thousands of drivers who use this road every day to travel from La Nucía to the tourist capital or vice versa. But, in addition, the impact on traffic has worsened even more these days as it is acting on the area closest to Beniardà avenue, one of the largest traffic areas in Benidorm as it is the main entrance to the municipality and which already regularly registers retentions. This is a situation that makes drivers feel helpless and for which the City Council demands, among other things, that the lanes that are closed for safety be “reopened” when there is no work in this area.

The works carried out by the Ministry of Public Works and Mobility of the Generalitat Valenciana started a few weeks ago. The purpose of this action is to remove the vegetation that existed in the median strip of this road between La Nucía and Benidorm, a road through which almost 30,000 vehicles circulate daily. This vegetation was affecting the asphalt and the safety of the road. By the time the work started, the queues and retentions were already kilometers long and affected thousands of drivers in their normal daily tasks such as going to work, shopping or taking the children to school.

Almost a month later, the situation has worsened considerably as the machinery towards Benidorm has gained ground. At the moment, work is almost up to the roundabout where Avenida Beniardà begins and under the N-332 bridge. Thus, a lane has been cut in each direction so that, once any of the two existing roundabouts is accessed, drivers find themselves in a “funnel” to drive towards La Nucía. At rush hour, that is, at 9 a.m. or 2 p.m., for example, the retentions can be more than half an hour wait with moments of almost no movement. These traffic jams have reached the national highway on occasion due to the traffic jams on the roundabout at the entrance to Benidorm towards Beniardà avenue.

In addition, this situation is added to the fact that only a few meters further down, the frequent passage of the TRAM and the traffic lights also already leave a queue of vehicles that now worsens with this reduction of usable lanes, one on each side.

However, the City Council demands that “work be accelerated” to try to affect the drivers as little as possible. This was indicated by the Councilor for Mobility, José Ramón González de Zárate. “The works have created an added problem of mobility and traffic not only to Benidorm, but to the region,” he pointed out. So they demand that, at least when not working, the cut lanes be “freed”: “on weekends or at night the machinery could be removed and those lanes could be opened.”

All in all, the works on the CV-70 are serving as a “test” to see how some works that force traffic to be reordered at this main entrance and exit to Benidorm affect traffic. Because in a few months, Avenida Beniardà will be the epicenter of an important action to end the level crossing of the TRAM, which will also force to cut this road completely or reorganise the passage of vehicles.

Although the action on the CV-70 is being carried out to remove the current vegetation that affected safety, the mayor of Mobility pointed out that “we have asked that it not be all asphalt in the medians” but that “green areas” be left. 

Spain joins other EU countries with plans to restrict flights from southern Africa over fears of new coronavirus variant

Spain has joined another seven European Union countries that have decided to place restrictions on flights arriving from South Africa and Botswana due to the detection of a new variant of the coronavirus in those territories.

The move was announced on Friday by the health minister, Carolina Darias, who was speaking to state television network TVE. “We will take an agreement to restrict flights from South Africa and Botswana to the next Cabinet meeting, and also for other countries, but in principle it will be for these two,” she said. “We are also going to require not just vaccination [against Covid-19] for [passengers from] these countries, but also an antigen or PCR test.”

The next Cabinet meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, November 30, meaning that the measure could be approved that day.

Spain does not have any direct commercial flights between South Africa or Botswana, but passengers can travel to the country from these countries via connecting flights, cargo planes or private planes.

The new variant is known as B.1.1.529, and was discovered in South Africa. It has also been detected in Botswana, Hong Kong and Israel. It has 30 or so mutations and is highly contagious.

As well as Spain, Germany, Italy, France, Czech Republic, the Netherlands, Austria and Croatia are also placing restrictions on flights from the south of Africa. Outside of the EU, the other countries to introduce the measures – affecting South Africa, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Zimbabwe and Botswana – are the United Kingdom, Israel and Singapore.

The World Health Organization is meeting today in order to analyze the new variant. One case of the strain was detected today in Belgium, in a non-vaccinated person who had arrived from abroad. In Spain, no cases have been found so far.

The province of Alicante borders on the high risk of contagion after the rate of infection growing to 142 cases per 100,000 inhabitants

The province of Alicante is on the verge of a high risk of contagion of coronavirus, after the incidence has risen to almost 142 active cases per 100,000 inhabitants, 32 more than in the previous update, on Tuesday of this week, according to the data which the Ministry of Health announced Thursday. In three days, 966 cases have been registered throughout the demarcation, of which 241 have occurred in the Marina Baixa, the region that continues to show, by far, the most worrying situation. The number of patients in the province as a whole amounts to 2,610, almost 27% more than on Tuesday.

