Sunday, July 26, 2020
This coming week is going to be a particularly interesting one. The current State of Emergency is set to expire on July 31 so expect an announcement on Tuesday or Wednesday of what will come next.
Of course, that is strictly my expectation with no real idea what will happen this week except that something will be announced. Last time there was no announcement on TV by the President as had been done previously. The government simply published the new Decree and let everyone read it for themselves.
Living in Cusco, it’s obvious that a lot of my focus is on what’s happening here. The local and regional authorities have requested a 14-day return to quarantine, but requests have not been granted before. It’s going to be a nerve wracking week waiting to know if any changes are coming for us as well as the rest of the country.
As evidenced by last night’s major quarantine announcement for four provinces, there could be little, if any warning. The hardest part is simply having no idea what’s coming this week.
You can wait for the daily updates to be posted in the late afternoon/early evening, or your can follow me on Twitter (@ExploreCusco) to get immediate updates on breaking news during the day. I use Twitter to share big news that occurs during each day (and a lot is happening right now) and I strongly recommend that you follow me on Twitter to get immediate updates.
You can also follow me on Instagram (@SouthAmericanTraveler) for great photos, but I use Twitter for news updates.
Quarantine Resumes in La Convención (Cusco) and Three Provinces in Cajamarca
The Peruvian Executive approved the Supreme Decree 129-2020-PCM which, according to RPP Noticias, begins today, Sunday, July 26, and resumes the quarantine in the provinces of Cajamarca, Jaén and San Ignacio in the region of Cajamarca and the province of La Convención in the region of Cusco.
[The end of the quarantine if not listed in the Decree, but I expect it is intended to go through the end of the current State of Emergency lasting through July 31. A review and announcement on any further extensions will come from the President and the Council of Ministers this week.]
According to the Decree published late last night in El Peruano, in these provinces people will be allowed to move only for the provision and access to essential services and goods.
With this modification, the mandatory social immobilization (curfew) will run from 8 p.m. until 4 a.m. and on Sundays the mandatory social immobilization is all day, in the following departments: Arequipa, Ica, Junín, Huánuco, San Martín, Madre de Dios, Áncash, the provinces of Cajamarca, Jaén and San Ignacio in the department of Cajamarca and the province of La Convención in the department of Cusco.
Last Thursday, the COVID-19 command of the Cusco region confirmed that the province has entered phase 4 of the pandemic due to the massive increase in the number of people infected, which now totals more than 300 per day.
In view of this situation, regional and local authorities, as well as civil society representatives, requested the presence of the Minister of Health, Pilar Mazzetti, in the city, as well as the authorization of the closing of borders and the resumption of an absolute quarantine for 14 days.
Although the Cajamarca region had good containment of the new coronavirus until July 13, at present and according to the regional director of Health, Pedro Cruzado, contagion is increasing because the population has left in disorder, believing that the quarantine was over.
The doctor reported that both Cajamarca and Jaén are the cities with the highest number of COVID-19 infections in the region.
A week ago, the COVID-19 Command of La Convención asked the Presidency of the Council of Ministers (PCM) to return to the quarantine in view of the worrying rise in contagion. La Convención has 1330 positive cases and 19 deaths from the pandemic.
Daily COVID Update from Minsa
Late tonight the Ministry of Health finally made their latest update and reported 4,913 new cases of COVID-19 and 199 COVID-related deaths.
This was the highest daily total reported since June 12 and represented a significant increase in the positivity rate to 20.4% — the highest in 8 days.
There are 13,304 patients hospitalized with COVID-19, of which 1,424 are in ICU with mechanical ventilation. So far 267,850 people completed their period of home isolation or were discharged from a health facility.
This is the second straight day that Minsa has not reported regional COVID totals. The latest report has a paragraph saying “The National Center for Epidemiology, Prevention and Disease Control (CDC) is analyzing the discrepancies in the system in order to harmonize information.”
Perhaps that is the reason for no regional reports. For example, there has been a huge difference in cases reported in Cusco — much higher — compared to those reported by Minsa for the region.
