Tuesday, December 29, 2020

The Covid vaccine here in Spain

 Taken from El Pais

When and how will Spain’s healthcare centres start to offer appointments for vaccinations?

Sunday saw the start of the first phase of the vaccination plan, which covers residents of care homes and their carers, and will continue with healthcare workers and adults with major dependencies. This first phase, which will see approximately 2.5 million people given the vaccine, will last around three months. Once it is over, it will be the turn of the next group, although the Spanish government is yet to confirm who this will include. The most likely approach will be the over-64s and the chronically ill. While the plans for this phase are yet to be confirmed, it is expected that these people will be given appointments via their primary healthcare centres. “Citizens will be given a citation, according to the risk group to which they belong, to attend their healthcare centre,” explained Health Minister Salvador Illa on Sunday. “It is voluntary and free. It is an act that will benefit both the person who receives the vaccine and the collective.”

Who is considered to be a dependent?

According to the Health Ministry’s vaccination strategy, this group includes people considered major dependents (grade III) according to the Dependency Law of 2006, those who have requested recognition as such and those who are yet to do so but are accredited medically to have an illness that requires intense support measures during their day-to-day lives, whether or not they are institutionalized. “The vaccination will take place as soon as possible, taking into account the characteristics of storage and usage of the available vaccines,” the ministry strategy adds. “Personnel who professionally care for these people with a major dependency will be able to get vaccinated during the same visit.”

What happens for those people with private health insurance?

The vaccination will be free and will be administered by the National Health System in the order that the Health Ministry establishes.

What measures must be followed when the vaccine is received?

In principle, the same as those being observed until now, until there is a sufficient amount of the population vaccinated so that herd immunity is reached. This is estimated to be about 70% of the population. While it is known that the vaccine is highly effective at avoiding the development of Covid-19, it is not yet so clear up to which point it avoids the spread of the virus. This means that it is possible that a person who has been vaccinated could still spread the virus while asymptomatic and thus become a vector for transmission.

When will enough people in Spain be vaccinated in order to achieve herd immunity?

As time passes, more vaccines will arrive – not just from Pfizer, but also, most likely, from other manufacturers too. While the initial rhythm is expected to be around 350,000 injections a week, as more and more pharmaceutical firms get approval for their vaccines this number is likely to rise. The Health Ministry calculates that between May and June around 20 million people will be vaccinated and that by the end of the summer a sufficient percentage of the population will be immunized in order to reach herd immunity.

How will people who have been vaccinated be monitored?

All citizens who receive the vaccine will get a vaccination card that will include the kind of immunization that has been administered as well as the batch number, the date the first dose was delivered and the planned date for the second injection. The card will also contain contact details should there be a suspected adverse reaction as well as a phone number to call should there be any side effects not included in the prospectus. This is the start of what is known as Phase 4 of the clinical trial. In the previous stage the frequent side effects – such as fatigue, tiredness, fever the next day – were found to affect at most one in every 30,000 people. But to detect rarer effects, those that manifest in one case per 100,000 or 1,000,000, the vaccine will be monitored as it is administered in the population. Also, more precise data will be collected on population groups that was not possible during the first trials. This will be done via the primary healthcare system using a centralized database in each region, and will be connected to a national and European system.

Monday, December 28, 2020

A novel solution

For years now, there has been talk of how to improve the flow of traffic between Orihuela and the coast via the CV 95. There have been plans to build a motorway with tolls, a dual carriageway and of course various routes have been discussed. 

The latest plan is to build a 23km tunnel for both vehicles and trains. The starting point will be the train/bus station in Orihuela and on the coast there will be four routes to the coastal towns. It is also planned to have two intermediate stops at Jacarilla and San Miguel de la Salinas.  

Building a tunnel, it is said, avoids all the problems of environmental impact and procurement of land. 

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Current rules

 These are the restrictions to be implemented in the Valencia Region from Monday 21st December 2020.

Curfew will commence at 11 p.m. except for Christmas's Eve and New Year's Eve when it will commence at midnight.

Social gatherings are limited to 6 people.

Social gatherings on bank holidays are also limited to 6 people and maximum two groups of people living under the same roof.

Social gatherings amongst friends are not permitted during the Christmas period.

Access to the Valencia Region will remain very restricted until January the 15th 

Can we trust them?

 During the emergency news conference last night, Grant Shapps said that earlier in the day there were 500 lorries queued on the M20 and that had reduced to 170. According to Kent police there were 900 and the Home Secretary admitted to Radio 4 that there were 650 lorries on the M20 and 873 at nearby Manston Airport. 

Johnson was unable to answer questions about the issue, instead he told the nation that he'd had a good conversation with the French President who he said was celebrating his birthday. He said that the problem would be resolved within a matter of hours but the lorries are outside the port that is still closed this morning. 

People are advised that there is no need for panic buying so guess what they will be doing this morning. 

In relation to Brexit, the Prime Minister said that talks were still ongoing, that a no deal was looking most likely. It wasn't what he wanted but Britain would still "prosper mightily" if a no deal was the outcome. 

Johnson reiterated his promise that Coronavirus would be beaten by Easter saying that half a million people had been given the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine. 

Of course, Britain has heard so many promises that have been broken, trust in Johnson is waning thin. Coronavirus was obviously not his fault and you could argue that he has done what he believed was right to deal with it. His optimism was the appeal that got him elected. However, that needs to be tempered with reality. Can you imagine his hero, Churchill telling the nation that the Second World War would end in six months? 


 Governments have to rely on compliance by people sticking to the guidelines. Whilst nobody wants to endure restrictions, particularly at Christmas, it is the only way that we are ever going to reduce transmission of Covid virus and bring the number of cases down. 

