Thursday, March 26, 2020

Pointing the finger

We tell our friends and family in England that the response there to the pandemic has been too slow and that the Government have been indecisive but was the Spanish Government any better?

This is taken from an article in the Guardian newspaper.

Spain does not share land borders with the countries that were first showing cases of the coronavirus.
This may, in fact, be one of the reasons for the country’s late response. Spain thought it was far enough away. “Spain will only have a handful of cases,” said Dr Fernando Simón, the head of medical emergencies in Madrid, on 9 February. Six weeks later he gives out daily figures of hundreds of deaths. The number of dead per capita is already three times that of Iran, and 40 times higher than China.

On 19 February, 2,500 Valencia soccer fans mixed with 40,000 Atalanta supporters for a Champions League game in Bergamo which Giorgio Gori, mayor of the Italian city, has described as “the bomb” which exploded the virus in Lombardy.

In Spain, Valencia players, fans and sports journalists were amongst the first to fall ill.

The main reason for the quick spread through Spain may be linked to the fact that is has been an unusually mild, sunny Spring. In late February and early March, with temperatures above 20C, Madrid’s pavement cafes and bars were heaving with madrilenos socialising.

On 8 March, just a week before the country was closed down, sports events, political party conferences and massive demonstrations to mark International Women’s Day all took place. Three days later, about 3,000 Atlético de Madrid fans flew together for another Champions League match in Liverpool.

When Pedro Sánchez announced that he would be invoking emergency powers, he took more than 24 hours to put them in place – by which time part of the population of Madrid and other cities had dispersed across the country.

Poor coordination also meant that the regional government of Madrid had closed universities and schools earlier that week, provoking a holiday atmosphere in which bars and parks were full and many families left for their beach homes.

The lockdown that began on 14 March has been efficiently enforced with police fines. As a result, Spain’s ghastly curve of fatalities will begin to flatten soon and ministers say measures should start being relaxed when the month-long quarantine ends on 11 April. Yet no-one expects a return to normality.

Monday, March 23, 2020

I am ashamed of my fellow countrymen

People in the UK have to start taking this coronavirus seriously. It has the potential to kill millions of people worldwide unless it is stopped in its tracks. You only need to read reports from people who have suffered from the virus and reports from doctors who are treating patients with the disease to know how horrible and painful it can be. In the worst cases, when death comes it is probably a mercy. In even the mildest cases, it is something that people will never forget.

Boris Johnson advised people to stay away from pubs, clubs, theatres etc and what happened? They ignored him, even his own father said he'd still be going for his pint of beer thank you very much.

Then the Prime Minister told people that pubs etc would be closed but they could still go out and get some fresh air and exercise.  In fact, he positively encouraged them to go out for the sake of their mental and physical wellbeing. However,  he advised them to maintain a social distance of 2 metres. When he was asked, "how would you maintain social distance between a group of 5 year old children?", he had no answer.

Well, Brits certainly did go out over the weekend, in great numbers. There were so many people in popular places like markets, the seaside etc, it would have been impossible for them to stay 2m apart but actually, they didn't seem to care how far they were apart. It was almost like they were sticking two fingers up to the Prime Minister and his advisers. The fact that they felt well and had no symtoms did not mean that they were not carrying the virus on them ready to infect as many people as they met. Clearly, the message is not getting through - probably because it is not strong enough.

Pam spoke to her best friend from schooldays yesterday. She said that the beaches in North Norwich were crowded with people. They were going to take the dog for a walk but would chose what they thought would be a quiet lane. I hope they managed to find somewhere secluded but from reports in the papers, I doubt they would be so lucky.

Worse than that all that though, there is a report in the Independent of large crowds of youths coughing and spitting at frontline emergency workers dealing with a serious incident on Saturday night in West Yorkshire. After the coughing and spitting, motorbike riders came along and threw eggs at the police who were dealing with the incident. The youths were attacking the very people who are attempting to protect  them and their lives, the ones they will rely on to keep them safe when things get worse as they surely will.

The British only need to look at Italy and what happened there. People in Italy thought that Covid-19 was just like a normal winter flu and so carried on with their normal lives. They were advised to stay in, to maintain social distancing but like the Brits, they chose to ignore that advice.

On March 5th the death toll in Italy rose by over 50% and so the authorities decided it was time to take a stronger stance and impose control. As the lockdown set in, over the course of a week police charged more than 40,000 citizens for flouting the quarantine rules.

Even if Boris decides to impose control by law, the same will likely happen in Britain. People will continue to ignore him and put more lives at risk. Like the Italians, the British people know best.

Folks, it is not about saving the National Health Service as Boris keeps telling us, it is about saving the lives of our friends and family - sparing them from this horrible disease that won't go away until we stop it. I hope and believe that we can beat this terrible virus but not if we keep sticking our fingers up and burying our heads in the sand.


Friday, March 20, 2020

Orderly

Back down to Bigastro this morning to have my knee checked. The good news is that it is healing up nicely and I won't need it re-dressing. Again there were only a couple of people in the Medical Centre. Some of the staff have taken to wearing green disposable theatre gowns, green hair caps and slip on covers for their shoes. It looked ominous but I am sure it wasn't, there are still no reported cases in Bigastro.

Onward to the pharmacy where they were allowing two people at a time inside. They had erected glass screena and put tape around chairs to distance you from the personnel. Similarly, in the tabacco shop there was a screen to seperate you from the people serving.

