Saturday, April 25, 2020
Peru’s leaders are meeting today to evaluate the current situation and make plans for the future. President Vizcarra is meeting this afternoon with newly appointed Minister of the Interior Gaston Rodriguez and Minister of Economy and Finance Maria Alva.
At the same time Prime Minister Vicente Zeballos is meeting with the High Level Multisectoral Commission against Coronavirus (COVID-19).
I don’t expect any announcements will come from either of these meetings today.
Today looks like it will be a very slow news day which is just fine with me! To be honest, I’m a little tired of spending several hours each day gathering news. I’m not about to stop, but I’m glad for a day to relax a little so I’m going to lead with what I think is a really cool story.
Spectacled (Andean) Bear Sighted at Machu Picchu!
Almost no visitors realize that the Machu Picchu Sanctuary extends much farther than the famous citadel itself and is home to one of the world’s rarely seen bears — the spectacled bear of “Paddington Bear” fame.
Also known as an Andean Bear, there are reportedly only 13 of these bears currently living in the area of Machu Picchu. They are listed as “vulnerable” and can be found in much greater numbers in other parts of the country, but they are extremely shy and rarely seen by even local people.
I’ve asked locals living along the river below Machu Picchu about them and none have seen them and some weren’t even aware that they live in the area!
It appears that the absence of people in the site has encouraged at least one of these bears to pay a visit as recorded on this video on Sernanp’s Facebook page:
Andean Bear at Machu Picchu!
Daily COVID-19 stats from Minsa
The Ministry of Health (Minsa) announced today that the total number of coronavirus cases rose to 25,331. This marked the largest one day total reported so far, but also involved the most test results reported to date.
There are currently 3,532 hospitalized patients with Covid-19, of which 545 are in the ICU with mechanical ventilation.Of the total of positive cases that completed their period of home isolation, 7,797 have been discharged. The number of death across Peru has risen to 700.
Lima has 16,567 cases followed by the regions of Callao (2436), Lambayeque (1388), Loreto (742), Piura (669), La Libertad (481), Ancash (464), Arequipa (364), Ucayali (323 ), Ica (268), Junín (257), Tumbes (240), Cusco (174), Huánuco (160), San Martín (121), Cajamarca (105), Madre de Dios (91), Moquegua (73), Pasco (68), Amazonas (67), Tacna (67), Puno (65), Apurímac (63), Ayacucho (45) and Huancavelica (33).
Fourth Death Reported in Cusco Region
A 40-year-old person has died in the rural village of Huilloc just a 12 km northeast of Ollantaytambo. This is the first Peruvian who has died in the region. The previous three were from Mexico, Hong Kong, and the United States and all passed away in the city of Cusco.
Several families who had contact with the deceased are currently being isolated.
Minsa Sending 43 Health Professionals to Loreto
One of regions with the greatest challenges in dealing with the COVID-19 virus is Loreto. This morning 21 health professionals — 16 doctors and 5 nurses — departed Lima to help in Yurimaguas, Iquitos, and various native communities. (Tomorrow a second group of 22 heath professionals will also leave for Loreto.)
A technical assistance team made up of epidemiologists and specialists also departed on this flight. In addition, the Ministry of Health (Minsa) sent three tons of medical equipment consisting of ventilators, electrocardiographs, a nasal aspirator, thermometers, oxygen pumps, and personal protective equipment for health professionals.
Minister of Heath Victor Zamora explained that a field hospital with a capacity for 100 hospital beds with ventilatory support will be installed in Loreto to support the regional and EsSalud hospitals that are at the limit, in addition to the two shelters where beds have been set up for decent hospitalization.
He added that a field hospital has already been installed in Piura and another one will also be installed in Lambayeque as they are the regions that are presenting the most cases.
Daily US Embassy Update
Alert: BOOK NOW! Eastern Airlines Flight to Miami May 6, Peru (April 25, 2020)
Event: Seats are still available on the Eastern Airlines emergency repatriation flight from Lima to Miami on Wednesday, May 6. The flight on Wednesday, April 29, is fully booked. Flights are open to U.S. citizens and Lawful Permanent Residents (LPRs). Purchase tickets online at https://goeasternair.com, by calling +1 (855) 216-7601, or via WhatsApp +52-1-800-953-1800.
The charter flight from Lima to Miami operated by private tour operator Solange Reps and scheduled for Thursday, April 30, is fully booked. This is not a U.S. Embassy flight. Solange Reps is planning additional flights. For additional information, contact Solange Reps by calling +1 (786) 387-0000 or +51-952-396-417.
We will continue to send regular updates and share pertinent new information about additional flights as it becomes available. We urge U.S. citizens who wish to return to the United States to take advantage of all viable flight options. If you cannot board an upcoming flight, be prepared to remain in Peru until the country’s government ends its nationwide restrictions to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Peru’s state of emergency, closed borders, and quarantine measures are extended through 11:59 PM Sunday, May 10.
We encourage all U.S. citizens in Peru to comply with the Peruvian government’s quarantine measures and to follow the instructions of Peruvian authorities. Limit your time outside, carry your identification and phone, and remember that the use of a facemask is required in public.
What’s Happening in My Neighborhood…
It’s been a very interesting day. Late in the morning, one of the neighborhood leaders came walking through announcing that our sidewalks and building (outside) would be getting a second round of fumigation and they also encouraged us to scrub down the sidewalks and building exteriors to help.
(The last time this happened a couple of weeks ago we were told there was a confirmed case of COVID-19 in our neighborhood, but nothing like that was mentioned today.)
I was just about to walk to the supermarket about 20 minutes away, but went back up to grab my broom and help clean up. It’s fun to be a part of the neighborhood by working alongside neighbors.
When we were all done, I made the walk down the the huge Plaza Vea supermarket located at Cusco’s indoor mall, Plaza Real. There were quite a few people out on a Saturday morning and the buses seemed to be busy as expected.
When I got to the mall, it was clear that a lot of people planned to do their Saturday shopping before the normal nationwide Sunday lockdown. Cars are not allowed in so everyone walks up the entrance from Avenida de la Cultura.
In front of the store hundreds of people were winding back and forth across the parking lot waiting to be allowed in. I expected to take at least an hour to get in, but I made it inside in only 34 minutes.
It’s interesting how there are no police — only one security guard at the start of the line showing people where to line up and another near the store entrance. Everyone was keeping at least 1-2 meters distance between each other. Despite the hot sun and slow moving line, it was a quiet crowd of people simply waiting to get inside.
No protesters dressing like GI Joe-wannabes carrying assault rifles in an attempt to look tough. No people whining about how they were being inconvenienced. Only people waiting to shop while accepting the necessary arrangements that are keeping all of us here safe and well. It’s so refreshing after watching the lunacy going on in the US.
Inside was a little more crowded than I expected and certainly more so than in previous visits here, but people were still keeping their distance and patient as we all made our way through the store. I didn’t notice anything out of stock. Indeed, there were a few more things than usual which was nice. We simply haven’t experiences shortages of anything here.
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