Tuesday, July 28, 2020
¡Feliz día! Today is Fiestas Patrias — Peru’s 199th anniversary of it’s independence and a national holiday.
I walked around town this morning and was sad at how empty the central historical district was on a day when it should have been filled with Peruvians celebrating the country’s independence.
I have a strong feeling that we may get an announcement tonight or in the morning in the form of a official decree published in La Republica. These things are far too long and written in very formal, legal terms to be put together at the last minute. With only 3 days left in the current State of Emergency, I wouldn’t be surprised if everything is already complete and ready to go.
I guess that means I’ll be up most of the night again tonight waiting for something!
It seems as if the Ministry of Health is not going to publish their daily updates until late from now on, so I’m going to start sharing them the next day. I’ll continue to post them on Twitter in the evening or early in the morning, though.
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.
Highlights of the President’s Message to the Nation
President Martin Vizcarra presented his Message to the Nation today. Here are some of the highlights:
He emphasized once again that he will step down next June 28 when a new President will be sworn in.
He highlighted the effects of the quarantine in which he, as have many others, says hundreds of thousands of lives were saved because of it.
He mentioned the poor state of the health system in March and noted how, for example, the number of ICU beds in the country has increased from 100 to 1500. He also pointed out “The crisis in the availability of oxygen has increased due to the existence of a market with multiple failures. We have acquired 105 tons per day of medical oxygen, so we are gradually closing the gap.”
Vizcarra gave a special thanks to the front line medical workers, reminded the country that acquisition of a vaccine when it is available is a national priority, and stated that efforts are underway to make sure an accurate counting of COVID deaths.
Vizcarra acknowledged that the pandemic has exposed the precariousness of the health system. “For decades, health has not been a priority, for decades health was forgotten and postponed”.
The President announced that his government will allocate almost 20 billion soles for the health sector in next year’s budget. “It is the biggest health investment in history,” he said.
He reported that the strategy of delivering blankets in frost-affected areas was changed. “This year 19 thousand thermal, safe and conditioned homes will be built,” he said.
Vizcarra said his government’s goal is to banish violence against women, for which it will increase the budget for the sector by 572 million. He lamented that cases of violence against women continued during the quarantine, with 75,500 calls to the emergency number recorded.
The President also announced “the approval of a second bonus of 760 soles for 8.5 million households. This bonus will be implemented between August and October of this year.”
An orphan’s pension for children who lost their parents to the pandemic was also announced.
Vizcarra highlighted the implementation of Reactiva Peru, “the largest credit and guarantee program in the history of Peru”. He also mentioned the creation of two more funds for business support to tourism and agriculture.
He said that the recovery of employment in the country is advancing “gradually”, with 42,000 new jobs in June and 129,000 so far in July.
Vizcarra stressed that the reactivation of mining has allowed the creation of 141,000 direct jobs at the national level. “Reactivation is a national objective, there is no health without economy.”
The President said that “our Armed Forces will continue to be in the streets. The joint work (with the National Police) will continue until the end of this year.”
He highlighted efforts against corruption. “The results of the justice reform are already being seen. The National Board of Justice has suspended several prosecutors and supreme judges for alleged irregularities…We have the obligation to advance in the reforms.”
He concluded by addressing the political issues that frequently affect the countries movement forward.
“To move forward, we need to end the petty squabbles…This should be a moment of reflection, let’s think about what is the legacy to the Peruvians of the Bicentennial…We are not only here to take up a position, but to provide a service. This is a long road that we must travel together. In that sense, at the last Council of State we agreed to establish a Road Map for the Bicentennial.”
He then proposed a Peru Pact and said that he will be calling on representatives of Peru’s political parties to come together to initiate it.
“I invite you to build a patriotic pact that, regardless of who is elected as the next president, will lay the foundations of a Peru with basic consensus, which will allow us to consolidate democracy, channel political debate and allow us to move forward as a country, after the Bicentennial,” he said.
He explained that Peru Pact (Pacto Perú) proposes to convene representatives from each of the political parties in order to reach five basic agreements.
The first is to build a unified health system that guarantees the universal provision of this service for Peruvians in an efficient, transparent and equal manner.
The second to guarantee educational quality by eliminating the gap between urban and rural education with access to virtual education at all levels for public and private education, with adequate state regulation.
The third seeks to promote sustainable economic growth and investment and to propose policies that improve the state’s ability to detect and dismantle anti-competitive practices.
The fourth aims to give continuity to the political reform and the justice administration system, while the “fifth challenge” is the fight against poverty and extreme poverty, which implies closing historical social gaps once and for all and making progress in building a more just and equitable country.
“I know that this five-point agenda is ambitious, but I am convinced that it is worth trying,” he said.
COVID in Cusco
After not publishing anything on Sunday, the Regional Health Directorate published new COVID-19 data for the Cusco region and it’s not good.
They reported 742 new cases of COVID-19 over the previous 2 days along with 12 more deaths in that same period.
With the amount of testing dropping, the positivity rate rose up to 15.7% — over 3 times what it was about 2 weeks ago.
The president of the COVID-19 Command, Víctor del Carpio, said that the reproduction factor of the R virus in the region is 1.5, but in districts like Cusco and Santa Ana (La Convención) it rises to 2. This means that an infected person can infect up to two people in the region.
Diario Correa reports that the Cusco municipality ordered the closure of the land terminal and the Ccasccaparo market for 14 days because of those infected.
The head of COVID-19 Command, Victor del Carpio, said they are working to increase the capacity of hospital beds where there are now 30 ICU beds with only 3 available.