In the department attached to the Hospital de La Vila Joiosa, the increase in incidence in these three days has been even greater than in the province as a whole, with an increase of 47.6 points. With 662 active cases, the contagion rate stands at 362.08. Benidorm continues to offer a much worse record than the area as a whole, with an index of almost 521, while in La Vila Joiosa it also rises to 306.83. Two other important municipalities in the region, La Nucia and L’Alfàs del Pi, are also at extreme risk, with 291.8 and 259.46, respectively.

The Marina Baixa is the only area in extreme risk, but there are three high-risk departments, all of them with a sharp rise in recent days: Torrevieja, Elda and Dénia, with 195.58, 162.55 and 161.17 active cases per 100,000 inhabitants, respectively. The rest are at medium risk, with indices ranging between 131.72 points in the Sant Joan d’Alacant area and 124.35 in Alcoy, and 55.36 in Orihuela. The remaining three present relatively low values, compared to the provincial average, but in all of them a significant rise has also been registered. Thus, Elche-Crevillent presents a rate of 68.71, while in Alicante-General Hospital it is 73.29 and in Elche-General Hospital it is 82.56.

In the rest of the province there are several larger municipalities at extreme risk. The most prominent is Villena, with 107 active cases and an incidence of 313.28. Teulada is also in that situation, with 31 patients and a rate of 274.87. Likewise, the outlook has significantly worsened in Cocentaina, with 30 affected and an index of 260.48, and also in Castalla, where there are 29 active cases and the rate is 277.22. Likewise, there are several towns with an incidence greater than, or very close to, 200, such as Xàbia, Pedreguer, Altea, Pilar de la Horadada and Torrevieja. Elda, Petrer, Aspe, El Campello, Guardamar del Segura, Finestrat, Ondara and Pego are also at high risk, among other medium-sized populations.

The Ministry of Health detected 308 new cases of coronavirus in the province Thursday, which brings the total of those affected since the health crisis began to 193,179. The number of infections for the day was considerably lower than that of the previous day and also lower than that of Wednesday, but nevertheless it remained the third highest data corresponding to a single day since the beginning of September.

In the entire Valencian Community, 952 positives were reported, of which, apart from those mentioned in Alicante, 469 corresponded to the province of Valencia and 175 to that of Castellón. The accumulated autonomic positives now amount to 528,533. Meanwhile, 488 discharges were registered, that is, only half of the infections. And hospitalizations continue to grow rapidly. Thursday’s data indicates that there are 131 patients with covid-19 in health centers in the province of Alicante, ten more than the previous day; it is the highest figure since the 6th of September. Likewise, there are 29 admitted to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU), three more than the day before.

We must also mention the death of a person in the province of Alicante, which brings the total number of fatalities to 3,044. This patient was 54 years old, according to the Ministry of Health. It is the only death that has occurred in the last 24 hours in the Valencian Community. The regional death toll rises to 7,913.

Immunization of unvaccinated increases by 13% after the requirement of the covid passport in the hospitality industry

400,000 people have not yet been vaccinated against covid in the Valencian Community. The new measure is aimed at them, which from next week will be an obligation in the Valencian Community to present the covid passport to enter bars and restaurants. This new measure has not yet come into force and its effects seem to be beginning to affect that group of unvaccinated people, as the number of people who in the Valencian Community are receiving their first dose is increasing since Puig announced that covid passports would come into force to access the hospitality industry. Thus, 5,347 people have been vaccinated for the first time this past week, compared to 4,749 the previous week, which represents an increase of 13%. In the first week of November, 4,696 were immunized. An increase that also coincides with the rebound in covid infections and that is putting the Valencian Community in the sixth wave.

The largest number of unvaccinated people is within the age group 30 to 39 years, where only 77% of the population has been immunized, which contrasts with almost 90% of immunized people over 12 years of age. Twenty-something year old’s follow, with only 80% vaccinated. To try to protect everyone from the disease and thus achieve good herd immunity, the Ministry of Health has taken different actions, including moving mobile vaccination points to mass events and shopping centers.

The last measure to try to increase vaccination has been to implement, starting next week, the obligation to present the covid passport to access bars, restaurants, pubs and discos.

And while the Council entrusts itself to the covid passport almost as the only option to try to stop the sixth wave of the pandemic, experts in epidemiology and public health believe that more measures will be needed to avoid a significant increase in cases.

“It would be good to start applying measures to avoid crowds in closed spaces, a return to the limit of capacity, if we want to have a more or less quiet Christmas,” says Juan Francisco Navarro, president of the Valencian Society of Preventive Medicine. 

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