This article from Sky News highlights the problem. 

Police in Tier 2 York say they have seen huge numbers of people travelling to the city's pubs from neighbouring Tier 3 locations, in a clear breach of the guidelines. 

In a statement aimed at people "flouting the regulations", North Yorkshire Police said they had handed out more than 160 tickets over the weekend after making visits to licensed premises. 

Superintendent Mike Walker said: "Where we encounter people who refuse to adhere to the regulations and believe their pint is more important than someone's life, we will use our enforcement powers.

"Some people who were spoken to by officers did go home. However, our teams encountered large numbers of people who were not responsive to the advice, leaving us no option but to enforce through the use of fixed penalty notices."

Mr Walker added: "If you choose to visit the city of York from Tier 3 areas without a justifiable reason to have made your journey, with our extra patrols, chances are you will encounter one of our officers and you'll be asked about the reason for your visit."

Monday, December 21, 2020

Britain in crisis

Britain is facing what the Americans call a 'perfect storm'. 

The port of Dover is completely shut. Normally, tens of thousands of lorries would travel through the port on the run up to Christmas carrying stocks of food etc. 

France has imposed a 48 hour ban on traffic from the UK because of the rapid spread of the new variant of Covid 19 in the South. There were more than 35,000 new cases in the country yesterday, the largest number recorded during the pandemic and almost double the number a week ago. 

Other European countries will likely follow France's lead leaving no route for goods to and from the UK.

Add to this, the Post Office is overloaded with Christmas parcels that it simply can't deliver. This is all adding up to a pretty bleak Christmas. 

If that was not enough, Britain is due to leave the transition period on the 31st with or without a deal.  Either way will create problems but  of the two, a no deal Brexit would be worse especially coming  on top of those caused by Covid. 

So, realistically Johnson desperately needs some sort of deal. However, if he caves in and accepts the EU terms, then he is doomed. He needs to make a decision soon and whatever he decides will not be popular.   


Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Remember him?

The former mayor of Bigastro for 25 years, José Joaquín Moya (PSPV-PSOE), is back in court accused of keeping 70,000 euros of public money, The prosecution are seeking 6 years in prison for Moya and 3 years 9 months for the former auditor, Antonio Saseta Maure,

The lawyer for the private prosecution by Bigastro city council, Marcos Sánchez Adsuar, says that the former mayor and the former auditor signed income orders where, in the end, there was a difference in money between what the businessman paid to the consistory and what actually reached the municipal coffers.

He has pointed out that there are two or three more similar cases that will soon be tried with the former mayor and the former auditor as defendants, for similar sales of land from partial plans where the misappropriation of public money is being investigated.

Moya was socialist mayor of Bigastro between 1983 and 2008, the year in which he was forced to resign due to a case of urban corruption, for which he ended up going to prison. The Anticorruption prosecutor reports that the defendants kept part of the money that a company paid to the council during the processing of the auction of a 30,000 square metre plot of land in the municipality.

The City Council offered the plot in February 2007 and awarded it in March of that same year for 2,250,000 euros to a company that paid the amount in several payments, some of which were in cash that did not reach the municipal coffers. Specifically, the two defendants are accused of keeping 26,000 euros that the company gave them in January 2007 to participate in the auction and another 44,440 euros that the successful bidder gave them in March of the same year.  

Friday, December 11, 2020

We heard that

 Didn't feel anything move but we heard a sound like a lorry rumbling out in the street. 

Thursday, December 10, 2020

Yet another 'benefit' of Brexit

 British holidaymakers will be barred from the European Union from 1 January under current Covid-19 safety restrictions, with the EU commission indicating there will be no exemption for the UK.

Only a handful of countries with low coronavirus rates are exempt from rules that prohibit nonessential visitors from outside the EU and European Economic Area (EEA) – with the UK included only until the end of the Brexit transition period.

Within the EEA, or Schengen-associated states, Norway has also confirmed it will bar UK visitors from 1 January, according to the Financial Times.

The imminent bracketing of British tourists with those of other non-EU countries such as Albania and Turkey underlines the potential impact of a no-deal Brexit. EU member states can override the European council recommendations in theory, should they wish to .

Monday, December 07, 2020

It comes and blows


Friday, December 04, 2020

This is the plan


Tuesday, December 01, 2020

Do they have a clue?

 In Britain, pubs in areas that are designated Tier 2, will be able to serve alcoholic drinks if they accompany a "substantial meal". That begs the question about what constitutes a substantial meal. 

There have also been questions asked about how much alcohol you can order with your meal and whether you can continue to drink after your meal is finished. 

Speak to different Ministers and you get different answers. Apparently a sandwich could be considered substantial if it is served with pickles and beetroot*. A pork pie though is not considered sufficient, nor is a sausage roll but according to George Eustace a scotch egg would count if it was served to a table. No surprise there since Eustace owns a farm which produces scotch eggs. However, Michael Grove disagreed. He said even two scotch eggs would not count and then changed his mind a few hours later.

Meantime,  Robert Jenrick, says a pasty on its own doesn't count as a 'substantial meal' unless it is served with chips or salad. Of course, you don't have to actually eat the salad - just order it and leave it on the plate and that will be fine. 

Today, MPs will vote on the revised Tier System which replaces lockdown with a further lockdown for 99% of the country. It is thought that there could be large numbers of Tory rebels who will vote against the measures and that Johnson will only win because Labour has decided to abstain. The rebels demanded an assessment of the economic impact of the restrictions but none was forthcoming. 

* The 1965 case of Timmis v Millman, found that a sandwich only counts as a meal if 'accompanied by beetroot and pickles'.