Saturday, June 27, 2020
If you missed it last night and today, the big news is that the Stats of Emergency was extended through July 31 and the quarantine was lifted for most, but not all, of the country. (Read more on that below.)
There are still a LOT of questions to be answered about how the country will move forward. I get asked a lot of questions — and I mean a LOT of questions! I get frustrated at the many questions (like will international travel start again in August) that have been answered over and over and over, but I’m even more frustrated that there are so many questions that I can’t answer.
I’m not frustrated with the people who ask, but that I don’t have an answer for them. I really want to, but there are still so many things that are being planned. I don’t blame anyone in the government who’s honestly trying to do their best. They had to deal with something for which no one was ready and now they have to restart an entire nation from scratch while dealing with systems that are outdated and unprepared.
Hopefully, I won’t have to say “I don’t know” for too much longer. I really feel bad because I write this every day with the sole intention of sharing information and, when I don’t have answers, that’s when I feel frustrated. But with patience, we’ll all get our answers eventually. And when I learn more answers, I’ll always share them here.
In the meantime, please feel free to ask and I’ll do my best.
State of Emergency Extended through July
Last night the Peruvian government announced the extension of the State of National Emergency until July 31, 2020, in order to contain the spread of the new coronavirus.
This will all go into effect on Wednesday, July 1.
According to Supreme Decree No. 116-2020-PCM, the exercise of constitutional rights regarding personal freedom and security are restricted. Also the inviolability of the home and the freedom of assembly and transit in the territory.
The government imposed mandatory social isolation (quarantine) in the departments of Arequipa, Ica, Junín, Huánuco, San Martín, Madre de Dios and Áncash. In the rest of the country, the quarantine was lifted.
In the above-mentioned regions, the movement of persons is permitted only for the provision of and access to essential services and goods, as well as for the provision of services of authorized economic activities.
At the national level, there is an obligatory social immobilization (curfew) of all persons in their homes from 10 p.m. to 4 a.m. the following day, Monday through Sunday, with the exception of the departments of Arequipa, Ica, Junín, Huánuco, San Martín, Madre de Dios and Áncash.
In those regions, the mandatory social security detention of persons in their homes is in effect from 8 p.m. until 4 a.m. the following day. On Sundays, the mandatory social security detention is for the entire day.
During the curfew, the strictly necessary personnel involved in the provision of the services of food supply, health, medicine, financial services, the continuity of water, sanitation, electric power, gas, fuel, telecommunications and related activities, cleaning and collection of solid waste, funeral services, and transport of cargo and goods and related activities, activities related to the resumption of economic activities, transport of flows, the latter as stipulated by the Ministry of Transport and Communications, may circulate.
In addition, pharmacies, drugstores and apothecaries are allowed to provide services to the public.
The movement of persons who require urgent or emergency medical care because their lives or health are in serious danger is also permitted, as is the purchase of medicines, without restrictions due to compulsory social immobilization.
As I go through the actual decree section by section, here are some important points:
- International borders are to remain closed, but the movement of goods is still allowed as it has been all along.
- Masks and social distancing are still required.
- Banks, markets, supermarkets, etc. are limited to 50% capacity and masks and prior disinfection required for entry.
- Any kind of gathering of groups of people including religious services is still prohibited.
- The police and armed forces are still authorized to enforce all regulations in the decree.
Rules for Children (as taken directly from the Decree)
Children and adolescents under fourteen
(14) years old, are qualified (if their
parents or guardian deem appropriate), to
may, by way of exception, make journeys outside the
domicile during the state of emergency,
considering for this purpose the following conditions:
- They must date a person of legal age who resides at the same address,
- Traffic is limited to a daily walk of maximum sixty (60) minutes in length, over a distance not more than five hundred (500) meters from the domicile of the child or adolescent. During the walk, you should maintain a social distance of no less than two (2) meters.
