Local Daily News 28th November

British tourists can only enter Spain if they are fully vaccinated

In order for a British tourist to travel from Bristol to Alicante to spend the Christmas holidays in Benidorm, they must be vaccinated against covid. As of the 1st of December, Spain will only allow the entry of people from the United Kingdom with a vaccination certificate and not with negative diagnostic tests or with proof of having overcome the disease as admitted until now.

This is stated in a general provision of the Ministry of the Interior, published this Saturday in the BOE, which modifies the criteria for the application of the temporary restriction of non-essential trips from third countries to the European Union and Schengen associated countries for reasons of public order and public health due to the health crisis.

The United Kingdom has a vaccination rate of 68% and an incidence of infections that stands at around 900 cases per 100,000 inhabitants, a figure that they have maintained for a month since there have been no restrictive measures in the country since July.

After this announcement, the president of Hosbec, Toni Mayor, affirms that “everything that puts up barriers results in less tourism”, before the new announcement. From the hotel management of the Valencian Community they remember that they have always been very respectful of health regulations and the authorities, and they are calm. And Mayor clarifies that “in the United Kingdom there are already 20 million with the third dose. The classic tourist who comes to us in winter is people over 50 years of age and with the complete vaccination course.”

Even so, he acknowledges that “if there is a not a very large percentage of Britons who have not been vaccinated but, with all the restrictions that are being put in place in all countries, especially in hospitality and culture, the movement of the unvaccinated is tightening, and every day there are fewer unimmunized people. Yes, there is a percentage that could have an impact, but I think it would be a minority, ”says Mayor.

British tourism was one of those signaled by the increase in contagion rates in Benidorm, a city that reached high risk in mid-October. However, from the employer they insisted that these rates were distorted when calculating the number of infections on the census population and not the floating one that was in the town.

According to data from the Ministry, from the 1st of October to last Friday, 535 cases imported from other countries have been detected in the Valencian Community, 53 of them in the last seven days. The breakdown by origin only appears with state figures, among which travelers arriving from Germany and the United Kingdom stand out with 162 and 143 cases in the last four weeks.

Likewise, the BOE also includes a change in the entry criteria of those people from countries that exceed 250 cases per 100,000 inhabitants. Among them is Germany, whose travelers must present the covid certificate to enter.

The list of at-risk and high-risk countries is updated weekly. The current one, which will be in force until 24:00 on Sunday, considers Namibia, Botswana, Swaziland, Lesotho, Mozambique, South Africa and Zimbabwe as high risk.

Those who are at risk are required to have a vaccination certificate, a diagnostic test with a negative result, or confirmation that they have overcome the disease. And according to the BOE, as of Wednesday, December 1, Spain will only allow the entry of people from the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland with a vaccination certificate and not with negative diagnostic tests for covid or having overcome the disease as admitted up to now.

The Local Police of Elche reinforces controls against the proliferation of imported products

Black Friday this week has been the starting gun for the time of year in which consumption shoots up the most, some compulsive purchases that will have their moment covered at Christmas. The Local Police of Elche has set itself the objective that the people of Elche spend some festivities without surprises in relation to what they buy in the shops. This is the reason that has led the Unit of Establishments and Activities to reinforce the inspection in bazaars and multi-price stores for the detection of products alerted from the Ministry of Consumption, such as toys that contain small parts, toxic paints or wiring of lights or garlands that can start fires.

“Many of these toys arrive in containers from Asia and have their main sales in the bazaars, circumventing the barriers of the European Union”, explains the chief inspector of the Local Police unit, José Antonio Corrales, as a starting point of the Bell. If fraudulent items of this type are detected, they will be sealed for removal from sale and a report will be sent to the Ministry of Economy. “In the dates before Christmas is when these types of products usually arrive. Wiring that is not adapted for electrical current, for example, can cause domestic fires in Christmas trees or curtains,” adds Corrales.

The reinforcement of the inspection in this type of stores to check the safety of the trade has started this month and will last until mid-December. The agents of the Establishments and Activities Unit in charge of the controls are verifying, by reference, name or date of manufacture, that the products are not part of the catalog of fraudulent articles stipulated by Consumption, an inventory that can be consulted by any citizen in the Ministry’s own website. The campaign is carried out both in the neighborhoods of Elche and in the districts and pays special attention to the commercial activity that takes place in the industrial estates.

The Autonomous Police is collaborating with the Local Police in a campaign that was born with the spirit of giving consumer security at a time when the acquisition of toys and Christmas decorations is skyrocketing. As in other actions of this type, the agents also request the collaboration of both the establishments themselves and any buyer who can provide useful information. Eight agents of the police unit are in charge of carrying out the campaign in the morning and afternoon shifts.

At the time of this publication, some thirty shops have been reviewed, without major incidents, beyond the removal of some garlands. Despite this, the agents will not lower their guard in the inspection due to the importance of this matter, as evidenced by the fact that the Consumer catalog is made up of nearly 10,000 dangerous items.

In parallel to the reinforcement of the controls in bazaars and multi-price stores, the Local Police has started another campaign linked to the Christmas dates, although in this case it will be necessary to take into account the health evolution until the end of the year. The agents have already begun the inspection of party rooms to verify that the exit, emergency and evacuation controls are fulfilled, especially coming up to New Year’s Eve. In the same way, social networks are tracked in search of possible illegal parties that are being organized.

