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Formentera logs new arrivals and pleads with authorities to start port checks immediately

foto 2020 Estat AlarmaThe Consell de Formentera reports that from today ferry companies will give all passengers arriving on Formentera a questionnaire so that a log can be created with personal data, contact information, provenance, reason of visit and expected date of departure, as the case may be. Pamphlets will be distributed with urgent measures under the state of alarm and other Covid-19 containment measures, and travellers will be asked to voluntarily self-isolate.

The pamphlet has been in the works since Friday, when the Formentera began urging recent arrivals to contact the island’s government by phoning 971321087. Besides receiving the same information that is currently being dispatched to ferry companies, callers will be asked to voluntarily self-isolate. Since rollout of the safety mechanism, 110 calls have been received from persons recently arrived on Formentera from varying affected areas.

Harbour checks
The Consell de Formentera will use the lists to monitor each new arrival’s case, periodically reaching out to see if individuals are experiencing urgent needs and if they are well. Alejandra Ferrer, president of the island government, described it as a temporary measure while the people of Formentera “wait for national agencies and security forces to begin implementing checks at our port of entry”. “The administration has been urgently pleading with the relevant government agencies and it is our understanding that efforts are under way to that end.”

Speaking to residents and business owners who have voiced frustration over the absence of more restrictive entry measures or controls on new arrivals, Ferrer pointed out the Consell’s lack of jurisdiction in Port de la Savina, an area that is controlled by national and regional authorities. “We’ve been asking for control over entry from day-one”, said the president, “and yesterday we managed to activate minimum services regulations that make controlling entry a little easier”. Officials are currently looking at ways to reduce ferry connections even further.

The island’s president insisted that transport of goods of basic necessity would continue guaranteed, and asked residents to heed the state of alarm by staying home and leaving the house only when strictly necessary. “We’re working to see to it that during these times of public health crisis Formentera remains the safest island possible. And if everyone steps up to a part of personal responsibility, it will help us do that.” “Commendable” was how she described the efforts and understanding of residents and local business owners, both of whom are on the hook for measures under the state of alarm, and she acknowledged that the current moment was “a difficult one, but we hope to be going back to normal in the weeks ahead”. Ferrer also had a word of thanks for “our healthcare workers, who are literally risking their lives to keep us safe”.

15 March 2020
Department of Communications
Consell de Formentera

In bid to contain Covid-19, Eivissa-Formentera ferries begin minimum service today

The Consell de Formentera reports that for two weeks starting today and in a measure aimed at containment of Covid-19, ferry service between Formentera and Eivissa will be reduced to a minimum. The new modified service will include ten daily trips in each direction, including early-morning and late-evening journeys.

As the island’s president, Alejandra Ferrer, pointed out yesterday, the latest measure is seen as both precautionary and useful for containment. Under minimum services, the transport of goods considered basic essentials is guaranteed, and all but strictly necessary personal travel is forbidden. The measure will make it possible to implement controls on arriving individuals, who, for instance, will be appraised of a range of recommendations to follow.

Checks of passengers arriving at port
President Ferrer insisted that individuals coming to the island would soon be subject to certain controls. Visitors travelling from affected areas will have their information entered into a database that the Consell de Formentera will use to monitor their condition. Travellers from at-risk regions will be urged to voluntarily self-isolate and public health authorities will monitor their case. Individuals with symptoms must follow the recommendations of health authorities.

Appeal to Armengol
After an address yesterday evening in which Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez declared a state of alert across the entire Spanish territory, Formentera’s chief policymaker sent a letter pointing out Formentera’s distinctly unique situation and calling on Balearic first minister Francina Armengol to see to it that the relevant authorities enact strict measures to control travel onto the island.

Furthermore, depending on how the health crisis develops and in an effort to ensure the safety and wellbeing of Formentera’s inhabitants, Ferrer said she wasn’t ruling out the possibility of making the island’s closure “hermetic”.

14 March 2020
Department of Communications
Consell de Formentera

Formentera-Eivissa ferry connections restricted in bid to contain Covid-19

The Consell de Formentera took new measures today aimed at preventing and containing the spread of Covid-19 on the island. “Ferry companies will maintain minimum service between Formentera and Eivissa so goods can continue to arrive”, said President Alejandra Ferrer, “however, we are asking people to forgo all but the most necessary voyages”. The reduction will make it easier for agents stationed in the harbour to check arriving passengers, who Ferrer pointed out would be subject to a litany of recommendations and tips.

The island government is now in talks with the ferry companies to work out details of scheduling and the new restricted entry scheme will be enacted in short order. Following a request from Formentera representatives, later today the Balearic cabinet will review minimum services regulation which will lay the groundwork for this latest containment measure. The regulation calls for ten daily journeys in both directions, and requires early-morning and late-evening service as well.

Checks of arriving travelers
The president explained that the Formentera government is “working with other agencies and administrations to implement security checks for those individuals coming to the island”. Passengers will be provided general recommendations and encouraged to self-isolate if they are arriving from an affected area. Health authorities will be notified as well so that the recent arrivals can be properly monitored.