- No movement of children or adolescents who have symptoms, are in quarantine by sanitary disposition or have a diagnosis positive for COVID-19.
- Children are not allowed to move or teenagers for shopping centre assistance or
similar, in accordance with paragraph 2.3.3 of Article 2 of Supreme Decree No. 110-2020-PCM.
- Children are generally not allowed to attend, girls or adolescents to enclosed public places or
Defense Minister Martos on the Lifting of the Quarantine
In an interview with RPP Noticias, the Minister of Defense, Walter Martos, said that in a few days the activities that will be activated in this third phase of economic reactivation will be published. Among these, he mentioned the opening of the restaurants “with some assistance in person”. He noted that at the last Council of Ministers meeting, the Ministers of Foreign Trade and Production explained the protocols that have been implemented such as social distance and seating capacity.
Martos also reported that the reopening of interregional flights is planned for the third stage of economic recovery with security protocols. Meanwhile, he mentioned that in the coming days the Ministry of Transport will approve the possibility of flights between regions “where the pandemic is not active intensely.”
He stressed that the stage of more than 100 days of mandatory social immobilization at the national level has served to “achieve some objectives that the government set itself,” such as learning more about the disease and taking measures to counteract contagion and increase hospital care.
In a dialogue with La Rotativa del Aire, he pointed out that international studies reveal that contagion occurs in closed, poorly ventilated spaces where people speak aloud. In this sense, he mentioned that in this new stage of the emergency, with the reopening of some economic activities, “we have to start working together with the virus”.
Likewise, he explained that while the emergency lasts, the Police and the Armed Forces will help the population to comply with security regulations, mainly in public spaces such as public transport stops, markets and other places where there is a large concentration of people.
The minister said that the government is developing a program for the celebration of the Fiestas Patrias that conforms to the protocol of the Ministry of Health, with outdoor activities and with the participation of few authorities to minimize the risk of contagion.
Finally, he said that the Government is confident that in the coming weeks there will be no reoccurrence of cases of COVID-19 with the lifting of the quarantine. However, he assured that, in case this happens, the Government will not hesitate to resume some past restrictions such as total immobilization on Sundays.
Zeballos on Domestic Travel
Prime Minister Vicente Zeballos announced that interurban transport and domestic flights will be permitted between regions that are not within the targeted quarantine as part of the new coexistence established by the government in the face of the coronavirus.
He also indicated that border closures continue, as they do in other nations due to this pandemic.
“This is considered within the plan of the productive economic activities of the third phase that coincides with the month of July,” he said in RPP.
He said the Council of Ministers has deliberated extensively on the resumption of these activities, which will have to be subject to specific protocol to be issued in the coming days by the Ministry of Transport and Communications.
“We are talking about the resumption of domestic flights, as well as intercity transport, for which these seven regions are excluded,” he said.
Regarding the measures applied by the Government which be in force from July 1, he said that a substantive change is taking place since a quarantine will be established focused only on seven regions of the country where the disease is growing slowly and various observation and monitoring measures are being dictated.
“There are also changes in the mandatory social immobilization, the restrictions are maintained throughout the country at night, the so-called curfew, from 10:00 to 4:00, but in the seven targeted regions will be from 8:00. As far as the obligatory social immobilization on Sundays is concerned, it is maintained in these regions, but in the rest of the country, as of next Sunday, it is being released,” he said.
With regard to the protection of the highly vulnerable population, he explained that the elderly and people with illnesses that may be affected by covid-19 must remain in their homes, while in the case of children, they will be able to go out for up to one hour accompanied by a person and up to 500 metres from their home.
“In the case of people over 60, the same rule of isolation is maintained because it is a population with high vulnerability, taking into account that 69 percent of the people who died (per COVID-19) are elderly and we have to give them our absolute protection,” he added.
[Note that the actual decree says that restrictions apply to people 65 years or older, not over 60 as Zaballos said.)
