Saturday, July 25, 2020
Cusco Leaders Hit With COVID
The Provincial Municipality of Cusco, confirmed that the Cusco mayor, Ricardo Valderrama, was positive. The regional prefect, Julio Cesar Hancco, and the sub-prefect of Cusco, Nestor Larico, are also infected. The director of the VII Macro Police Region of Cusco, General PNP Victor Patiño, also tested positive yesterday.
A few days ago the regional governor, Jean Paul Benavente, asked for a leave of absence from his duties also when he tested positive.
Latest on Cusco’s Request for Resumption of Quarantine
RPP Noticias is reporting that the COVID-19 Command in Cusco proposed a request to the Presidency of the Council of Ministers for the order of a mandatory dry quarantine for the provinces of Cusco and La Convención, the two provinces most affected by the disease.
This information was confirmed by Dr. Victor del Carpio, president of the COVID-19 Command in Cusco, who indicated that the request was already approved by the members of the command, regional and even local authorities and that in principle it will be for a period of 14 days.
“This measure is taken into account in light of the epidemiological analysis and the increase in the number of cases, Gore [Regional Government] will take action at the national level together with the COVID-19 Command, this targeted quarantine has been unanimously approved,” he said.
The request was sent yesterday to the Presidency of the Council of Ministers and also included the restriction of land and air transport.
This morning RPP also reports that Health Minister Pilar Mazzetti acknowledged that the number of COVID-19 cases in the country will continue to rise despite the Government’s efforts. Before leaving with a delegation of the Executive to Arequipa, a region affected by the increase in cases of this disease, the minister said that the Government will evaluate intervening in some regions affected by the new coronavirus; however, she ruled out that this measure will be applied generally.
“The numbers continue to increase and will continue to increase. We Peruvians have to learn that our life has changed, that our country is no longer what it used to be and that we all have to collaborate because in the world there is no country that has not been damaged and there is no health system that can resist. Where necessary we will make the necessary interventions, but the most important thing is that we learn. Are we going to intervene in 80 regions? Excuse me, but we are not. When you intervene in one region, the other regions have reacted and brought themselves up to standard,” she said in statements to the press.
Daily COVID Update from Minsa
The Ministry of Health reported 3,923 new cases of COVID-19 this afternoon along with 187 COVID-related deaths. The positivity rate for the new report was 17.56% — the lowest in nearly two weeks!
(Strangely, other statistics from Minsa were not reported. If they are released, I’ll add them to this part and update.)
COVID in Cusco
The Regional Health Directorate (Diresa) released a lot of information this morning which makes it easier to evaluate the actual progress of COVID across the region.
Diresa reported 245 new cases of COVID-19 and three more deaths. They number of tests was less and the positivity rate for the latest report remained unchanged at 11.1%.
Diresa also released detailed case reports for each of Cusco’s provinces and districts for the first time in 6 days revealing more information about where the recent cases are concentrated.
As expected, the Cusco province has the majority of new cases (1223) and deaths (19) over the previous 6-day period. La Convencion (Quillabamba) also recorded a disturbing number of new cases (220) for a province with only about 150,000 residents.
Other provinces averaging more than 2 new cases a day were Quispicanchi (36 total cases), Anta (28), Canchis (24), Calca (18), Espinar (15), and Urubamba (13).
Here are all of the districts within the Cusco province and their increases over the previous 6 days:
CCorca – 5 to 5 cases (0.0%)
Cusco – 766 to 1143 cases (+49.2%)
Poroy – 20 to 25 cases (+20.0%)
San Jeronimo – 347 to 458 cases (+32.0%)
San Sebastian – 644 to 833 cases (+29.3%)
Santiago – 602 to 895 cases (+48.7%)
Saylla – 15 to 24 cases (+60.0%)
Wanchaq – 755 to 994 cases (31.7%)
Apurimac Requesting Return to Lockdown
In important emergency meeting of Apurimac’s COVID-19 Operations Command and Regional Governor of Apurímac, Baltazar Lantarón Núñez, after a consensus of the members, announced that regional quarantine will be observed starting Monday, 27 of July for 30 days.
A curfew from 6:00 pm to 6:00 am will be enforced as well as a total lockdown on Sundays in order to prevent mass contagion. The health emergency sanitary sanitation was requested by the Regional Governor, Pedro Cateriano, from the President of the Council of Ministers, through Office No. 1041-2020-GR.
They will also request the Regional Council to install Temporary Relief Centers to implement Diresa and EsShealth in the region.