Ferrer called the minimum services regulation “yet another precautionary measure that will allow us to track entry on the island”, and described it as “a responsible move”. Goods will always be allowed entry and individuals will not be restricted in their movement so long as the travel is necessary, she added, citing examples such as visits to the Eivissa hospital. Inhabitants of the island are asked to avoid any travel that can be put off until later.

Recent arrivals from at-risk areas
President Ferrer also asked all those individuals on Formentera who arrived in the last week from affected areas like Madrid, Barcelona or Italy to telephone the Consell at 971.32.10.87 so they can receive best practices recommendations and be monitored. Such persons should also call 061 if they experience symptoms like cough, fever or shortness of breath and, as a precautionary measure, self-isolate and reduce interpersonal contact to an absolute minimum.

Recommendations for the hospitality sector
Ferrer asked local hotels or restaurants that are unable to comply with containment measures (safe distance, hygiene, continuous cleaning of all surfaces, discouraging groups) to close for the next two to three weeks.

The message was not extended to “basic-needs” businesses like supermarkets and food vendors, pharmacies and petrol stations, which, together with ferry companies, have received informational material about coronavirus, transmission, preventive measures and frequent signs and symptoms.

Ferrer renewed her appeal to islanders’ “sense of individual responsibility” in preventing the virus’s spread, helping keep hospitals in good working order and protecting those groups that are most vulnerable to coronavirus, namely, individuals over 65 and people with pre-existing medical conditions.

According to Ferrer, “exceptional times call for exceptional measures”. She urged islanders to “stay at home whenever possible and minimise interpersonal contact”, adding, “If you absolutely must go out, now is a great time to take walks in nature—where groups can be avoided”. Ferrer thanked the people of Formentera for their cooperation and promised, “If we all do our part, getting back to normal will be that much easier.”

13 March 2020
Department of Communications
Consell de Formentera

Formentera suspends cultural and sporting events, closes municipal buildings to contain Covid-19

The Formentera government is implementing various measures, some cautionary, some geared toward containment, in view of the local threat of Covid-19. For two weeks starting tomorrow, cultural, sporting and any other activities which are either organised by the Consell de Formentera or held in municipal buildings will be suspended.

The following buildings will be closed:
Poliesportiu Antoni Blanc, the municipal pool and IES Marc Ferrer sports facility
Sports pitches, including in Es Cap de Barbaria and the municipal football field
Casal de Joves
Biblioteca Marià Villangómez [Sant Francesc] and Punt de Lectura [Sant Ferran]
Sala d’Actes de Cultura (Cinema)
Sala d’Exposicions ‘Ajuntament Vell’
Far de la Mola
Casa del Poble [La Mola]
Ethnological Museum [Sant Francesc]
Torre des Pi des Català
Casal d’Entitats

The following activities are suspended or postponed:
Courses and workshops organised by the Consell de Formentera.
Activities like lectures, day-long events, film showings at the cinema, theatrical productions and other events organised by the Consell de Formentera.
Any activities in which the local government collaborates or which are held in municipal buildings.

Escola de Música
Non-accredited classes offered by the Consell de Formentera at the School of Music are cancelled. Accredited classes offered by the Govern balear remain unchanged.

Formentera Escoletes
As mandated by the regional health ministry, nursery service is being maintained in an effort to allow islanders to balance work and home life. However, Formentera’s local government urges those parents or guardians who are able to stay home and care for their young ones to do so.

Tanatori
The island’s funeral parlour will continue operations under a hygiene-oriented protocol. Special guidelines will likewise be proposed for offering condolences.

Citizen’s Information Office
The OAC will remain open, but islanders are encouraged to handle formalities online at https://ovac.conselldeformentera.cat.

Social Services
Operations will continue but islanders are asked to make telephone inquiries whenever possible (971.32.12.71).

Public transport
In the interest of mobility, service will continue but taxi and bus drivers are urged to follow protocol and use a maximum of hygiene measures. Seniors and individuals with pre-existing conditions are encouraged not to use public transport.

Consell de Formentera president Alejandra Ferrer said the decision was about “being responsible in light of health authorities’ recommendations that all but the most necessary activities be postponed or cancelled in order to prevent group activities from turning municipal buildings into sources of infection”.

“The measures are indeed restrictive”, said Ferrer, “but we are asking individuals to do their part as members of the community so we can continue providing adequate healthcare and protecting those most vulnerable. We are trying to ensure Formentera is the safest place possible during this public health crisis. Our goal is to return to normalcy and resume our economic activity as soon as possible.”

“These measures are being implemented with the latest information and directives, but the entire administration is on permanent alert and stands ready to update protocols as necessary.”

Individuals with symptoms associated with infection should telephone 061 but not visit the Formentera Hospital. The Govern balear has launched an information line at 900.10.18.63.


12 March 2020
Department of Communications
Consell de Formentera

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.

Communications
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

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