Zeballos added that differentiated schedules were also determined for entering the work centers, because it was identified that the highest presence of citizens on the streets is between 7:00 a.m. and 10:00 a.m.
“That is why the hours of admission and attention to citizens were discriminated against. Those who do not have contact with the public can go on a regular basis, but those who do have contact with the population can do so from 10 a.m. This will help avoid crowding of citizens in public transport where there is a high level of contagion,” he said.
Leading Epidemiologist on the Current Situation
Dr. César Munayco, an expert at the National Epidemiology Center of the Ministry of Health (Minsa), said the curve of the new coronavirus epidemic in Lima and in several regions of the country “is already going down.
Speaking to RPP Noticias, the specialist said that in these regions the basic reproductive number (Rt), an index that measures the potential number of infections for each patient, is below 1, which has allowed activities to be made more flexible as of July 1.
“In contrast, there are regions (seven, in total) that began much later (the epidemic), such as Arequipa, Ica, for example, where the curve is still up, the number of cases is up, and the effective reproductive number, the indicator, is above 1,” he said. For this reason, in these regions, the quarantine will continue and the curfew will be longer.
When asked about the basic reproductive number Rt, Munayco explained that this figure reflects the average number of new cases generated by an infected person. According to the expert, at the beginning of the epidemic, Peru had an index of 2.3, but now Lima is below 1.
“In all of Lima, we already have districts below 1, because remember that epidemics do not last forever, epidemics have a phase. The first thing it does is to rapidly increase the number of cases, it will reach a ceiling and then it will start to decrease,” he said.
“That’s what we’re looking at nationally, in various regions, but there are still several regions where they’re still growing (the cases). We have to wait for them to evolve,” he added.
No Deaths in Three Regions
Three regions of the country located on the coast, highlands and jungle did not register any deaths related to Covid-19 in the last four days, according to the Epidemiological Surveillance System of the National Center for Epidemiology, Prevention and Control of Diseases (CDC) of the Ministry of Health (Minsa).
Hospitals in the Amazonas, Pasco, and Tacna regions did not report deaths between June 22 and 25.
Epidemiologist César Munayco, executive director of the Minsa’s CDC, said that this is a sample of the sub-epidemics in different stages of evolution and magnitude that are being experienced in the country, after detailing that according to the analysis of epidemiological surveillance, these three regions present slow-growing epidemics.
Despite these good results, the doctor called on the population not to lower their guard against the virus, which is highly lethal and easily transmitted. He called for the permanent use of masks, as well as respect for distancing and hand washing with soap and water, not only at critical moments, but permanently. “This triad is the only way to prevent the virus,” he added.
He also said that on June 24, eight regions did not report Covid-related deaths — Amazonas, Ayacucho, Huancavelica, Pasco, Puno, Tacna, Tumbes and Ucayali.
Minsa to Conduct Random Study in Metro Lima
The Ministry of Health (Minsa) will carry out, from tomorrow Sunday (June 28) until Friday (July 3), a study of the prevalence of the COVID-19 population in Metropolitan Lima and Callao in order to know the percentage of people affected by the new coronavirus or who are susceptible to becoming ill in order to reinforce public health measures, within the framework of the new coexistence.
The study will be carried out by the National Center for Epidemiology, Prevention and Disease Control and the National Institute of Health (INS), who are coordinating with Rapid Response Teams (RRTs) that, duly uniformed with their Personal Protection Teams, will visit homes in all the districts of Metropolitan Lima and Callao, selected at random.
The ERRs will apply a survey and rapid or molecular tests, as appropriate, to find out whether or not the members in the selected households are infected with COVID-19. Participation in the study is voluntary, but the collaboration of all persons is requested as it is of great importance for the public health of Peruvians in times of pandemic.
The results of this study will allow Minsa to know the behavior of the virus within households and the community and will provide estimates of the prevalence of present or past infection.
As it is recalled, the country is in the third phase of the epidemic curve, the speed of transmission has been reduced and the virus transmission indicator (Rt) at the national level is currently below one.
