Monday, June 29, 2020
As things are likely going to be coming rather quickly now that things are opening up, I’m going to try to do more updates during the day (outside of my daily post in the late afternoon) through Twitter.
You can follow me @ExploreCusco on Twitter and find out important things quicker.
I post photos on Instagram quite a bit, too — @southamericantraveler — but its not really a quick method for sharing immediate news. I think the pictures are worth following me, though!
I’m surprised that, with just about 36 hours to go before the quarantine is lifted in Cusco, there is still not a word on transportation within the region. Will colectivos or taxis now be allowed to move between Cusco and the Sacred Valley? The is the normal way that thousands of people move through this part of the region each day, but what will be allowed on Wednesday is still unknown.
Minister Vasquez on Restaurants and Travel
The Minister of Foreign Trade and Tourism, Edgar Vasquez, announced today that restaurants that comply with sanitary protocols will serve the public inside with 40% of their capacity as of July 1.
He noted that the tourism sector is the hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic as tourists are no longer arriving and restaurants are closed at the beginning of the quarantine.
He said that in phase 2 the restaurants began with the delivery service and now in phase 3 they will be able to serve the restaurants in their halls to the public.
“Phase 3 will start on July 1st, from there all those restaurants that can be prepared to apply the (sanitary) protocol that must be published before that date by the Ministry of Production,” he said on Latina TV.
He explained that in phase 3 he foresees an automatic start and as in the previous phases, businesses and companies have a number of days to register their “Plan for the surveillance, prevention and control of COVID-19 at work” in the Integrated System for COVID-19 companies (Siscovid).
“What they have to do is implement the protocol and obviously there will be a later inspection, as we have done with the deliveries, initially we will start with a 40% capacity”, he said.
Other measures will also be taken into account, such as the distance between tables and other health aspects.
Minister Edgar Vásquez stressed that during the stage of the start of operations with delivery, restaurants promoted consumer confidence with their health protocols.
He also said that they have already been working with the 10 restaurant guilds that work in a more formal and structured way, to implement the protocols of care in their rooms.
Vasquez also stressed that the tourism sector is an important generator of employment in the country.
“We are talking about one million 400,000 people in Peru who depend on this activity and more than 300,000 companies including restaurants, hotels, travel agencies, tour guides, producers and marketers of handicrafts,” he explained.
He said that a group of companies in the tourism sector have accessed credits granted by the Reactiva Peru and FAE-Mype programs.
“In the case of Reactiva Peru, more than 4,325 companies received about 786 million soles, in the case of FAE-Mype for small businesses, 9,005 companies received 121 million soles,” he said.
“But it is clear that it is not enough. That is why we have approved the FAE-Turismo [that] will be published in El Peruano”, he added.
He said that the FAE-Turismo is a guarantee fund for 500 million soles that seeks to leverage resources for up to 1.5 billion soles in a moderate scenario by the financial system.
He also emphasized that the SAF-Tourism will have special conditions for the tourism sector unlike the traditional Mype SAF, which gives a term of four years and a grace period of 12 months.
“In the case of the SAF-Tourism the term of the credit is extended to five years and the grace period to 18 months, among other more favorable conditions,” he said.
“Tomorrow or Tuesday at the latest the rule that officially establishes the SAF-Tourism is published and we will seek to quickly make the respective regulations so that Cofide can deliver the resources to the financial system and the companies in the sector can benefit,” he said.
Vasquez indicated that both land and air domestic travel services will be reactivated in July and it will be the Ministry of Transport and Communications that will determine the exact date, conditions and protocols.
“We hope that this will be within the first 15 days of July,” he said.
He also commented that in the infrastructure of the commercial airport sector there are four large operators in the country, which are the concessionaire of the northern airports, the concessionaire of the southern airports, the concessionaire of the Jorge Chávez International Airport and the Corpac itself which is in charge of the Velasco Astete airport in Cusco.
He indicated that the four operators are already implementing their protocols and are waiting for formal regulations to authorize their reopening.
He said that initially the national air and land transport will start in the regions that have better control of the pandemic.
“In the case of international transport, the borders are still closed in July, but state-to-state flights will continue to allow the return of Peruvians and the departure of foreigners,” he said.
He also said that when sanitary conditions are in a more controlled situation, Peru will coordinate with other countries to have a clearer date to resume international flights.
Zamora on Interregional Travel
La Republica is reporting that the head of the Ministry of Health (Minsa), Victor Zamora, said that buses and planes may operate with 100% capacity, according to international protocol.
“What you put in the balance is health and the economy, and the economy needs people to be transported, to travel from one place to another. Not every place can have the perfect equation,” he said.
He also said that for example, on a trip to the south of the country, it would not be possible to stop in Ica, since it is a region that continues to be under quarantine.
Publication of the protocols for the return of domestic travel is in charge of the Ministry of Transport and Communications (MTC) and will be published in the coming days.
[Note: The allowance of 100% capacity is not going over well with Peruvians on social media this morning.]
Daily COVID Update from Minsa
The Ministry of Health (Minsa) reported 2,946 new cases of COVID-19 which brings the nationwide total to 282,365. They also reported 187 new deaths which brings the total to 9,504 across Peru.
