Local Daily News 29th October

Halloween defies fear in Benidorm

Until recently, in most homes this foreign party that aired skeletons, mummies or ghosts, garnished with a good dose of pumpkins, to celebrate the night before our traditional All Saints was viewed with suspicion. However, the increasingly strong pull of Halloween, especially among the younger audience, has ended up imposing this celebration and encompassing all fields – including that of tourism. Dozens of hotels in Benidorm and other destinations on the Costa Blanca have launched special packages for these days, hoping that the feast of the dead will serve as a catalyst to leave another “golden weekend” in the province this bank holiday weekend and allow to counteract the cancellations registered in some establishments as a result of the controversy caused by the rate of covid-19 infections in Benidorm.

The packages include stays of two or three nights, which include themed dinners, special buffets, costume parties, children’s workshops, animation or magic and horror shows, with offers starting from just over 400 euros per room for a family with children, with the possibility of adding other rates to this price, such as full board or all-inclusive. And it does not end there. Because many establishments add other hooks for the public, such as raffles, prizes, discounts to enter theme parks, etc., as well as the possibility of joining the theme dinners for clients who are not staying at the hotel and who want to celebrate the night of the 31st of October in style.

In the absence of outlining the forecast data for these days on Friday, sources from the Hosbec hotel association indicate that the Todos los Santos bank holiday weekend was called to be “a great weekend”, as was the Pilar bank holiday weekend in October. Not surprisingly, the data that they handled until this Thursday indicate that the average occupancy could skyrocket above 85%. “This bank holiday weekend is one of the dates that many people traditionally took advantage of to travel abroad, to some European capital, but many clients still have certain qualms about going abroad, so they prefer to stay in Spain, so everything indicates that it could end up being a very good weekend” for the hotel sector, as sources from the employers’ association advance.

Hotel managers or reception managers of some establishments consulted testify to this. “We have very good forecasts and there is still some time to go,” they maintain, since they explain that, without a doubt, the Halloween pull will also have a lot to do with the final results of the bank holiday weekend.

From Hosbec they also point out that the cancellations registered in recent days as a result of the negative news about the risk of coronavirus infections in Benidorm, which from the sector estimate around 15%, “will not affect the results of this weekend, since they mostly have to do with subsequent stays, many of them related to trips for groups of older people” that are being organized by agencies, associations or even city councils to make up for the standstill of the Imserso program.

Faced with the cancellation of some reservations detected among hoteliers by the data published by Health on the accumulated incidence of covid in the city, the Association of Tourist Apartments of Benidorm and the Costa Blanca (Aptur) assures that its associates “have not observed an upturn in cancellations after the announcement of an increase in positive covid cases made by the minister” Ana Barceló. The president of this group, Miguel Ángel Sotillos, maintains that this denotes “the high perception of security of the client staying in a holiday home”, but even so he called the performance of the Department “incorrect”, “knowing that the real ratio would be a third of that calculated by them” due to the real population. For this reason, they reproach them for having “been able to cause irreparable damage to the tourism sector, which continues to hang by a thread.”

The first freight train between Alicante and London has to use tracks from the 1950’s due to the delay in the Mediterranean Corridor

The first freight train in history to directly connect Alicante with the logistics terminal of Barking (London), to later distribute fruit and vegetables of Alicante and Murcia in the main cities of the United Kingdom, makes its first trip loaded with 15 reefer containers that will arrive in the capital of England next Monday. The train left the port yesterday afternoon and had to use the railway infrastructure of the mid-twentieth century, because the port of Alicante is still at the tail of the Mediterranean Corridor, since the The Ministry of Development continues without approving the project, providing it with a budget and executing it, having turned it into the great pending issue of the Ministry of Transport with the province of Alicante. The departure of the train, whose frequency will, in principle, be weekly and it is expected that it will also serve to import English products to the province, became a milestone in the history of the port, promoted together with private initiative. The forecast is that the train, with a maximum capacity of up to 40 wagons, although the normal thing is that the average composition is 20/30 for operational reasons, will leave every Thursday from the port, cross the border through La Junquera and from there, already in French territory, continue towards Calais and then to London through the Eurotunnel.