Spar and the veg shop opposite were restricting the number of customers with those waiting forming a line outside with recommended distancing of course.

There was no panic, nobody with excessive quantities of goods and shelves that were well filled. There was no need to set limits because everyone seemed to be buying sensibly. It was markedly different to the scenes in the UK papers of shoppers with huge quantities of toilet paper and sad faced seniors contemplating vacant shelves wondering what they were going to be able to buy to feed themselves. 

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Further restriction

The Government has modified the Royal Decree.

So, from today, we will be restricted to travelling with only one person in a car. 

NB There are only four exceptions

In this way, the Government of Pedro Sánchez adds the limitation of freedom of movement on public use roads, other use spaces such as beaches, due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

The exceptions are: accompanying people with disabilities, minors, the elderly, or a duly justified cause.

This possible sanction is added to those already in place for skipping confinement. Rmember you should only be in public places for tasks such as buying food, pharmaceuticals and basic necessities, as well as attending health centres, services and establishments, caring for the elderly, minors, dependents, people with disabilities or especially vulnerable people.

Travel to the workplace  to carry out their work, professional or business provision is also allowed, as well as the return to the place of habitual residence.



Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Please take note


Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Que raro

Normally, the Medical Centre in Bigastro is packed on Monday mornings with people. This was the scene yesterday when I went down to have the dressing on my knee changed.

There was just one other person waiting and another who came to see one of the doctors. The personnel, dressed in white, some wearing masks, were wandering around looking purposeful.

Stop you from getting bored


The world of culture is one of the most affected by the suspension of daily life that is occurring these days as a result of the expansion of the coronavirus. For this reason, the Bigastro City Council recommends the following digital culture proposals available free of charge.

Theatre and Opera - https://bit.ly/2WjMQ5S
Art and Painting - https://bit.ly/3d88MXk
Cinema - https:// bit.ly/2WqLlCG
Series - https://bit.ly/2TWuYw5 🎙
Radio - https://bit.ly/38YahnT
Comedy - https://bit.ly/2wgTAXx
Concerts - https://bit.ly/3a8kGPr
Museums - https://bit.ly/2ISPOWV
Books - https://bit.ly/33lUaiT
Scores - https://bit.ly/39ZLSzM
Magazines - https://bit.ly/38UOMo6
Music - https://spoti.fi/38WXLFc
 Poetry - https://bit.ly/33sGxhY
Activities for children - https://bit.ly/33mSwgI

UNESCO
https://www.wdl.org/en/
Gather maps, texts, photos, recordings and films of all time and explain in seven languages ​​the jewels and cultural relics of all the libraries on the planet.

Boris looks almost ill

Those of you who watched the broadcast yesterday will have seen a very different Boris Johnson to the one that welcomed the new MPs to Westminster. Yesterday, he looked haggard, tired and stressed. Luckily, he had specialists either side of him to explain things and answer questions as he stumbled over his replies to questions. .

We can draw comparisons between the measures taken in Britain and those taken in e.g.Spain.

Whilst Johnson "advised" people not to visit pubs, restuarants, theatres etc, Spain has made it illegal to be out and about. Pubs, clubs, restaurants in Spain are CLOSED, in Britain they could remain open just in case there are any customers who choose to ignore the advice.

Cynical people have already come to the conclusion that the British Government stopped short of forcing a lockdown to avoid having to compensate the hospitality industry for loss of earnings. The British approach also means that businesses cannot claim on their insurance because they do not face a forced closure.

Johnson also falls short of putting a ban on mass gatherings. Instead he says that they will no longer provide emergency support for large events.

All Boris Johnson wanted was to be Prime Minister and "get Brexit done", Unfortunately, he has landed himself with the task of trying to steer the country through a health crisis. Only time will tell if if he is up to the task. 

That makes sense

Orginally, I thought the police were saying that dog walking was not permitted at all under the "State of Alarm".

Whilst this notice does not give you permission to take your dog for a ramble, it does allow you to take it for a toilet break. 

Monday, March 16, 2020

The natural way

Bigastro's will be protected from pests in the most natural way, with a greater presence of their predators. To achieve this objective, a series of nest boxes are being installed to attract the settlement of a larger population of insectivorous birds that fight pests such as that of the pine processionary. The Bigastro City Council has launched this campaign with the collaboration of the Association of People with Disabilities "La Pedrera", who have produced nest boxes of various sizes.

The first wooden nests have been installed in the trees that are located on the Alquibla Route, in the area of ​​La Pedrera. The councilor for the Environment, Antonio Meseguer, and the environmental technician, Pablo Perales, helped by some users of the association as well as by students from the San José de Calasanz Institute, carefully placed what will be future "homes" for the birds. In addition to processionary, the greater presence of birds will allow controlling the annoying mosquito plague. Meseguer noted that this initiative is part of a project that works on environmental education, and "we are looking for ways to reduce the use of chemical pesticides."

The project arises from an agreement of the City Council with the Ibero-African Biological Studies Society, where through a contribution of 700 euros, manufacturing of nest boxes and talks were held in educational centers in Bigastro. Pablo Perales, in charge of the project, explained that "it is about promoting the nesting of insectivorous species, both in natural areas and in urban settings, especially birds that have suffered a significant decline in recent years, and now it will be treated to make life easier for species such as hoopoe, scops owl, as well as small birds that feed on insects that are a pest.

After placing these boxes, the beginning of colonization will be monitored in June, and then, in March or April 2021,