Wednesday, June 24, 2020
Summary of Presidential Press Conference
Today’s highly anticipated press conference was a review of the measures the county has taken in the battle against COVID-19. President Vizcarra detailed the many actions taken as well as explaining the results achieved.
President Vizcarra opened by saying “The decision we made on March 15 was the best and most essential one. If we had not done it, we would have had the damage that we can appreciate many times over today…A country without quarantine would have been in chaos and in a more critical situation than the one we are experiencing today.”
“Today, after 100 days,” he continued, “we can see that we are beginning to see the results of the great effort we have all made… For two weeks we have been seeing indicators that give us encouragement and hope for the future”.
“Of the 264,000 people who have tested positive,” he said, “over 60% have already recovered and there are only 104,000 people who have the active virus, out of the 151,589 who have already recovered.”
“On March 6, when we took the news of the first case in Peru, we received the information from the Minsa of 100 ICU beds. Today we have 1323 and we believe that we still need to continue our efforts to reach the goal of 2,000 ICU beds.”
“On the subject of the 100 days, some people have pointed out that the government was right to react to the pandemic, but they also say that we have taken a long time to solve various problems in the country. I think they failed to mention the structural problems of the country.”
“Some are demanding that we solve the country’s problems in 100 days, which have not been solved in 100 years. They ask us why we have not solved the problems in health, education, facilities to transfer the bonds. Nothing has been done about this in the last 100 years.”
Vizcarra continued to remind everyone of the dire situation which existed at the start of the crisis with an inadequate system and how the government and medical community has worked tirelessly to improve the system over the past 3 months.
He also pointed out that that about 35% of the health personnel are not working to deal with this pandemic because of risk factors such as their age, some pre-existing illness, or because they were infected.
Vizcarra also talked about the government’s interventions in the markets to insure that sanitary protocols are implemented. For example, in Lima 23 markets were intervened and 22 have already been opened under different conditions.
When asked about a potential vaccine and it’s availability, Vizcarra said “”There is a public team that is looking at the different options (about the vaccine). As it is public, there are about 12 recognized laboratories that are working on different vaccine options. With 3 important groups there is contact, relationship and we have the political commitments with the presidents. We are talking with these powers.”
Shopping Center Openings Come With Problems
The Chamber of Commerce of Lima invoked the large, medium and small businessmen, shopping centers, transporters and citizens in general to continue to strictly comply with the rules of health and social distancing established to avoid further spread of the coronavirus epidemic.
They reminded everyone that the distance to be maintained between people should be at least 1.5 meters, in addition to wearing masks, going out only if necessary, and having a representative per family to go shopping or do paperwork.
The business association said that, although it requested the reopening of the economy and specifically of the commercial centers and conglomerates to avoid the bankruptcy of many businesses and enterprises, it is also necessary to remember that the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) is not over.
They said that a resurgence in the spread of the virus could mean a new quarantine, which would put the country’s economic recovery at risk.
There have been many reports of people all over the country — including Cusco’s Plaza Real mall — not following social distancing rules while accessing shopping centers.
Daily COVID Update from Minsa
The Ministry of Health reported 3,879 new cases of COVID-19 which brings the nationwide total to 264,689. They also reported 182 new deaths bringing the total COVID-related deaths to 8,586.
There are 10,599 patients hospitalized with Covid-19, of which 1,166 are in ICU with mechanical ventilation. So far 151,589 people have completed their period of home isolation or have been discharged from a health facility.
Lima continues to be the region with the highest number of Covid-19 infections to date with 149,377 followed by the regions of Callao (17 372), Piura (15 863), Lambayeque (12 709), La Libertad (8849), Loreto (8681), Ancash (7444), Ucayali (7293), Ica (6585), Arequipa (6187), San Martín (3804), Junín (3403), Tumbes (2386), Huanuco (1957), Amazonas (1689), Cajamarca (1678), Cusco (1656), Ayacucho (1603), Madre de Dios (1432), Pasco (888), Moquegua (868), Huancavelica (833), Tacna (815), Puno (814) and Apurimac (503).
COVID in Cusco
The Regional Health Directorate (Diresa) of Cusco has recorded 59 new cases of COVID yesterday bringing the total to 2,001 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 24 deaths from the new coronavirus.
During the 100-day quarantine in Peru, the Cusco Regional Hospital treated more than 800 suspected COVID-19 patients in differentiated triage, 70 of whom tested positive and had to be hospitalized.