The Ministry of Transport once again forgets Alicante and this was evident in the summit held Tuesday by Minister Raquel Sánchez and President Ximo Puig in Valencia where the head of Infrastructure announced a multimillion-dollar investment to bury the AVE and the Euromed as it passed through capital of the Turia, and advanced that Renfe’s “low cost” train, the Avlo, will begin to circulate between Valencia and Madrid in March 2022, coinciding with the Fallas, without dedicating a word to the future Alicante-Madrid railway link, despite the fact that it is a corridor with two million passengers a year.

It also ignored what affects the rail connection of the port of Alicante with the corridor. The Ministry will allocate more than 377 million euros in 2022 to promote works on the Mediterranean Corridor such as the La Encina-Xátiva-València section, the adaptation to the standard gauge in the València-Castellón-Vandellós section and the development of intermodal and logistics terminals, as well such as access to ports such as Castellón and the Valencia-Fuente de San Luis terminal, but there is not so much as one euro budgeted for the Port of Alicante.

The delay in connecting the port with the Mediterranean Corridor continues to weigh down the province for the benefit of València and Sagunto. At the end of 2015, the Port recovered the railway terminal that connects the Iberian width with Madrid, but lacks a link to the Mediterranean Corridor, when the goal was to move 200,000 containers per year by 2022, 40,000 more than at present.

For the moment, the Ministry of Development has only implemented that the link is in conventional width, so that large European freight trains cannot access the docks. The most affected economic sectors are marble, toys, textiles, construction and everything related to the delivery of supplies to the Canary Islands. The international link would cost 15 million euros.

The fact is that the Ministry of Transport does have the rail link with the port in its plans, but the plan is paralysed. The execution was divided into three sections, two of which must be carried out by the Ministry of Transport, and the third, already within the port, will have to be financed by the Alicante Port Authority. The works will not finish before 2025, the year in which the entire corridor is expected to finish, as there are long delays in the sections between Andalusia and Murcia.

The first case of the Delta Plus variant of covid in the Community has been detected in the health department of Elche

The first case of the Delta Plus variant of covid detected in the Valencian Community has been detected in Elche. The Ministry of Health reported this first case on Thursday in the health department of the General Hospital of Elche, which was also the gateway to the Indian variant.

The province is at a nerve center and both the airport and the industrial capacity of Elche favor population exchange and the circulation of the virus. Reports on this variant warn of an increase in the transmissibility of the virus between 10% and 15%.

The discovery in the General Hospital of Elche of the first cases of the new variants of covid since the pandemic began is not a coincidence. In Elche there is one of the four complete sequencing platforms available to the Foundation for the Promotion of Health and Biomedical Research in the Community (FISABIO). The others are in the General Hospital of Valencia, Alicante and Castellón. The research platform evaluates the different vaccines that will be released to fight the virus. As of the 21st of April, 1,135 complete sequencings had been carried out.

The expert who works in Elche does so with the samples of patients from said Hospital, although there is the possibility that other centers in the province come with their samples because a patient has a different pathology or they discover that the treatment applied does not work and it may be due to the appearance of a new variant.

This Thursday there were five admissions in the General Hospital of Elche, two in the ward and three in the ICU (and another three in the Hospital del Vinalopó, one in intensive care). But the fact that it was detected in Elche does not mean that it is from one of these patients and the Ministry of Health, due to data protection protocols, does not provide more information.

On the other hand, specialists consulted by this newspaper warn that the half a million people in the Community who have not wanted to be vaccinated can continue to spread the virus, and even become a serious problem for the health system that could collapse if a sixth wave is generated.

