Tuesday, March 31, 2020
Yesterday’s announcement of earlier curfew hours takes effect today and the country will be quiet even earlier than ever. I’m not really a night person so this doesn’t affect me much. If it helps get us through this crisis faster, then I am for it 100%.
Daily Presidential Address and Government Report
Some very interesting new developments came out of today’s Presidential address and the accompanying comments by various government Ministers.
COVID-19 Across Peru
The President opened by saying that 115 new cases of COVID-19 reported yesterday bringing the nationwide total to 1065. He commented that the total is doubling about every 5 days. One positive is that the recent rapid rise in the percentage of positive tests stopped for at least a day as the % went down a little. (Keep in mind, that the data is still probably too small and for too short a period to reveal much of significance yet.)
Confirmed cases have been reported in Lima (799), followed by the regions of Loreto (58), Lambayeque (30), Cusco (26), Arequipa (26), Callao (25), Piura (21), La Libertad (19), Junin (17), Ancash (11), Tumbes (10), San Martin (6), Huanuco (6), Ica (5), Tacna (2), Ayacucho (1), Madre de Dios (1), Cajamarca (1), and Pasco (1).
Another positive is that one of the northern regions of concern, La Libertad, is showing a decrease in daily cases and there are now 30 confirmed deaths reported across the country.
He also reported that another 3,000 people were detained yesterday in violation of the quarantine/curfew bringing the nationwide total to over 36,000!
Important Announcements Regarding Education
Of great interest was that school will be start again on April 6 through remote (online) education. Details were not immediately available, but the President is looking at this as a great opportunity to change the landscape of education of Peru and bring it more into the modern world.
“The proposal is ambitious,” he said, “but with the support of society, it will be an opportunity to qualitatively improve our education.”
“We have to work to avoid neglecting education,” he added. “We, as a state, have been working on a fiber optic backbone, but it is used very little. The network is there. It is at this moment that we have to activate it.”
School food programs will recommence on April 6 and they are proposing that Monday, May 4, mark a return to classroom classes!
Support for the Elderly
The Minister for Development and Social Inclusion said that they are working on building a protection network for the elderly.
She says that they will be using a huge group of volunteers — mostly young people, many of whom are health students — who will be contacting older adults by telephone.
Hints About the Future?
Several hints about where this is all going were included in today’s address. Besides the goal of beginning normal classroom education on May 4, he also commented that “it is not on the 13th that everything returns to normal. It is a gradual process.”
Perhaps President’s most important and relevant statement was that “There will be a before and after for Peru and the world regarding COVID-19. Our country will not be the same and we have to adopt a series of attitudes.”
I have a feeling that the President is looking at this crisis as an opportunity to make great improvements and move the country forward in a way that might not have been easily achieved without the present world-wide challenge.
Cusco Changes Rules for Local Mercados
As a response to the huge crowds filling many local neighborhood markets last Saturday, new rules have been set as a response.
Mercados will only be only until 1 pm and will be closed on Saturdays and Sundays. Only one person per family will be allowed to enter and face masks are required.
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