You’ve probably heard by now that Cusco and all of Peru was placed on a mandatory quarantine under President Vizcarra’s declaration of a State of Emergency last night.
(Scroll down to read a quick summary of what he said.)
It appears that compliance and implementation are all over the place. The President and various ministers are actually doing a press conference right now and it sounds like President Vizcarra is quite upset with the lack of compliance across the country. I’ll be posting about that soon.
So What’s Happening in Cusco Right Now?
It appears that compliance is being ignored by an awful lot of businesses as well as people. The streets and sidewalks are full. It looked very much like a normal Monday morning.
Surprisingly, the stores and markets don’t seem to be overwhelmed at all right now — at least those relatively close to the central historical district. There aren’t any big crowds, though people are definitely shopping. Some stores are reportedly limiting purchases of items like eggs to avoid hoarding.
There were lines at many of the banks. The Avianca airline office on Av El Sol had a long line, but the other offices in that cluster near the Q’oricancha appear to be closed. I imagine the airport must be a nightmare as flights were still going out this morning.
Sadly, the rumors are swirling about flights out of the country. As I haven’t heard anything official yet, I’m not going to share what I’ve heard. The best thing you can do is try to contact your airline if you need to fly, though I’m hearing from everyone that the phones lines are not being answered.
One person told me the military was blocking the Av. de la Cultura entrance to the Plaza Real mall for cars, but were allowing foot traffic since the Plaza Vea supermarket and the pharmacies are open today.
As I walked around I saw a lot of businesses open, but their doors were not completely open. Seeing customers come out carrying their purchases confirmed it. I was surprised that even some restaurants were open despite the strict prohibition.
Buses are also running all over town, though it appeared that they are not allowed overcrowding. I saw one bus worker refuse to allow anyone on once the all seats were full.
I saw very few police and only one soldier who walked in front of the Mercado Wanchaq looking he realized there was nothing he could do to affect the overwhelming masses on the sidewalks.
The police presence increased and they were a little more assertive as I neared Av El Sol. Some were using bullhorns to tell people to keep a 1 meter distance between each other. There was a lot more patrolling near the bank lines.
I have a feeling things are going to get a lot more strict in the next 24 hours, but after that I don’t think any of us really know what to expect.
The good thing is that everyone seems quite calm right now. With plenty of food available and banks operating as usual, there’s nothing to be scared of yet.
Summary of the President’s declaration of a State of Emergency (Sunday Night, 3-15-20)
– all borders are closed. No more flights starting at 12:00 pm tonight. Apparently that means nothing going in or out in and out. (NOTE: As of this morning there are still domestic flights and international flights going out today, but that will probably end very, very soon.)
– During the State of Emergency, the PNP and the Armed Forces will take charge of security. Constitutional rights are suspended.
– 15 days of social quarantine. Not sure how this is going to take place, but basics including pharmacies and banks will remain open. The government guarantees food, water, gas, waste collection, sanitation, electricity, etc.
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