Protesters Demand Hospital Demolition Be Stopped
RPP Noticias reports that dozens of residents of the city of Oxapampa, in the department of Pasco, protested on Saturday to demand that the demolition of the hospital in that town be stopped, since they assure that they will be left without medical attention in view of the increase in cases of COVID-19.
They explained that the Regional Government of Oxapampa is planning to build a new hospital and for this they will demolish the structure on Monday, July 27th, despite the fact that it has been working for almost four decades.
In view of this situation, they made an urgent call to the Minister of Health, Pilar Mazzetti, to intervene, since they consider that the Regional Government does not have the will to attend to their request or to stop the demolition of the hospital.
According to figures from the Ministry of Health, the Pasco region had 1581 confirmed cases of the new coronavirus, as of Friday, July 24. Given this situation, the protesters asked the authorities to take into account the figures and to suspend for a minimum of 6 months the demolition of the hospital so that patients with COVID-19 can be treated there.
In February 2019, local authorities signed a contract with the Oxapampa Health Consortium for the construction of the new hospital, for an amount of 104 million soles. However, the completion of the contingency hospital was delayed and only recently completed, so the transfer of patients from the hospital was done in a hurry.
The population proposed that the new hospital be built elsewhere, since with all the money spent on the contingency hospital they were able to buy another plot of land, without the need for temporary relocation, while the hospital infrastructure would have been left for the benefit of the community.
The neighbors indicated that the construction of the new hospital will leave more than 87 thousand people without services, during the period of time that the construction of the new medical center demands.
Shops, Restaurants, etc. Now Open at Lima Airport
Some of the commercial establishments that operated inside the terminal are now opening again inside the Jorge Chavez Airport in Lima.. Initially, transport services and commercial premises have resumed their activities, as ordered by the authorities.
“We have established the necessary guidelines for the attention of passengers at Jorge Chávez Airport. The shops have defined the protocols and security measures to safeguard the health of users and prevent the spread of COVID-19,” said Norbert Onkelbach, Central Commercial Manager of Lima Airport Partners (LAP).
Among the retail companies authorized to attend are Britt -Mercadito Gourmet, Banco Interbank, ATMs in the public zone; while in the national boarding zone they will be able to access Starbucks, Britt – Chakana and 365 Deli.
Transport sercices have resumed operations with Direct Taxi, Green Taxi, Taxi 365, Budget, and Hertz along with the official bus of the airport, Airport Express Lima, that will take care of in the route of the Airport to Miraflores and San Isifro. The Hotel Costa del Sol, continues with the service for the attention of passengers.
The stores and services have implemented the option of contactless payment and will soon have the method of payment with QR code, through electronic wallets, to facilitate the transaction process and provide passengers with a better shopping experience.
On the other hand, the company Los Portales, which operates the airport’s parking lot, has just implemented a system of intelligent parking, through the APPARKA application, for the payment of the parking lot by scanning the ticket from the cell phone.
COVID in Cusco
The Regional Government of Cusco (and not the Regional Health Directorate) reported some disturbing numbers in their latest report. They reported 396 new cases of COVID-19 and 10 more deaths in the most recent 24-hour period.
What is especially disturbing is that the positivity rate of testing in that period jumped to 12.9% — by far the highest it has been since the pandemic began.
Fortunately, the region continues to test at a much higher rate than most of the country which is allowing officials to track the virus better. Unfortunately, detail information about where the positive cases are located is still hard to come by on most days.
Business Donate More than 40 Tons of Aid to Arequipa
RPP Noticias reports that businesses have combined to send more than 40 tons of humanitarian aid that is being channeled by the business front “Hombro a Hombro” (“Shoulder to Shoulder”), in coordination with the PCM and INDECI.
The aid consists of 3000 food baskets and 500 hygiene kits that will be given to Caritas to distribute to the most vulnerable population. Five oxygen regulators, 5000 masks, 3300 face shields, and medicines such as Paracetamol, Azithromycin and Budrane (Ivermectin) will also be given to EsSalud.
The Gloria Group, through its companies Cemento Yura, Concretos Supermix, Leche Gloria and Raciemsa, will also start the implementation of a medical oxygen production plant, which will have a production of 25 m3 per hour and will allow to face the great current problem that thousands of families live in the region, valued in US$ 250,000.