This is what Dr. Francisco Jover, a specialist in infectious diseases at the Sant Joan Hospital, warns, who strongly recommends that 10% of the population, excluding around 100,000 minors, get vaccinated “because the virus is going for everyone and, because there are some unvaccinated, it is difficult to maintain immunity. He estimates that group immunity could be achieved if it exceeds 90% of the vaccinated population, but states that this 10% of reluctance is not breaking the herd effect, it is just that “they can spread because current vaccines prevent the disease but not infection”.

The head of the Preventive Medicine service at the General Hospital of Alicante, José Sánchez, confirms that immunity decreases over time; that the slight decrease has been verified in the case of covid, but that it is mainly focused on a mild infection. “Vaccine effectiveness does not drop significantly against severe infection,” he says.

Nevertheless, he warns about the variables that can escape the vaccine, although in the weekly controls in Alicante no alarm has been generated. “We are not detecting the Delta Plus at the moment, but we are absolutely on top of it”, he asserted before it was known that this variant has already been registered in Elche.

The UA professor specializing in Immunology José Miguel Sempere also considers that we must not lose sight of the British Delta Plus “because they are global and will probably generate a new wave as long as the vast majority are not vaccinated. Any aggressive variant of the virus can destroy the current freedom of movement in twelve hours,” he warns.

Also the president of the Society of Preventive Medicine, Rafael Ortí, insists that Delta Plus cases are going to arrive – as has already happened in Elche – while at the same time affecting the immunosenescence or gradual deterioration of the immune system caused by the natural advance of age.

From the General Hospital of Elche, the head of Preventive Medicine, Juan Francisco Navarro, appreciates that the current vaccines are designed for short periods of about six months “which is what the pandemic was expected to last”, and that, in the absence of population to vaccinate, the third dose in the elderly is convenient. “New generations of vaccines will come to prevent COVID infection but it will be imperfect in the future,” he ventures.

Jover also defends the double vaccine, with the flu vaccine, because the similarity of the symptoms this winter could lead to repeat PCR, home isolations and admissions that can be avoided beforehand. The immunologist Sempere adds the convenience of making personalized tests to the population about their immunity, although he admits that it implies the additional effort of health staff that should be supplemented. “Although it is more expensive, we tend towards individualized medicine.”

A Finnish man has been arrested for killing and dismembering his partner in Torrevieja

A macabre discovery of a dismembered body of a woman yesterday placed Torrevieja as the epicenter of crime, as has happened in the past. A homeless man searching a garbage container located at the back of a Torrevieja supermarket initially discovered a leg with painted toenails. The man stopped searching any more and raised the alarm. The Civil Guard located the second leg and an arm of the woman, as well as a blanket with traces of blood. Hours later, a 70-year-old Finnish man who was prowling around the container was arrested by the Benemérita and after going to his home a search was made and more remains were found of what turned out to be his partner, a 68-year-old woman of the same nationality.

At the end of this edition, the Civil Guard confirmed that it was a gender violence crime while the investigators continued to search the home of the detainee, located near the container where the first remains appeared. 

The notice of the finding reached the Civil Guard and the Torrevieja Local Police at around one thirty in the afternoon. The human remains were in a container located on Luis Cánovas Street, next to a commercial and residential area and the IES Libertas in the city. The street was almost completely cordoned off to prevent the transit of people and the agents began the inspection of two containers that were there.

The homeless man who located the human remains remained in the cordoned off area from the first moment the police arrived. Later, around three thirty in the afternoon, he was transferred from the scene by the Civil Guard, presumably to testify as a witness to the discovery. Agents of the Judicial Police of the Civil Guard were conducting an inspection of the containers in the surrounding streets in search of other human remains and extended it to a green area and water tanks located at the confluence of Luis Cánovas and Irene streets in the town. Once the entire operation of agents was lifted, a man on a bicycle passed through the area and as he approached the containers he was arrested by agents who got out of a vehicle. He was transferred to a home and there they located the rest of the corpse of the dismembered woman.

The container in which the three limbs were found is in an area frequented to look for expired products as it is next to a supermarket. This establishment has video surveillance cameras focused on the containers and the Civil Guard requested the images.

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