Local Daily News 5th October

Ximo Puig confirms the 9th of October as the date for the end of restrictions

Ximo Puig reaffirms the 9th of October as the key date for the end of the restrictions in the Valencian Community. The president of the Generalitat has assured today that the de-escalation process will begin the final stretch on the day of the regional holiday and that, therefore, it will be the end of a large part of the restrictions and the normalization of daily life will accelerate.

“The Valencian agenda – the head of the Counsel has underlined in response to questions from journalists – is currently marked by the definitive overcoming of the pandemic and the economic and social reaction in the Valencian Community”. In this regard, Puig has detailed that the objective is clear: that “as of the 9th of October, a set of restrictions will be overcome and that the normalization” of daily life will be accelerated.

However, he has clarified that progress will be made in these goals with an eye always on “epidemiological data.” Right now, he added, “we are at low risk, but that data will always guide decision-making in this regard.”

Regarding the possibility of definitively eliminating the use of masks, the president has emphasized that this decision must be made by the “inter-territorial council” so that all the autonomies experience the same situation and provide “citizen security” about what can or cannot be done. Regarding the communities that have not adopted strict measures in recent months, the head of the Counsel has stressed that such decisions “have had consequences”, in clear allusion to the higher rates of the spread of the virus and, therefore, of a higher rate of mortality.

Volcanic eruption in La Palma: Part of cone collapses, increasing lava flow

Residents of La Palma, in Spain’s Canary Islands, remained on tenterhooks on Monday, after a weekend of intense activity from the new volcano in Cumbre Vieja national park, which has been erupting since September 19.

Part of the volcanic cone collapsed late Sunday night, which led to an increase in lava flow, according to the Volcanology Institute of the Canary Islands (Involcan). The main lava tongue now has a breadth of over 1.2 km at its widest point, 300 meters more than on Sunday, authorities reported.

This scenario had been forecast by scientists, given that the mound of material formed by the eruption, such as lava that is yet to cool and pyroclastic rocks, is not stable. “The material is very broken and the cone is in constant movement,” Itahiza Domínguez, a seismologist from the National Geographic Institute (IGN), told Canary Island regional network Televisión Canaria on Sunday.

But while the collapse led to a clear increase in the volcano’s effusive activity, the lava continued to flow down the main channel of molten rock. On Friday, there were concerns that new lava flows could put more properties at risk if they followed a different path – a situation that has not yet occurred.

“The news from early this morning confirms that the lava is flowing over the previous flow,” the premier of the Canary Islands, Ángel Víctor Torres, told state broadcaster RTVE on Monday. The regional leader said that while more areas had been confined due to the poor air quality, no new evacuations were being considered for now. But he warned: “We are not at the end, we don’t know what moment we are in. We are in the hands of nature.”

For now, lava is flowing out of three main points: the fissure that emerged from the September 19 eruption and two more vents (one of which is made up of two emission points).

The lava has so far affected more than 400 hectares of land and destroyed 1,074 buildings, according to the latest information from the European satellite system Copernicus. “If the lava continues spewing out in the amounts we have seen tonight, there will be more damage,” Torres said.

On Sunday, the volcano released 16,000 tons of sulfur dioxide into the atmosphere, according to Involcan. This sulfur, combined with a cloud of dust from the Sahara Desert, reached as far as Puerto Rico, the Caribbean Astronomy Society reported on Sunday. That same day, the poor air quality prompted the technical director of the Volcano Risk Prevention Plan (Pevolca), Miguel Ángel Morcuende, to order the evacuation of scientists and emergency service personnel working within the security perimeter – an area that is 2.5 kilometers from the volcanic cone. Air quality was also forecast to worsen in the south and east of the island on Monday and Tuesday due to strong winds blowing volcanic ash into the area.

Meanwhile, La Palma was hit by more than 40 small tremors between Sunday and Monday – including one measuring 3.7 on the Richter scale in the municipality of Fuencaliente and another measuring 3.4 on the Richter scale in the town of Villa de Mazo, the IGN reported.

According to Mariano Hernández Zapata, the leader of the island council, life “continues as normal” for more than 90% of people on La Palma, which is located in the volcanic Canaries archipelago off the northeastern coast of Africa. Speaking at a press conference on Sunday, Zapata said that the ports and airports remain open, and that La Palma is “absolutely safe.”

But residents remain anxious about the future. Over the weekend, those who had been evacuated due to the advance of the lava were allowed to return to their homes briefly to collect their belongings. Sara Campbell, a British national who had rented a home in Jedey, explained that she has moved to a home in Tijarafe in the north of the island, but doesn’t know what she will do. “It’s still too soon to make decisions,” she said.

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez announced yesterday that the Cabinet will approve a €206-million recovery plan for La Palma at its weekly meeting on Tuesday. Sánchez, who made the announcement on his third visit to the island since the eruption, said that the “powerful package of measures” includes initiatives such as restoring water supply, as well as investment in employment, homes, agriculture and tourism.

