Local Daily News 5th December

The Ministry of Health notifies 544 cases in the province, the highest number since the 25th of August

After several months without updating data on weekends, the Ministry of Health has notified 544 positives for covid in 24 hours between Friday and Saturday in the province of Alicante. A figure somewhat lower than that recorded by Valencia, 1,088, and 312 in Castellón. Making the accumulated total of the Valencian Community 1,944 new cases of coronavirus.

Some data that comes after reaching 537 cases in the province Friday and the Generalitat Valenciana recognizing the sixth wave of the coronavirus in the Valencian territory. Both figures, the one from Friday and the one notified yesterday, are the highest in three months, since the 25th of August.

In this new epidemic wave, not only the positive cases have increased, but also the accumulated incidence rate of the province has seen an increase, which has stood at 212.3 active cases per 100,000 inhabitants, 38 points more than in the previous update, on Tuesday of this week.

Next Tuesday, the 7th of December, will also be the day that the Ministry will send the next update again, due to the holiday on Monday, the 6th of December.

The number of sick people rises to 3,893, practically 700 more than four days before. The Marina Baixa continues to show, by far, the worst outlook in the entire province, with a rate of 464.37. In this department, 277 infections have been registered in three days, and active cases have risen to 849, 17.3% more than in the previous update of the data. The most extreme situation continues to be that of Benidorm, with 456 affected and an index of 647.27. L’Alfàs del Pi (404.15), la Nucia (357.87), Finestrat (351.96), Vila Joiosa (343.76) and Altea (336.91) also present a very high risk.

In addition, the departments of Torrevieja and Elda are also at extreme risk, with rates of 271.3 and 261.78 and 498 and 496 sick people, respectively.

The health areas of Dénia and Alcoy are not at extreme risk, but they are rapidly approaching it and, at the municipal level, in both there are several localities with rates above 250. The areas of Sant Joan d’Alacant and Orihuela, whose current indicators stand at 171.9 and 111.9, have both seen a sharp rise in recent days.

The department with the lowest index is Elche-Crevillent, with 106.87, after these days it has had a more moderate increase. For its part, the Elche General Hospital area is at high risk with 162.13.

The Government requires Orihuela to cancel the urban modification of Cala Mosca

The construction of 2,274 homes in Cala Mosca, a highly questioned move as it is the last virgin kilometer of the Orihuela Costa, remains at the center of controversy. The Ministry of Transport, through the demarcation of State Roads in the Valencian Community, sent the City Council on the 18th of November a request to annul or revoke the approval of the modification of the plan part of this sector, declared to be developed in the 1990s. In other words, it has asked it be cancelled by Orihuela’s own free will and does not rule out taking legal action.

Specifically, it warns that this agreement “contravenes the legislation”, having been produced “without having the favorable report” regarding the effects of urban planning to the State Highway Network. In this sense, it recalls that the General Directorate of Roads issued an unfavorable opinion in September of last year. Despite the attempts of the local administration to correct the deficiencies detected, Carreteras insists on deviations in calculations in terms of traffic and noise pollution, among other considerations.

This report, the letter emphasizes on several occasions, is “mandatory and binding” and is “fully relevant”, so that “the approval of said urban instrument would be null and void”, as it had previously warned.

Thus, before sending this request on the 22nd of September, he requested the agreement of the plenary session. In addition, on the 1st of October, in response to a request for an interview by the sector promoter, Carreteras sent him a report in which it reiterated its position and insisted on “the relevance and the mandatory and binding nature of the sectoral reports on the matter of roads for all instruments of territorial and urban planning”.

It is not until the 9th of November that the City Council sends the certificate of the plenary agreement to the Highways Unit. Until then, he stresses, “he had not notified the General State Administration” nor does it appear that “the publication has been made in the Official Gazette of the Province of Alicante,” he highlights.

Cambiemos warned yesterday of the seriousness of the fact that the government team is “ignoring a request from the Ministry to annul the approval of the Cala Mosca partial plan”, after two weeks since the request was received. “It is further proof that they have a position that only benefits the promoter,” said councilman Javier Gracia, who added that “the possible contentious-administrative appeal by the Ministry against the full decision harms the entire town of Orihuela.”

He also recalled that his training has warned on several occasions of the inconvenience of “ignoring” the Transport report. “Both Cambiemos and Claro have spent months warning of possible illegalities in the processing of a plan that we have opposed and that we have rejected and fought for years,” he insisted. In his opinion, “the processing has been continuous nonsense.”

Already in July they tried to bring it to full session for the second time, although PP itself and Ciudadanos expressed doubts, and “despite the fact that it was the Urban Planning Department itself that issued the approval proposal.” In August came the first warning from the Ministry. “Surprisingly, the government team’s doubts were dispelled and it was approved in September,” the councilor for Cambiemos reviewed. “It’s crazy,” Gracia concluded. In addition, the Environmental Prosecutor’s Office also requested from the City Council “the file on its environmental assessment, including legal and technical reports.”