Daily COVID Update from Minsa
The Ministry of Health (Minsa) reported 3,625 new cases of COVID-19 bringing the nationwide total to 275,989. They also reported 196 deaths which brings the total to 9,135 across Peru.
There are 10,762 patients hospitalized with Covid-19, of which 1,169 are in ICU with mechanical ventilation.So far 164,024 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 154,713 followed by the regions of Callao (17 747), Piura (16 461), Lambayeque (13 259), La Libertad (9490), Loreto (8835), Ancash (7752), Ucayali (7528), Ica (6981), Arequipa (6682), San Martín (4361), Junín (3633), Tumbes (2518), Huanuco (2128), Amazonas (1971), Cajamarca (1929), Cusco (1727), Ayacucho (1717), Madre de Dios (1599), Pasco (922), Moquegua (915), Huancavelica (869), Tacna (869), Puno (853) and Apurimac (530).
“Arranca Peru” in Cusco
The Arranca Peru program will provide maintenance to national and neighborhood roads, which will generate jobs in the country. For the Cusco region, the Ministry of Transport and Communications (MTC) has designated S/ 382 million through this central government initiative, which seeks to boost the Peruvian economy in the face of the impact of the COVID-19.
“This money has been allocated according to the neighborhood road network that each of the provinces has. This money has been allocated in function of the neighborhood road network that each province has. These resources are aimed at maintaining all the neighborhood networks this year,” said Deputy Transport Minister Carlos Estremadoyro.
He added that with this amount, maintenance work will be carried out on 4,295 kilometers of neighborhood roads in Cusco, and that the amount transferred has been assigned according to the neighborhood network that each province of Cusco has. In this sense, he mentioned that Acomayo has almost 200 kilometers of local roads and Anta 288 kilometers.
Likewise, the implementation of the Arranca Peru program will promote the creation of 25 thousand direct and indirect jobs in Cusco.
He also explained that the bidding processes for the hiring of companies, which will carry out the maintenance of the roads, have been simplified.
There are two types of work to be done. The first is the periodic maintenance, which includes the treatment of the road surface. The second is routine maintenance, which consists of cleaning gutters, sewers and the same route.
Moody’s Outlook on Peruvian Recovery
Peruvian Sol has been the strongest currency in the region in the face of the coronavirus pandemic’s impact on Latin American economies, said Moody’s Investors Service Sovereign Risk Group Analyst Mauro Leos.
He highlighted the performance of the Peruvian Sol because it was the currency that depreciated the least against the U.S. dollar in the region.
At the beginning of the year, the exchange rate was 3.30 soles to 1 dollar, then it rose to 3.60 soles and now stands at around 3.50 soles.
“Peru is a special case in the region because its currency does not fluctuate much against the dollar,” he noted after highlighting the work of the Central Reserve Bank (BCR) on monetary policy.
Leos pointed out that, in recent weeks, the return of investment flows to emerging countries, amid a recomposition of portfolios, contributed to less pressure on the exchange rate.
On the other hand, Leos projected that Peru will experience a faster recovery and will return to the economic levels it saw before the pandemic in the last quarter of 2021, surpassing Brazil, Mexico and Colombia, among others, with growth rates of up to 4% on average for the following years.
Misc News Highlights
- 89.3% of COVID-19 patients hospitalized in public and private health facilities have not required mechanical ventilation during the pandemic period, according to the Health Ministry’s COVID-19 situation report.
- In collaboration with the Vatican Department of Education, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has sent a plane containing 15 metric tons of medical and food aid to the Iquitos, delivering the first batch of 40 metric tons of aid dedicated to those affected by COVID-19 in the region. This cooperation is a result of the Document on Human Fraternity for World Peace and Living Together signed in Abu Dhabi by the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar His Eminence Dr. Ahmed el-Tayeb and His Holiness Pope Francis, Head of the Catholic Church.
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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