They will sign an agreement for the reception of oxygen from the Cachimayo plant through Diresa and EsSalud. Baltazar Lantarón indicated that they will implement as soon as possible the operation of the molecular laboratory in the Diresa Abancay, increasing the budget to provide protection equipment for health personnel and the construction of care modules for intermediate patients in five provinces and the Curahuasi district via IOARR Projects.
The highest regional authority also announced the possibility of concrete border closures due to the excessive number of vehicles carrying passengers and that in turn increase cases of contagion irresponsibly.
[NOTE: There is considerable question about whether Apurimac has the authority to actually do this without approval from the Council of Ministers. They are requesting approval, but saying it will happen on Monday. Like everything else, this is a developing story.]
President Asked to Take Control of Health Sector in Huánuco
RPP Noticias reports that hospitals in the Huánuco region have collapsed due to the increase in cases of citizens infected with COVID-19, which to date total more than 9,000. Faced with this situation, some representatives of civil organizations and health personnel requested direct intervention from the Central Government.
Denny Ríos Salazar, representative of the group Unidos por Huánuco, told RPP Noticias that up to 21 deaths per day are currently being reported due to the new coronavirus, which is why they have asked President Martín Vizcarra to intervene.
“This has encouraged us to go out into the streets as a collective, to make our voice heard, to tell our countrymen that we are with them… As residents of Huanuco we ask President Vizcarra to take the reins of the city of Huanuco to improve the resolution capacity of the hospitals,” he said.
Rios Salazar criticized the actions of the region’s authorities because there was laziness and lack of leadership in dealing with the pandemic. “We have an indolent regional president who does not care about what is happening. While people were dying and doctors were asking for help with oxygen, he was handing out laptops in all the provinces,” he said.
The leader also reported that they have two hospitals of the Ministry of Health (Minsa) whose infrastructure is deteriorated and they have not been completed to date. In the case of EsSalud, she said that they have had to put up tents in the garage to attend to patients.
He also said that the increase in cases is due to the fact that Huánuco is a poor region and people have not respected the quarantine, because they needed to work.
The president of the medical corps of the EsSalud hospital in Huánuco, Rósulo Narciso Abad, indicated that to date they only work with 40% of health personnel, since many doctors, nurses and technical personnel were infected with the new coronavirus.
“A month ago we have been saying that the hospitals have collapsed — there are no beds, no medical staff, no medicines, no PPE, no oxygen. Since June we have asked for a hospital with 100 beds,” he said.
Narciso Abad said that so far only one specialist and 10 general practitioners have been sent. “We ask Mrs. Fiorella Molinelli not to deceive Huánuco; she is sending us a tent with 100 beds and no staff, no autonomy and no budget.
The doctor pointed out that Huánuco had 4 intensive care doctors, but unfortunately 3 are infected and now they only work with one.
He also said that he agrees with the Executive’s direct intervention; he even pointed out that some time ago they asked for Pilar Mazzetti’s visit. “Now that she is Minister of Health, she asked for a visit to Huánuco,” he said.
In addition to the lack of health personnel and beds, there is a lack of oxygen.
Misc News Highlights
- Airport Express, a very popular bus service from the Lima airport, is now operating again, but at 50% capacity. They are only operating between the airport and Miraflores and San Isidro with airport departures at 12 pm-1 pm-2 pm-3 pm.
- A group of 20 health professionals, including doctors and nurses, left this morning for Huánuco to join the actions against the pandemic. From the Naval Aviation base, they took with them four tons of Personal Protection Equipment (PPE), discard tests and medicines to benefit patients affected by COVID-19.
- The President of the Council of Ministers, Pedro Cateriano, and the Minister of Health, Pilar Mazzetti, arrived today in Arequipa along with an administrative and assistance team to meet with the regional governor, Elmer Cáceres Llica, and make the necessary modifications to improve the flow of care for COVID-19 patients at the hospital level and at the same time, strengthen the first level of care.
- The Amazonas region is on the verge of collapse due to the lack of doctors. President Wampis says no medical brigades have arrived in his jurisdiction, while in the town of Mesones Muro the health post has been closed since July 7. The regional director of Health, Gorky Jave, explains that there are not enough staff and they still cannot hire more doctors.
- Chlorine Dioxide is being sold illegally through social networks as a cure for COVID-19. Unscrupulous merchants claim that this product cures COVID-19, even though authorities have warned that consuming it can lead to death.
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