This afternoon President Francisco Sagasti addressed the nation in response to rapidly rising COVID-19 infections across the country and announced new measures seeking to slow the spread.
Sagasti opened his address by saying, “We are at the beginning of a second wave, we need to communicate the first measures in this regard.
“Since March of last year we have seen how we have lowered the R level by about one, ” he continued. “However, in the first days of this month we have seen a slight upturn…We have seen an increase in the evolution of hospitalized people. We are as we were in July last year.”
“If we look at the evolution of the use of ICU beds,” he said, “we see an equally worrying situation, but one that is more accentuated. As of January 11, 87% of the ICU beds in the country had been occupied. And since the end and middle of November this figure has gradually increased.
“In this situation, what have we decided to do? First, we define a decision criterion, which we begin to learn from the experience we have had…We follow in great detail what happens in other countries.
“Another thing we could see is the enormous difficulty countries have in getting vaccines. The logistics involved in vaccinating millions of people have challenged the capacity of Canada, England, the U.S.
“We already know that the English variant is in the country. Let’s hope it’s not too widespread.
“Unlike developed countries, Peruvians who have been infected are over 40%.
“Economic fragility is another thing we have to take into account.
“The way the pandemic has struck has been different in every region…We have to be prepared to respond to the situation in each region and depending on that go from moderate to high or vice versa.
“There is a set of measures that is permanent at all times and in all places and these are personal care measures: use of a mask, continuous hand washing and the use of small alcohol dispensers; physical distancing and avoiding closed spaces and, of course, avoiding crowds.
“We don’t want to go to an extreme level. We want to avoid a strict quarantine for everyone. That’s why we’re gradually seeing what we need to do in these warning measures.
“Every 15 days at the most we will evaluate the measures according to each region.
“We are at the beginning of this second wave and it is up to us and our compliance with the measures to reduce the slope of contagion, hospitalization and ICU beds.”
The Prime Minister, Violeta Bermúdez, emphasized the measures that have always been in effect — use of mask, distance and hand washing. She also mentioned the control of public transport capacity. In addition, she said that all types of activities that cause crowding will be sanctioned.
“Within the measures linked to physical isolation,” said Bermúdez, “one measure is to promote remote work in both the public and private sectors. All those workers invoke to continue as far as possible with the remote work…Regarding the use of beaches, we have agreed that the use of beaches will continue until January 31st in a restricted manner.”
The Minister of Education, Ricardo Cuenta, announced that “In Áncash, Ica, Junín Lambayeque, Lima Provinces, Piura and Tacna we will have vehicle and pedestrian restrictions on Sundays.“
The Minister of Production, José Luis Chicoma, announced that “[in] the restaurants in the regions with very high alert, the capacity will be 40%…We ask local governments and customers to control the licenses. There are a lot of licensed restaurants that are operating as bars and nightclubs.”
President Sagasti then spoke about the delivery of vaccines by noting that “In the negotiation and delivery processes they are quite complicated. The commitment we have with Sinopharm is that this will arrive before the end of January…We are waiting for the final delivery date.”
“We are confident that the first million vaccines will arrive before the end of the month,” he continued. “While that happens, the whole logistics and vaccination team is working.”
New curfew hours were announced:
- For regions with moderate risk, it will be from 11:00 p.m. to 4 a.m.
- For high risk departments, it will be from 9:00 p.m. to 4:00 a.m.
- For very high risk it will be from 7:00 p.m. to 4 a.m.
Richard Cuenca presented this summary of the new measures to be enacted on January 15:
Regions on very high alert (Piura, Lambayeque, Ancash, Lima Provinces , Junin, Ica and Tacna) – restriction of pedestrian and vehicular traffic on Sundays and curfew from 7 p.m. to 4 a.m.
Regions on high alert (Tumbes, Cajamarca, La Libertad, Huanuco, Pasco, Cusco, Apurimac, Arequipa, Madre de Dios, Puno, Moquegua and Metropolitan Lima) – traffic restriction on Sundays and curfew from 9 p.m. to 4 a.m.
Regions on moderate alert (Loreto, Amazonas, San Martin, Huancavelica and Ayacucho) — restaurant capacity is 60% and curfew from 11 p.m. to 4 a.m.
The Council of Ministers announced that arriving international travelers may take COVID test on the sixth day of quarantine. If it comes back negative, they will be released from quarantine requirements.
[I apologize for this being a little cluttered. I have been working on this as the announced were being made. They Cabinet tended to jump around a little and some of the material was presented on a chart in which I had to find details once the announcements were completed a few minutes ago.]