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Formentera moves to stem spread of coronavirus among at-risk groups like elderly

foto mesures coronavirusAlejandra Ferrer, Ana Juan and Rafael Ramírez —the island’s president, vice-president/chief of the department of the elderly and vice-president/chief of social welfare, respectively— held a press conference this morning at the head offices of local government to describe the precautionary measures being taking with regard to the novel SARS-CoV-2 virus.

“The people of Formentera stand with all those affected by the virus”, said Ferrer, “particularly in the hardest hit areas, like certain regions of Spain and the entire country of Italy, whose ties with our island run so deep”.

She gave an overview of coronavirus developments from its appearance and subsequent spread in China to its arrival in the Balearic archipelago. While no case of the illness has yet been declared on Formentera, the local government will begin implementing, in the president’s words, “various cautionary measures, the goal being to safeguard those among us who are most vulnerable, namely, our seniors”.

For two weeks starting Friday 13 March, care for the elderly and individuals with disabilities at the Formentera Day Centre will be suspended. The measure is effective immediately for the next fourteen days of programming at the island’s senior centres.

Postponing programming
The decision to postpone was also extended to various other programmed events like the Tribute to Elderly Women [Homenatge de la Dona Gran], scheduled for Saturday 22 March, and the 18th Festa Intercultural on 29 March. The president indicated that the measures stemmed from recommendations issued by the Govern balear and Spanish health ministry and would be reviewed twice a month. According to Ferrer, not only is the administration “in contact with all the authorities, but daily meetings are additionally taking place between the cabinet team in order to update protocols”, which she acknowledged were subject to “continuous and sudden changes”.

Message of calm
President Ferrer encouraged islanders to keep calm, underscored the virus’s innocuousness for most of the population and described the slate of measures as “geared toward getting us out of this situation and back to normal as soon as possible”. “Panicking is useless”, she stated, “What we need is for people to take individual responsibility in making sure we protect those who are most at-risk. What we need is responsibility, commitment and cooperation with regard to the recommended measures”.

Clubs for the aged
Vice-president and consellera Juan met this morning with the directors of the island’s seniors’ clubs in order to explain the direct relation between the Formentera government’s decision to suspend seniors’ programming in La Savina, Sant Francesc, Es Cap, Sant Ferran and La Mola, and the desire to prevent outbreaks of infection among the island’s most vulnerable inhabitants. Juan traced the decision to cancel the celebration of elderly women to the same logic. “The event will happen as soon as we can adequately guarantee the absence of risks to public health”, said the consellera.

Day Centre
For his part, the social welfare chief highlighted a 4.00pm meeting this afternoon aimed at explaining to families of individuals at the Day Centre the motives behind the decision to close the facility starting Friday. According to Conseller Ramírez, “to the extent that it’s possible, we’re preparing a battery of measures to enable islanders who require it to receive at-home services like meal preparation”.

As for the Festa Intercultural, Ramírez said a meeting had been scheduled for 8.00pm to make clear that the decision to postpone was about following established protocol aimed at reducing risk among vulnerable individuals by avoiding group activities.

Formentera will reinforce internal communications to provide personnel acting protocol and coronavirus details. All staff have been called to take part in a targeted training session Thursday 12 March, while another session is being put together specifically for those individuals who work with the public. Local police and firefighters are also being given information and specific acting protocols.

Schools, health professionals and sports groups have also been given the established acting protocol. A continuous back-and-forth between the island government and health authorities ensures the protocols are constantly updated.

Information for visitors
The Consell de Formentera is also working to keep ferry companies appraised of the latest. Information —on preventing the coronavirus’s spread, for instance, or advice for individuals who suspect they might be infected— will be made available in multiple languages.

General guidelines
The principal directives are as follows:
-If you are in good health, lead your life as you normally would (if still respecting recommendations aimed at stemming virus spread).
-If you suspect you might be infected, call 061, stay at home and avoid contact with others.
-Mobile Covid-19 care units will provide front-line medical service on Formentera from Thursday 12 March.
-Individuals presenting mild cases will be encouraged to stay at home while more serious cases will be sent to Can Misses or Son Espases depending on their symptoms.

For more information or to ask questions about coronavirus, the Govern balear has activated another help line —900.10.18.63— in addition to 061.

11 March 2020
Department of Communications
Consell de Formentera

Roughly thirty take part in clinic on ditching single-use plastics

foto 2020 taller plasti-fri1The Formentera Department of Environment reports that nearly thirty people turned out today for a workshop aimed at helping Formentera hotels, restaurants and cafés eliminate single-use plastics. Held in the hall of ceremonies of local government, the event was sponsored by the Consell de Formentera, Ibiza and Formentera Marine Forum and Plastic Free.

Environment chief Antonio J Sanz opened the event by applauding both of the Consell’s co-sponsors for their ecological commitment. “This is an incredibly important day”, he said, before launching into an enumeration of the day’s talking points, like application of new Balearic legislation on waste and alternatives to single-use plastics.

Ibiza Preservation Fund’s Sandra Benbeniste said Formentera’s own environmental advocacy was worthy of praise as well, insisting “the goal here is to keep the process moving forward; progress like Formentera’s is ideal”. Benbeniste insisted that the island’s size and particular configuration made it “a shoo-in as a leader in sustainability”.

A range of alternatives to disposable plastics were spotlighted over the course of the day, as well as examples of companies that have opted to say no to such single-use products. Spokespeople from Can Vent and Gecko Hotel gave presentations of efforts at both establishments to nix single-use plastics.

The decision to stage today’s workshop on Formentera and another one, 1 April, on Eivissa can be traced back to the Ibiza and Formentera Marine Forum, a group that insists the Balearic legislation on waste involves far from simple requirements affecting individuals and, even more, businesses. The present moment offers a unique occasion to foment new habits in consumption, they say, as well as the chance to appreciate the Pine Islands’ natural surroundings and shape a future for them that is sustainable.

10 March 2020
Department of Communications
Consell de Formentera

Tomorrow, 12 March, ‘Talking with families and teachers’ series continues with Marina Ribas’ lecture on food

cartell 2020 xerrades familiesWhen the conference hall of the Formentera Day Centre opens its doors at 5.00pm tomorrow for the latest instalment of ‘Xerrades per a famílies i docents’ (Talking with families and teachers), wellness, health and food guide and researcher Marina Ribas asks, What does it mean to eat well? The series is organised by Formentera’s Department of Social Welfare with cooperation from the local education office, the teachers’ resource centre (CEP) and the Formentera parents’ association (FAPA).

Babysitting will be available during the talk.

11 March 2020
Department of Communications
Consell de Formentera

Consell offers Catalan classes for local agents of Guardia Civil

Catalan language instruction will be offered to locally-stationed officers of the Guardia Civil as part of a collaborative agreement struck by the Language Advisory Service of the Formentera Department of Language Policy and the local seat of the General Administration of the State.

Evenings from this Thursday 12 March, five members of the force will attend classes in a room at the Guardia Civil barracks. The first round of classes starts at the beginners’ level —also known as A2— and runs for three months.

According to the island’s language policy chief, Raquel Guasch, the agreement with the Guardia Civil “promotes learning and encourages officers of the law stationed on Formentera to use the local language”. The first of its kind, the agreement between Formentera and Madrid’s office in the Pine Islands is aimed at creating opportunities to learn Catalan and putting the language within reach of Formentera-based officers of the Guardia Civil.

“This is a first step”, said Consellera Guasch, “but the goal is to continue adding courses at different levels, like B1 and B2”.

10 March 2020
Department of Communications
Consell de Formentera

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