A survey by Barcelona city council has found that residents in the Ciutat Vella area are concerned by security in the neighbourhood (article in Catalan, Avui). The research was carried out between April 23rd and July 23rd this year, and found that a third of the people living in Ciutat Vella identified the district as unsafe. Many of those people concerned about security identified it as the problem that was most serious for them. Unemployment came second on the overall list of concerns, which in general was rated in the survey as a much bigger problem than in previous years. The survey also found that users of the bike rental service Bicing were notably less satisfied with it than last year.
Catalunya is now officially in the midst of a swine flu epidemic (article in Castilian, El Periodico). This means that it is affecting 110 of every 100,000 residents, the official level of infection that health authorities designate an epidemic. Last week, 1,475 people suffering from swine flu (here called gripe A) were treated at health centres around Catalunya. Children have been particularly affected by the illness: 230 of every 110,000 child under the age of four have been infected in recent days, while 220 of every 110,000 children between five and fourteen have got ill. The Generalitat’s health ministry has forecast that the epidemic will reach its peak at some point within the next four to five weeks. Many of those affected by gripe A show minimal symptoms, but doctors are being vigilant in those cases where patients also develop bi-pulmonary pneumonia, which has happened with 45 people here since April, when the first case appeared; three-quarters of those affected by pneumonia were aged between 15 and 44. Five people have died of swine flu since it was first detected in Catalunya.
The tiger mosquito is flourishing in Barcelona's industrial area, Zona Franca, to the extent that Mayor Jordi Hereu changed the location of a meeting to avoid attendees having to go to the area (article in Castilian, El Periodico). After an already problematic summer due to the number of tiger mosquitoes in the area, tens of thousands of the insects are said to have appeared since last week, close to the Paseo de la Zona Franco, causing problems for residents and visitors. Amongst other places, the Francesc Candel library has been infested with tiger mosquitoes and the meeting that Jordi Hereu decided to move, with an organisation of Dutch businesspeople, was due to take place there. However, after the people setting up the meeting were affected by a significant number of bites, a new venue was found, a decision that angered locals. They have been complaining for various months to the Parks and Gardens department of the council about the growing number of tiger mosquitoes, and identified a pond in a local park that they say could be the source of the creatures; although the pond is empty, there are numerous pools of water where the mosquitoes can deposit their larvae. While action has been taken to get rid of the standing water, according to Barcelona’s Public Health Agency, recent rain and heat have seen the mosquitoes flourish once again.
Also in the news: Man shot in La Sagrera (La Vanguardia); Catalan writer wins prize for fictional account of Truman Capote’s time in Costa Brava (La Vanguardia); Less people using public transport in Barcelona (Avui)