After a relatively quiet period with few infections, businesses on the Orihuela Costa have seen a recent surge in cases of Coronavirus around the area with a number of bars and restaurants closing their doors following suspected instances among members of staff, some with vulnerable family members, who are now self-isolating at home.

Unfortunately, despite doing the sensible thing, closing their doors and professionally disinfecting the premises, business owners say that they are extremely disappointed with the lack of information and support they have received from the Department of Health.

They are being told that there is no need for them to close their doors simply because an employee tests positive.

They also say that that their staff are receiving conflicting information when calling the advice line telephone numbers while reception personnel at the Cabo Roig Medical Centre insist that Coronavirus tests will only be carried out on individuals who live with a person who has already tested positive.

It is also being reported that only one nurse is available to carry out PCR tests in the Cabo Roig Centre on a daily basis, when, over a 2 hour period no more than 30 tests are being carried out.

Many people also say that they are being turned away from the medical centre despite having previously been in contact with members of the public who are suffering from the virus and the few individuals who are being allocated tests say that they are having to wait for up to a week before it can be carried out.

As a result of their frustration dozens are now turning to private clinics where antigeno tests cost in the region of 40 euro. Although results are turned around in a matter of minutes it is not as reliable, however, as the PCR test carried out by the Health Authority.

Local businessmen are now saying that enough is enough and that support being provided on the Orihuela Costa is totally inadequate to meet the needs of the 30,000 strong population, as a result of which the Orihuela Costa and Cabo Roig Business Associations have joined together to send a letter of protest to the Ministry of Health in Valencia, the Orihuela Ayuntamiento, the Local health authority, Torrevieja University Hospital and the Cabo Roig Medical Centre.

The letter, which is signed by 25 local business, is reproduced in English, below.

Dear Sir/Madam,

Orihuela Costa has had very few Covid-19 cases up to the end of October however there are now many new infections every day and these new cases are not being attended to in an efficient manner.

This steep rise in cases is particularly serious here because of the number of people over 60 who live in Orihuela Costa is very high and so the potential for serious illness among this age demographic is also high which could put a tremendous strain on the health service in health area 22. In general, these pensioners are from abroad and they do not have family support here.

Businesses in Orihuela Costa have meticulously followed the strict government guidelines but they are unfortunately having to close down because there are no tourists, the resident population are living cautiously and frugally and unfortunately the government are not helping. More than 50% of the businesses in the hospitality sector who were operating in 2019 have now gone out of business. Obviously, owners, staff, entertainers and suppliers are all suffering and there is no real backup for them.

At the moment there is a huge backlog of people needing tests and some have to wait for a week or more to get a test, followed by at least two days to receive their results. We believe that there not enough resources allocated at present to the testing process, forcing hundreds of people in business to have 40€ Antigenos tests in Imed and Quiron Torrevieja.

This is not correct; workers and business owners are paying into the social security system but they cannot get an appointment for a PCR test in their local health centre and they end up paying private companies for some short-lived peace-of-mind. Additionally, the communication between the private hospitals and Salud Publica is totally inadequate and inefficient.

Widescale and easily accessible PCR and Antigenos testing is essential now to prevent increased infection rates along with high hospital and UCI admissions and ultimately deaths. Appointments for tests should be available within 24 of the first contact and results also within 24 hours with clear information and instruction given at each point of contact. Follow-up control calls for those who have tested positive need to be made every 48 hours.

Can we suggest using an outdoor tent-like structure (for proper ventilation) beside the Aguamarina medical centre with sufficiently trained staff to carry out 300-500 tests per day, seven days a week. We envisage that 8-10 staff would be needed to carry out these tests and to label and store the tests properly. Vital to this process is the booking of appointments and giving results on dedicated phone lines.

Thank you for considering our urgent plea for more testing.

OC Avanza Business Association:

Golf Sun Europe – Raymond Kearney (President)

Paddy’s Point – Hazel Connor

Randy Leprechaun – Willy Delaney

The Leader Newspaper – Kevin Reardon

C Breeze & Rustica – Catrin

Spud Murphy’s – Lisa Kelly

Smart Sell – Rachel Bellamy

Randy Leprechaun – Babs

Perfect 10 – Ellie

Gap – Sean Quinn

Perfect 10 – Priscilla Conrey

Cabo Roig Business Association

O’Riordan’s – Niall Burns (President)

Innisfree – Brian Kiernan

Orange Tree – Chris Brauchli

Queen Victoria – Karl Court

Cabo Roig Inn – Dave

Flamenca Holiday Rentals – Julie Baber

Milo’s – Miley Byrne

Rogue Kitchen – Debbie Kearney

Bay Barbers –  Dan

OCPS – Kike

El Faro – Dermot Moore

Bar Liquid – María

La Rotonda – Lawrence Hannigan

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