So far, 11,000 patients hospitalized with Covid-19, of which 1,183 are in ICU with mechanical ventilation. So far 171,159 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 157,050 followed by the regions of Callao (17 944), Piura (16 746), Lambayeque (13 572), La Libertad (9856), Loreto (8955), Ancash (7874), Ucayali (7668), Ica (7407), Arequipa (7076), San Martín (4696), Junín (3821), Tumbes (2641), Huánuco (2299), Amazonas (2052), Cajamarca (2091), Cusco (1775), Ayacucho (1747), Madre de Dios (1787), Pasco (1091), Puno (943), Moquegua (942), Huancavelica (890), Tacna (888) and Apurimac (554).
PeruRail Ready to Go To Machu Picchu
The company PeruRail reported that it has already established its health and safety protocol to resume its passenger service as part of the resumption of tourism activity in the Cusco region that will take effect from July 1.
[Note: Machu Picchu will not open on July 1 and the exact opening date has not been announced.]
This protocol seeks to prevent the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) in that means of transport of passengers going to Machu Picchu. The document was approved by the authorities as it fulfills the three basic principles: physical distancing, permanent and correct use of a mask, and hand disinfection.
One of the measures indicates that tourists who exceed 37.6°C of temperature will not be able to access the trains of the company PeruRail that offers the service between Ollantaytambo-Machu Picchu Pueblo (Aguas Calientes) and vice versa.
PeruRail staff and passengers must wear a correct and permanent mask during the entire trip and will use alcohol gel for hand disinfection. Train environments such as handrails, latches, floors, seats and equipment that come into contact with workers and passengers will be disinfected with sodium hypochlorite.
Users will be aware of the protocol from the communication channels “points of sale in person, travel agencies and from our website,” in addition to audiovisual announcements for tourist services “once on board will be played to ensure that our passengers comply with all protocols, our crews will be trained to ensure all processes post-COVID-19.
In the event of a hypothetical case of covid-19, the company will report to the Ministry of Health (Minsa). “In case any person registers a temperature higher or equal to 37.6°C they will not be able to access the facilities”, he underlined.
The company maintains that they maintain the assistance of the Minsa, and in the case of the district of Machu Picchu, PeruRail will put a flat car at the service of the inhabitants, on which an ambulance from the Ministry of Health will be transferred.
They informed that they currently have 2 occupational doctors and 2 nurses to be able to attend to all the needs that arise in the railway operation. In addition, they have agreements with private health entities to attend to the emergencies inherent to the services provided.
Poll: 78% of Peruvians Believe Quarantine Helped
New poll results released yesterday by the Institute of Peruvian Studies (IEP) shows that 78% of Peruvians believe that mandatory confinement served to prevent a larger number of deaths.
According to the opinion poll, published in La Republica newspaper, 78% of those surveyed consider that the measure served to control COVID-19 infections, and 70% believe it helped avoid an overload of the health system.
Overall, 60% of respondents stated that confinement —aimed at containing the pandemic — has been more positive than negative.
With the end of quarantine in sight, though, 77% of those polled think COVID-19 cases will rise in the South American country.
For this reason, although the Government has decided to lift the measure as of July 1, 58% of the people said they will be going out as little as possible, while 34% will do so more often, but gradually.
Among those who will return to work once mandatory social isolation ends, 73% are very concerned about getting infected with COVID-19 at their workplace.
Meanwhile, 71% are very concerned about being infected when using public transportation to get to work.
On the other hand, the IEP study indicates that the approval of President Martin Vizcarra stood at 66% in April, versus a 31% disapproval, whereas 3% have no opinion on the matter.
The survey was conducted among 1,244 nationwide urban people during June 17-23. It has a +/- 2.8% margin of error.
Rainbow Mountain to Remain Closed
Residents of the communities surrounding Mount Vinicunca, commonly known as Rainbow Mountain indicated that they will keep access to the site restricted until they have established the protocols and regulations that they are developing to prevent the coronavirus.
Rainbow Mountain, located in the district of Pitumarca, province of Canchis in Cusco, before the pandemic and the period of quarantine had become the second most important tourist destination in the imperial region, after Machu Picchu.
Up to 1,500 visitors were registered daily in the high season, making tourism the main economic activity for hundreds of villagers in the provinces of Canchis and Quispicanchi.
The community representatives publicly asked the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Tourism (Mincetur) not to allow access to visitors until the protocols they have been developing to prevent coronavirus infection are approved.
“We are not going to allow passage until we prepare our regulations. The agencies should not offer visits to the Mountain of Seven Colors, even if they have the authorization of the Ministry of Tourism,” said one community representative.
Misc News Highlights
- Arnaldo Lachira, dean of the Medical College of Piura, said there are shortages of some medicines for patients connected to mechanical ventilators.
- The Arequipa region recorded more than 4,000 cases of the new coronavirus and 80 deaths in the past week, according to the Ombudsman’s Office.
- 17 markets in the La Esperanza district, in Trujillo province, will remain closed for another week, due to the increase in the number of traders infected with COVID-19, reported the District Municipality.
- The mayor of the district of Megantoni, Daniel Ríos Sebastián, two councillors and municipal officials will be investigated by the Public Prosecutor’s Office for the crime of criminal organisation for directing the purchase of food baskets and personal protection equipment.
- From July 1, the Church Santa Maria Cathedral in the city of Chiclayo will resume the masses in person, announced the Diocese of that city.
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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