Queues of patients on the first day of “normality” in Primary Care

Delays of 20 days, family doctors and nurses angered by the lack of personnel and means, and health centers with different operating protocols. This is the situation that unfolded yesterday in Primary Care, the day that its return to normality was scheduled, as announced in the Courts by the President of the Generalitat, Ximo Puig.

Instructions on how to operate from now on were given on Friday afternoon, causing patients to encounter different situations yesterday, depending on their place of residence.

The new Ministry of Health protocol specifies that control must be maintained to guarantee two different routes, covid and non-covid, so that if a patient arrives with symptoms, they can be taken directly to an area isolated from the rest of the patients. The Ministry of Health specifies that triages must be eliminated at the entrance of health centers. However, in some facilities in the city of Alicante and Benidorm, according to sources from the Medical Union, these triages were kept in the street, by means of numbering systems or a person asking, patient by patient, the reason for their visit. This resulted in queues at the doors of these facilities. In other centers of the city of Alicante and in Elche the situation was the opposite and there was no type of control, leading to crowds at the counters and complaints from doctors that patients who arrived with symptoms of covid were not shown the route they should follow.

In other facilities, the instructions of the Ministry had been adopted and at the entrance there was a person controlling the routes patients should take and ensuring that there were no crowds at the access desks. The Ministry of Health pointed out that there was an unequal operation of health centers, as well as the fact that some maintained the restrictions on their access, and that the return to normality “will be made progressively.”

Health professionals who work in health centers were, on the whole, very angry. “We feel mistreated, the waiting list is huge because people are resuming the tests that have been stopped in a year and a half. They have not given us reinforcements,” a family doctor from the city of Alicante lamented yesterday. It should be remembered that at this time there are health centers that accumulate delays of up to 20 days, both for face-to-face and telephone appointments. Primary Care physicians also complained that the Generalitat sold yesterday as the recovery of face-to-face care, “when we have been seeing patients in person throughout the pandemic and with a workload generated by covid. The announcement is offensive because it makes it seem that we have not done anything throughout the pandemic,” said another professional yesterday.

From the Valencian Society of Family and Community Medicine, its president María Ángeles Medina pointed out that yesterday “was just as bad as other days, since it was Monday and we had to attend to a huge volume of patients who came without an appointment because we have long delays. This professional recalls that among the requests that have been made to the Ministry of Health is that of being able to manage their own agendas and that there be specific triages at the counters in order to guide patients towards the most appropriate consultation option. They also ask for more contracts so as to not see more than 25 patients a day and to be able to attend to them for an average of ten minutes.

Torrevieja builds a lamination basin to prevent water from flooding an urbanization

The water cycle concessionaire in Torrevieja, Agamed, has begun construction work on a 3,660-square-meter “lamination basin” that will “retain” rainwater to prevent flooding in Torreta Florida in times of torrential rains. This open-air construction will have the capacity to store up to ten thousand cubic meters of water, and the action will involve an investment of 2.4 million euros for the company.

Located between Torrealmendros, the greenway and Urracas street, an environmental restoration project is being carried out for the first time in Torrevieja that will allow it to function as a hydraulic flow lamination system in times of torrential rains. A sustainable urban drainage system that allows preventing, retaining, slowing down, storing and controlling the infiltration of water that in this specific case currently reaches the Torrevieja lagoon by surface runoff. Subsequently, the collected flow will be reused “as much as possible” or it will be pumped to the Treatment Plant for treatment. The action includes the building of rainwater collectors on Jorge Manrique Street, parallel to IES Torrevigía and the greenway, to collect rainwater from the Las Torretas area and drive it to the “lamination basin”. There it will be stored so that it is progressively sent to the treatment plant. These collectors will in turn make it possible to create a separative network, so that the sewerage network is not responsible for collecting rainwater and sizing problems do not occur in the facilities.

The “lamination basin”, which is already underway, involves a land clearing in the plot with an average excavation depth of 3 meters. Subsequently, part of the excavation vessel will be waterproofed by covering the bottom of the pond in concrete and lining the slopes with a medium-sized breakwater. The surface will be covered with native trees, so that the plot used, which appears as a green area in the urban planning of Torrevieja although like so many others has never been used, will finally appear as a green area.

Initially, the planned investment for this action was 1,205,918 million euros, but the Board of Directors of Agamed, a company with a majority stake in Hidraqua, decided to raise the budget to 2.4 million, advancing the investment in subsequent years to be able to carry it out without altering the rest of the actions planned for the current year.

Agamed’s initial forecasts involved carrying out a storm tank at one of the roundabouts of Torreta Florida itself, next to Calle Clarín. A project, which although included in the latest press release from the City Council on these investments, has been discarded because while the laminating pond solves a problem of evacuation of a sub-basin, the storm tank only acted in a specific point of this urbanization.

The rainwater in the lagoon generates a negative environmental impact due to the pollution that the water carries, affecting the production of salt by diluting the concentrations of brines.

The Torrevieja City Council has received a grant of 580,000 euros for rainwater projects from the Generalitat’s Renhace Plan, although it has not specified which project it is going to allocate this aid to. Agamed (City Council and Hidraqua) continue working to carry out the rainwater plan that according to Agamed requires an extension of the concession.

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