A day in Conil, the paradigm of the coast: surrounded by Covid with an incidence of almost 1,500

Conil de la Frontera (Cádiz) has opened this week the news for its record figures As for his contagion rate. It has others, like the 27 coupon vendors in Once who are selling piecemeal in the summer. The data is important, because the official population of the town is 23,775 inhabitants. There is one coupon for every 870 neighbors. There is one on each corner, to the point that you have the impression that you are walking in circles. There are no natives for so much coupon. Not even among Conileños there is an excessive fondness for games of chance.

The answer to the fact that there are so many coupon sales is that in summer, Conil fills up with foreigners who buy numbers. Of these, in this story, there are many. The alarm went off on July 6, when the town exceeded the rate of 1,000 infections per 100,000 inhabitants. Six days later, it reached 1,453 infections per 100,000. On Friday, the incidence dropped to 1,163.

The town began to appear in the national news. Then there was a viral video, that of dozens of young people huddled together on a street march, without distance or masks. “Here most of the people are respectful, and we are paying because of 30 or 40 unpresentable ones.” Since then, potential tourists have called the City Council asking if the town is closed, says the mayor, Juan Bermúdez.

Record figures

Conil in June it reaches 45,000 inhabitants. Bermúdez explains. They know it precisely from the increase in tons of garbage and, thanks to Big Data, the number of mobile terminals in the town is known. “When crossing the data of the garbage and the telephones, they give us similar numbers,” he points out.

In July there are times when the population can reach the 75,000 people, without counting those that are only going to get through the day. In August, the figure exceeds 85.000. It is one of the Andalusian towns with the largest number of accommodation places: 25,000, including hotels and rentals, not counting second homes, which are legion.

A family, wearing a mask, walks through the center of town

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Conil de la Frontera

To these record figures are added its 14 kilometers of beaches, a well-kept historic center, many parking spaces, a good range of hotels and nightlife. A lot. In fact, most of the infections that have put Conil in the spotlight throughout Spain have affected young people “Fortunately, asymptomatic or with mild symptoms,” says the mayor.

He insists that the incident “is not real. 300 infections on 23,775 inhabitants is not the same as on 75,000. There is no public health problem. And above all, we cannot criminalize a people or all youth for an image that is being repeated in other parts of Spain ”.

In fact, if the incidence had been calculated based on the population that the town currently has, with 300 infections, the incidence in Conil would not have been 1440, but 400. It would have been placed 64 points below than the Spanish average, which on Friday already exceeded 500 cases per one hundred thousand inhabitants.

People go down to Los Bateles beach with their masks on

People go down to Los Bateles beach with their masks on

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The town lives from fishing and agriculture, and when summer arrives it has three months in which thousands of jobs are created and its economy is consolidated for the whole year. In just one week there have been many reservation cancellations for fear of the coronavirus. In hotels, in campsites, in apartments … “Around 20 or 30 percent of hotel companies and in our case, ten percent in rental apartments”, say from the Real Estate ‘Hijos de Conil’ , in the center of the town. “This has damaged us, yes.”

Nightlife

With the friendly face of being privileged municipalities, the cross of nightlife, infections and tripling population has also affected Rate (1,264 infections per one hundred thousand inhabitants) or Marbella (990 infections per one hundred thousand inhabitants). The Junta de Andalucía could have decreed its perimeter closure with prior judicial authorization.

But territorial health committees, where health experts and epidemiologists analyze weekly data, you are taking into account two factors. The first, that these tourist towns now triple their population, and the data, therefore, do not reflect demographic reality Township. The second is that, at the moment, there is no hospital pressure.

In Conil, PCR is performed both in the public health center and in a private one. “About three hundred tests are done a day, which is practically like doing a screening. That is also influencing if we are compared with other towns that do not do so many. And on Saturday there is a massive vaccination ”, details the mayor.

The mayor issued a statement last week making the face mask outside obligatory in the historic center, where the narrowness of its streets and the huge flow of people make it impossible to walk at night keeping distance.

The City Council has installed posters indicating alternative itineraries

The City Council has installed posters indicating alternative itineraries

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Conil de la Frontera

Has been installed posters that remembers the obligatory nature of its use. There are also indicators of alternative routes in case of crowds. Local Police and Civil Protection are located at strategic points to control and advise “and will be sanctioned if necessary.”

Outside its scope of competence, the Junta de Andalucía has received a battery of proposals, such as advancing the closing hours of cocktail bars, not allowing concentrations of people to a maximum number or reinforcing the monitoring of confinements.

The perfect Storm

“When they said that it was not mandatory, few used it. And now, everyone is wearing it, especially those here, who are very aware. Know that the papas, that you have to be cautious, reverse the situation and set an example, ”says Javi, a controller from the Blue Zone. “In fact, if you look at it, the few people who don’t wear it now are from abroad,” he says. The precaution has achieved that the accumulated incidence has been able to drop 13 points, up to 1,140 cases per one hundred thousand inhabitants.

Until noon, tourists have coffee and breakfast, with the indolence typical of someone on vacation. Then they start to go down towards the beach. Almost all with a mask. But first, the native has spent hours at the pit.

A greengrocer in the Conil municipal food market

A greengrocer in the Conil municipal food market

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In the food market there are many of them, such as María José, from Pescadería Aragón. “Here has been the perfect storm”, Sustains EL ESPAÑOL. “That the Government declare that the use of the mask in open spaces was no longer mandatory the last weekend of June, which unleashed euphoria, the massive arrival of tourists, new strains and youth.” There is optimism in Paco Vázquez’s Fruit Shop. “We are going to get out of this. And we don’t even think about a closure ”.

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