The head of the COVID Unit in Cusco, infectious disease expert Enrique Arana, said that in March they started with only three beds in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) for COVID-19 and to date, they only have 21.
Arana told RPP Noticias that in the first few days the work was hard because many of his colleagues were afraid of the virus, but he encouraged them to continue on the front line of the battle against the new coronavirus.
Minsa to Expand Care in Indigenous Rainforest Communities
The Ministry of Health (Minsa) and the regional governments will implement measures for the execution of the Intervention Plan for the indigenous communities and rural population centers of the Amazon in the face of the Covid-19 emergency, due to the fact that the government established complementary measures and authorized the transfer of resources.
The decree authorizes a transfer of items up to the amount of 74,558,670 soles, the purchase of medicines and personal protection equipment, the distribution of personal protection equipment, medicines and other goods necessary for prevention and/or treatment of COVID-19, along with the the hiring of medical and other personnel to implement the care of people in communities in the Amazon.
Misc News Highlights
- 223 police officers have died from COVID-19 since the state of emergency began. Interior Minister Gastón Rodríguez said that some 6,000 officers defeated COVID-19 and resumed their duties. He lamented the deaths of these policemen “who, because they were doing their job, were unfortunately infected.”
- RPP Noticias reports that Dr. Juan Astuvilca, dean of the Lima Medical Association, said that the group has proposed to the government to move to a mandatory social quarantine in a targeted manner because this restrictive measure, as is currently happening, “is no longer sustainable.”
- Mayors of East Lima and Central Lima ask the Government to maintain the curfew, to avoid contagion of the new coronavirus.
- President Vizcarra announced that next week 400 mechanical ventilators that were purchased from China will arrive in Peru.
Temporary Hospital Almost Ready to Open
The new Modular Hospital of Cusco is almost ready to open its doors to deal specifically with patients with COVID-19.
Since late May, hundreds of workers were responsible for assembling the care modules, installation of different services and lifting the tent under which the new hospital is located. The construction and installation work is now complete and the hospital is ready to open with 100 beds.
“The assembly of the structure, equipment and adaptation are already almost 100%. We just need the oxygen bottles to arrive, which must be here tomorrow (Wednesday) at the latest. It is expected that President Martin Vizcarra will be present for the inauguration that is already scheduled, but the time has yet to be confirmed”, according to Néstor Larico, sub-prefect of the district of Cuzco.
The modular hospital will employ 90 health professionals, including doctors, nurses, intensivists, technical staff and others, who were recruited specifically for the hospital, which means that they will not be transferred from other positions to serve on site.
The site where this structure is located was occupied by a sports field belonging to the Regional Hospital of Cusco, the land had to be intervened by heavy machinery of the Regional Government. The work began during the fortnight of the previous month.
JP Morgan See Growth in 3Q
The resumption of economic activities in Peru started to have an impact on its gross domestic product (GDP) since May and will allow it to return to the path of growth as of the third quarter of this year, analysts expect.
According to seasonally adjusted JP Morgan indicators, Peruvian economy fell 16% in the first quarter of 2020, that is, it saw a decline from the fourth quarter of 2019 (October, November, and December).
JP Morgan expects a 58% decrease in GDP in the second quarter of 2020, compared to the first three-month period of the year (January, February and March).
Peru’s economic activity fell 40.49% year-on-year in April, due to the state of national emergency to deal with the coronavirus, which affected the country’s production.
However, a few weeks ago, Economy and Finance Minister Maria Antonieta Alva affirmed that the Peruvian economy witnessed a slight recovery in the last week of May. In addition, the government official predicted that the South American country would return to the path of growth from June onwards.
Within this framework, JP Morgan has projected that in the third quarter (July, August and September) of 2020, Peru’s economy will register a 35% growth compared to the second quarter of the same year. Furthermore, for the fourth quarter of 2020, JP Morgan foresees an expansion of 30% of national GDP, in relation to the previous quarter.
COVID Reports from Across Peru
Most Regional Health Directorates post graphics each day on the current situation in their region each day. I’m going to try to keep up with these as best as I can for those regions that are particularly problematic so people can keep up with what is specifically happening in other parts of the country where there are particularly serious problems.
Most regions post daily reports late on the night before (but not all) so this is the latest information available. (Be sure to click on individual graphics to see a larger size.You might have to click on the top half of the graphic to click. Sorry, it’s a bug I haven’t been able to solve.)
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