Spain rules out mandatory vaccination as coronavirus incidence jumps 17 points

Spain’s Health Ministry reported 14,500 new coronavirus infections and added 42 Covid-19 related fatalities to the overall death toll on Thursday evening. In its latest report on the pandemic, the ministry also communicated a further rise in the cumulative incidence of infections over the previous 14 days. That data point, which has been steadily rising for several weeks now, shot up another 17 points to 234 cases per 100,000 inhabitants.

In terms of the country’s regions, Navarre in northern Spain continues to top the table, with a cumulative incidence of 676 cases per 100,000 inhabitants over the previous 14 days. Next is the neighboring Basque Country, with 552, followed by Aragón, with 435. According to Thursday’s report, the incidence rose in all territories, apart from Castilla-La Mancha, and in all age groups – in particular among the under-12s, who are yet to be vaccinated.

As for the pressure on Spain’s hospitals, the ministry report detailed 4,093 patients being treated for Covid-19, 136 more than the day before. This rise is mirrored in the numbers for intensive care units (ICUs), where the occupation rate rose three-tenths of a point in yesterday’s report to 8.4% of the total.

According to the data supplied by the Health Ministry, unvaccinated people aged between 60 and 80 have 14 times more risk of death from Covid-19 than the vaccinated, and 23 times more risk of ending up in the ICU.

In total, 5,189,220 coronavirus infections have been officially recorded since the pandemic began, and 88,122 have died after contracting the virus.

The latest data from the Ministry of Health about the country’s vaccination campaign shows that 66% of the over-70s have received a booster shot of a Covid-19 vaccine so far – that’s nearly 4.5 million people. What’s more, 79.3% of Spain’s entire population is now fully vaccinated, while 80.9% have received at least one shot. Since the campaign began in late December of 2020, the country’s regions have administered 76,899,564 doses.

Speaking on Thursday, the health minister, Carolina Darias, ruled out making vaccination against Covid-19 mandatory in Spain given the already very high vaccine coverage among the population and the availability of other efficient tools to combat the virus.

“I understand why countries with a low vaccine coverage are planning it,” Darias stated. “But in Spain, we are one of the leading countries for vaccination in Europe and the world, including inoculations with a third dose.” She added that the other tools being used in Spain include “masks being mandatory inside and outside when safe distance cannot be maintained.”

Spain will receive 1.2 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines meant for children in December, followed by another two million in January. This amount will be sufficient to administer the first doses to practically all children in the country aged between five and 11 (who number 3.3 million). This group, which is still unvaccinated, is likely to be the next in line for the shots as part of Spain’s ongoing campaign, according to Health Minister Carolina Darias.

Before the process can begin, however, a strategy will have to be approved. The European Medicines Agency has approved the injections among this age group, but the board of experts advising the government on the campaign is yet to state its position on the plan.

That said, both the health minister and regional healthcare chiefs are assuming that the plan will be approved, and that the vaccines can be administered from the 13th of December onward, when the first doses arrive.

The Catalonia region on Thursday confirmed that it had detected two cases of the recently identified omicron strain, which is thought to be more transmissible than the currently dominant delta variant. The patients had both recently returned from South Africa, which is where omicron was first detected. They have been in isolation since Monday after testing positive for the coronavirus on arrival at Barcelona airport. So far in Spain, three omicron cases have also been identified in Madrid – two among recent arrivals from South Africa and one with no connection to travel from the south of Africa – and two in the Balearic Islands, also both in travelers who had arrived from South Africa.

The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) warned on Thursday that the preliminary data available suggest that the omicron variant appears to have a “substantially” greater capacity for transmission compared to delta. According to the ECDC’s mathematical modeling, this suggests that “in a few months” the recently discovered strain could cause “more than half of the cases” of coronavirus across the continent.

The Three Wise Men that stand 10 meters tall take to the Christmas square of Benidorm.

This year three great figures decorate the Plaza de la Navidad in Benidorm. They are those of the Three Wise Men who, at just 10 meters tall, will be one of the most visual attractions of the city for the holidays. These figures complement the offer of activities that the city will offer from this weekend and that will last until the 6th of January.

The great figures arrived this Friday at the Plaza de SSMM Los Reyes de España, next to the City Hall, where the Plaza de la Navidad is located. Its size and arrival in the afternoon made it necessary to accelerate the assembly so that everything was ready for Saturday, December 4, when “BeniNadal” starts in Benidorm. With a crane and a lot of precision, the figures gradually took shape. The last step was to place the crown of King Belshazzar.

During these days it has already been possible to see the Christmas lights on the streets of the city. But also, the assembly of other activities programmed for the Christmas days was finished this Friday so that everything was ready to receive all the visitors on Saturday. Among them, the Plaza de la Navidad, which this year brings back the mechanical attractions and in which there will also be inflatables, an ice rink and a Christmas market. In the same location as the Three Wise Men.

The Christmas House will be located in l’Hort de Colón. Also from this Saturday, the Elche park will host the Christmas “porrat”, a traditional market with all kinds of products. The Julio Iglesias auditorium in l’Aigüera park will be the setting for most of the 14 musical shows.

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