Ten million euros to reinforce the Vega Baja Hospital and the Puente Alto polygon against floods

The fateful flood of 2019 has been given a full name, DANA and resilience, for that ability to adapt to overcome traumatic episodes. Despite the fact that the Vega Baja is a flood zone, it has had an intense and exponential land occupation, with a predatory urban model. This increases the exposure to the danger and, therefore, increases the economic and human damages. “The key now is to try to reduce the risks,” explains Jorge Olcina, professor of Regional Geographic Analysis at the University of Alicante and commissioner of the Vega Renhace Plan. To do this, Antonio Oliva, who works on the technical part of this Consell roadmap, is preparing a report that identifies the most vulnerable buildings in the region. And it foresees 10 million in investment in two key facilities.

At the moment, he indicates, ten have been identified, both public and private, industrial estates and agricultural infrastructures. The priorities are the Vega Baja Hospital, “an essential facility that must be fully operational in the event of an emergency,” adds Oliva, and the Puente Alto polygon, of which “the daunting image of piled-up cars is remembered” during the DANA of 2019. “These are two facilities that are highly exposed to flood events in the Segura and the Rambla de Abanilla, respectively,” continues Olcina.

The first, in the undoubted plain of the river, was cut off by road for days and its sanitation network flooded, flooding the corridors on the ground floor. The second, in the area of ​​a promenade that “in its final section has a very diffuse layout, in the form of an alluvial fan directed towards the Segura riverbed itself,” Olcina continues. Some 200 workers were trapped in this industrial zone where two years later the effects of DANA are still palpable.

The Consell, through the Vega Renhace Plan, has proposed to improve the protection of these two buildings to the Ministry for the Ecological Transition, which has announced that it will invest 10 million euros. Although “it is still being studied how this investment will be carried out,” indicate sources from the department headed by Teresa Ribera, they will be incorporated into the program that was launched last year to adapt buildings to floods in order to minimize damage.

The first aid went to various municipalities in Campo de Cartagena, with 3 million euros for grants to public bodies, companies and individuals. Now there are already ten pilot projects distributed throughout the country. The Vega Baja Hospital and the Puente Alto industrial estate will be the first in the Valencian Community, whose main risk area is in the municipalities around the Segura river. These programs, after a diagnosis, propose “alternatives and self-protection measures to reduce or alleviate the damage to the installation, as well as an analysis of the costs and benefits”, the same sources emphasize.

“It is the beginning of a series of pilot projects to increase the resilience of the population to floods”, because Oliva does not rule out that some more could be included. The criteria for identification and selection, she insists, are based on the most vulnerable: schools, residences for the elderly and residences for people with disabilities, as well as fire stations and facilities for Civil Protection services.

It is about redirecting what exists, recovering and even reinventing ourselves. “The Renhace is a key bet for the region,” emphasizes Olcina, adding that “it is the last train that the Vega Baja has for its adaptation to climate change and resilience in the face of extreme events, an opportunity that should not be missed”. 

This same week the municipal plenary session of Orihuela approved the transfer of a plot for a new fire station, in “land with geomorphological danger, linked to the torrential fan of the northern slope of the Sierra de Orihuela and close to the Rambla de Abanilla”, they warn from Amigos de los Humedales del Sur de Alicante. It should not be forgotten that “flood risk maps regulate uses and save lives,” Olcina concludes.

After a year visiting the Vega Baja and meetings with representatives of the 27 municipalities of the region, Antonio Alonso, director of the Vega Renhace Plan, has held a meeting with the Orihuela Water Court to review the works against floods through sustainable drainage systems: “This is the first of a round of contacts that we are going to have with the 17 water courts, unions and irrigation communities, organizations that represent a key sector of the traditional garden.”

The General Hospital of Alicante leads a technique to remove tumors while preserving more parts of the lung.

Improve patient recovery and ensure a higher quality of life are the two great advantages of a surgical technique in which the General Hospital of Alicante has specialized and which is aimed at patients with lung cancer.

Through this surgical procedure, called sublobar anatomical resection, thoracic surgeons are able to remove the tumor by removing a minimal part of the lung and with the same results as with conventional techniques by which more parts of this organ were removed.

In this way, the patients, mostly smokers and with previous respiratory problems, “manage to preserve greater lung capacity, which leads to a better recovery and a lower risk of complications,” explains Jorge Cerezal, head of the Thoracic Surgery Service of the General Hospital of Alicante.

“Traditionally, in this type of surgery, larger parts of the lung were removed. In recent years and especially in the last, with the publication of the most powerful clinical trial that has been done so far, it has been seen that with the same margin of safety and with the same results, resections of smaller parts can be performed,” Details Carlos Gálvez, surgeon of the service. In the most extreme cases, 20% of what would have been removed a few years ago with conventional techniques is removed from the patient.

This operation is indicated for patients with lung cancer in early stages, without metastasis or lymph node involvement and when the tumor is small, no more than two centimeters.

The hospital center serves as a reference to operate on patients throughout the province and at the national level is, together with the Barcelona Clinic, the one that makes the most interventions of this type per year.

Currently around fifty operations are performed annually, which account for a third of all surgical treatments for lung cancer and the growth is exponential. This figure “is also above European standards, at 15%”, both professionals explain. This increase in the number of interventions has been possible because with the improvement of imaging techniques, patients with lung cancer are diagnosed earlier, so they may be candidates to benefit from this operation. “Before, patients arrived with much more advanced tumors, so it was unthinkable to be able to apply this technique,” adds Jorge Cerezal.

The longer life expectancy also makes patients who have undergone cancer surgery relapse from the disease over the years or develop new tumors that force them to undergo surgery again. “With the old techniques, many patients could not be operated on again because their lung capacity had been greatly reduced,” explains Gálvez.

In addition, the operation is carried out using minimally invasive techniques with which it is only necessary to make a four-centimeter incision, which also helps the patient recover faster and better. A whole medical advance that “without anesthesiologists and operating room nurses would be impossible,” both professionals emphasize.

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