Cusco Buses To Return to 50% Capacity
Urban transport will resume its activities in the next few days in the Cusco region, but only at 50% capacity, said the president of the Central of Urban Transport of Cusco, Mario Dalguerre.
He explained that the decision was taken after receiving reports and recommendations from the Regional Health Directorate, which report increased infections and collapse of major hospitals in recent days.
“All of this has generated concern. We are going to return to the previous protocol of taking 50% of the seats. The urban service that we have been providing in these weeks is very dangerous,” said the leader.
Dalguerre said that the fares will depend on each company. In addition, he appealed to the common sense of the users to respect the measures of biosecurity and to move in a correct way in the units.
“If these decisions are being made, it is for the good of our passengers so as not to expose them to contagion. These decisions lead to other measures being taken,” he added.
He also pointed out that the service at 50% capacity will be provided until conditions are adequate in the city so that a safe service can be provided with the guarantees of fighting COVID-19.
Passengers are still required to wear a face mask and face shield. No standing passengers will be allowed.
[As I walked around town today, it was evident that almost everyone was wearing a face shield on the buses — along with a great many people on the street, too. On almost every bus, though, I did see people not wearing one.]
Cusco Has a New Mayor
After the Cusco’s elected mayor was forced from his position due to legal matters and his replacement, Councilman Ricardo Valderrama, came down with COVID-19, Cusco’s new mayor, Romi Infantas, was sworn yesterday.
A 25-year-old economist who served on the Council and was previously an intern in the municipality, she says she will bring innovation to the position.
“In Cusco, Peru, and all over the world, things have happened that no one could have imagined. I entered politics without thinking about the mayor’s office, but with the commitment to work from whatever front I could”, she told Diario Correo.
She stressed that one of the priorities of the local government, outside of the COVID crisis, is bringing the informal economy back into the formal economy so people who have been left out can begin to access programs set up to help them.
“We must understand that to be able to work we need health, it will be useless to earn a couple of soles if we lose our lives, that is why we are working to raise awareness among people while formalizing businesses, it is a pending task that we must finish for the good of thousands of Cusco families,” she said.
Minsa Moves Over 51 Tons of Medical Supplies to COVID Affected Regions
More than 51 tons of medical supplies to attend the Peruvians affected by the COVID-19 were sent to Metropolitan Lima and 20 regions of the country by the Ministry of Health, through the National Center for Strategic Health Resources (Cenares).
These include 1,593,476 units of personal protective equipment (PPE), including masks, disposable surgical kits, surgical gloves, and masks, among others; 488,400 medical supplies, such as antibacterial gel, paper towels, and disposable lancets; and 1,018,535 medicines, including hydroxychloroquine, ivermectin, dexamethasone, magnesium sulfate, rocuronium bromide, and furosemide sodium heparin, among other drugs.
Also 495,280 rapid tests and 1578 medical equipment, such as the adult/pediatric pulse oximeters, which are used to monitor patients with a COVID-19 diagnosis.
Part of the shipment departed from Air Group No. 8 to the Huánuco region and included 70,050 PPE, 25,000 disposable lancets, 81,880 medicines, 25,000 rapid tests and 133 peices of medical equipment.
By land, 49,000 PPE, 35,000 disposable lancets, 210,685 medicines, 35,000 rapid tests and 306 medical equipment were sent to Arequipa; Ica 50,600 PPE, 113,850 medicines and 220 medical equipment; Junín 83,000 PPE; La Libertad 277,600 PPE and 37,300 medicines; Lambayeque 18 960 PPE, 27 400 disposable lancet supplies, 69 100 drugs, 27 280 rapid tests and 424 medical kits; Áncash 105 260 PPE, 25 000 disposable lancet supplies, 16 150 drugs, 25 000 rapid tests and 267 medical kits; and Apurímac 1000 PPE.
Similarly, Ayacucho received 52,000 PPE; Cajamarca 240,800 PPE, 30,000 disposable lancets, 23,840 medicines, 30,000 rapid tests and 187 medical equipment; Callao 2,000 PPE and 920 medicines; Cusco 54,700 PPE; Huancavelica 128 550 PPE, 21 000 medical supplies, 10 840 medicines and 20 000 rapid tests; Lima Region 43 260 PPE; and Moquegua 15 000 PPE, 20 000 disposable lancets supplies, 54 190 medicines, 20 000 rapid tests and 41 medical equipment;
In Pasco, 52,000 PPE and 12,690 medicines were taken; Piura 111,000 and 41,800 medicines; Tacna 110,600 PPE and 72,220 medicines; Tumbes 2,800 medicines; and Ucayali 86,000 PPE, 37,000 disposable lancet supplies, 56,915 medicines and 45,000 rapid tests.
Finally, a total of 42,096 PPE, 268,000 disposable lancets, 213,355 medicines and 268,000 rapid tests were delivered to Metropolitan Lima, benefiting various health facilities in the capital.
Misc News Highlights
- The Ricardo Cruzado Rivarola Hospital in Nasca received, as a donation, 4 mechanical ventilators, 20 hospital beds and 1 incubator from the Shougang company to strengthen its response capacity to the pandemic, reported the Ministry of Health (Minsa).
The Regional Health Department (Diresa) also contributed with 2480 Covid-19 discard tests, which are included in the 441 pulse oximeters and 241,000 medical supplies, including medicines, discard tests and Personal Protection Equipment (PPE), which the Minsa delivered to the region last Friday, July 24.
- According to the latest report from the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), poverty in Peru is projected to increase by 9.3%, reaching 25.8% by the end of this year. Meanwhile, extreme poverty will double from 3.7% to 7.6%. Inequality will also increase by 6%.
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