“From the business sector we have been working intensely in coordination with the State and the Chamber of Commerce of Arequipa so that Arequipa’s families are not alone in this moment of great need,” said Juan Manuel Arribas Berendsohn, Executive Director of Hombro a Hombro.
Since the beginning of the health crisis to date, Hombro a Hombro has been delivering more than 4,600 tons of humanitarian aid, benefiting more than half a million affected people, working in partnership with more than 80 companies that have joined efforts to support initiatives to help alleviate the crisis caused by the COVID-19.
The Hombro a Hombro business movement is a business front that leads private enterprise efforts for early disaster preparedness and response in Peru and was an initiative of Intercorp, Breca y Gloria. Several private companies have joined this effort, including Alicorp, Arca Continental, Aris Industrial, Backus, Camposol, Copeinca, CBC, EY, Corporación Custer, Ferreycorp, García Sayan Abogados, Gloria, Inkafarma, Interbank, Ipsos, Lima Airport Partners, Minsur, Nestlé, Plaza Vea, Poderosa, Ransa, Rimac, Real Plaza, P&G, Southern, Tasa, V&V Inmobiliaria and Yura.
One US Repatriation Flight This Week
One repatriation flight is scheduled this coming week. Solange Reps Tu Mayorista from Lima to Miami (MIA) on Friday, July 31. Ticketed passengers should contact their airline or travel provider directly for meeting times and locations. For additional information, visit https://pe.usembassy.gov/covid-19-information.
Misc News Highlights
- A mass screening conducted in the town of El Progreso, in the city of Chimbote (Ancash), detected 27 older adults infected with the new coronavirus out of 100 who were tested.
- The Ministry of Health reported that yesterday it began the plan to reorganize and improve the flow of patients at the Honorio Delgado Regional Hospital in Arequipa. COVID-19 patients were relocated to hospitalization environments.
- The Grau wholesale mall in Tacna will close its doors for a week due to the increase of positive cases of new coronavirus. The decision was made by the shopkeepers and officials of the Provincial Municipality of Tacna.
- Congressman Perci Rivas (APP) reported that the EsSalud II hospital in Huamanga (Ayacucho) faces a continuous lack of medical oxygen for COVID-19 patients and warned that hospital capacity is reaching its limit. He also said that that at this time Ayacucho does not have a medical oxygen plant. He informed that the region is supplied with oxygen bottles from Ica.
- Jorge Montesinos Espinoza, head of the Puno Regional Health Directorate, tested positive for the new coronavirus. The doctor and five other workers are in social isolation.
- A total of 2,700,707 people are likely to be infected with COVID-19, representing 25.3% of the population of Lima and Callao, according to a survey conducted by the National Center for Epidemiology, Prevention and Disease Control (CDC) and the National Institute of Health (INS).
The suspected prevalence of COVID-19 was similar among men (21.2%: 17.9%-24.6%) and women (21.9%: 18.8%-25.0%), and higher among adolescents 24.3% (17.8%-30.8%) and young people 23.1% (18.6%-27.7%).
The areas with the highest proportion of infection are: Callao 30.0% (19.8%-40.1%), Northern Lima 28.7% (22.6%-34.9%) and Eastern Lima 24.4% (17.5%-31.4%). In addition, the prevalence in Central Lima was 23.1% (17.9%-28.3%) and in Southern Lima 23.3% (18.2%-28.4%).
- According to a study conducted by the Loreto Health Directorate (Diresa) and the Ministry of Health, in the city of Iquitos (Loreto region), 71% of the population contracted the COVID-19; however, the vast majority overcame the disease.
- EsSalud Cusco will report patients recovered from COVID-19 who received home treatment with medical oxygen and who have not returned the oxygen bottles to date. Apparently there are a number of recovered patients who have not returned the bottles for use by others.
- The Municipality of Lima launched the virtual sales channel for the reservation of tickets to the Pantanos de Villa This will allow residents to purchase their tickets to enter the protected natural area, in advance and without waiting in line, when it reopens its doors to the public.
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