Thursday, June 4, 2020
Today marks the second anniversary of my permanent move to Peru in 2018. I haven’t regretted it for a single day.
The morning started out with a couple of spectacular scenes that really got the day off right. The first was an incredible double rainbow that went from horizon to horizon. The second was a beautiful sight out my office window of the morning sunrise touching the mountains across the valley.
Presidential Press Conference
President Vizcarra and the Council of Ministers held a press conference this afternoon. Vizcarra opened by giving the latest COVID numbers, then talked about the current crisis with the availability of oxygen. With prices going as high as 5000 soles a bottle, he said they are declaring it a “strategic health resource” allowing them to take further action to increase production and provide what is necessary across the country.
Interestingly, Peru is still using hydroxychloroquine despite multiple studies that show it’s lack of usefulness and it’s potential harm.
Phase 2 of the economic recovery is starting with the goal of activating 83% of the economy.
Rocío Barrios, Minister of Production, said that “the resumption of activities in Phase 2 includes approximately 780 thousand companies. Of these 780,000, 92% are micro-enterprises that will be able to start operations.”
Vizcarra also attacked the kind of petty, dishonest party politics that are being carried out across social media during a time when Peru should be coming together to defeat the current crisis.
State of Health Emergency Extended 90 Days
The Peruvian Government extended for 90 days the state of health emergency due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The decree published today in the official newspaper El Peruano provides for the extension of the measure from next Wednesday, June 10. The state of emergency aims to “guarantee public health service in cases where there is a high risk of damage” to the lives of citizens and “reduce the negative impact” of the epidemic on the population. The Government declared the state of emergency by COVID-19 for the first time on March 11.
The supreme decree published this Thursday states that the Ministry of Health, the National Institute of Health and EsSalud, carry out the immediate actions developed in the “Action Plan-Surveillance, containment and care of cases of the new COVID-19 in Peru”.
Once the state of health emergency has been extended, the authorities responsible for implementing the Action Plan must report on the activities and resources implemented, as well as the results achieved.
Phase 2 of the Economic Recovery
The Government published a Decree that establishes the beginning of the second phase of the economic reactivation, with which it seeks to make the country operate at more than 80%. In this new phase they have decided to relax a number of criteria to facilitate the reopening of companies and the recovery of employment.
Unlike the first phase in this new stage, the resumption of activities will be automatic once companies have registered their “Plan for the surveillance, prevention and control of COVID-19 in the workplace” with the Integrated System for COVID-19 (SICOVID-19) of the Ministry of Health.
In the first phase of reactivation, companies were required to submit these protocols, but before they could operate again they had to wait for approval from the relevant sector ministry, the Ministry of Health and, in some cases, even from the district municipalities.
Daily COVID Update from Minsa
The Ministry of Health (Minsa) announced 4,284 new COVID-19 cases bringing the over all total across Peru to 183,198.
There are 9,063 patients hospitalized with Covid-19, of which 1,005 are in ICU with mechanical ventilation. So far 76,228 people have completed their period of home isolation or have been discharged from a health facility. There were 137 new deaths reported bringing the total so far to 5,031.
Lima continues to be the region with the highest number of Covid-19 infections to date with 108,680 followed by the regions of Callao (13 291), Piura (9510), Lambayeque (9440), Loreto (5757), La Libertad (5392), Ancash (5048), Ucayali (5023), Arequipa (3961), Ica (3919), Junín (2089), San Martín (1662), Tumbes (1489), Cusco (1174), Huanuco (1068), Cajamarca (882), Ayacucho (862), Amazonas (680), Madre de Dios (600), Moquegua (561), Pasco (512), Huancavelica (487), Tacna (468), Puno (422) and Apurimac (221).
Government Tries to Address Shortages of Oxygen
Though it has been a problem for quite awhile, there has been a renewed push to force the government to deal with the shortages of oxygen and the skyrocketing prices (thousands of soles for one bottle appear common) for a bottle of oxygen that might be necessary to save a person’s life.
The Minister of Defense, Walter Martos, informed this Thursday that the Executive is planning to issue a regulation to declare access to oxygen, a vital input for patients with COVID, of national interest. “Today a regulation is surely coming out that empowers the State, and oxygen is being considered an element of national interest,” he said.
The Ministry of Health (Minsa) will buy oxygen balloons in view of the shortage of this vital product to attend the cases of patients with the COVID-19 in hospitals nationwide and the increase in its price in the market, announced Victor Zamora, Minister of Health.
Second Phase of Recovery to Focus on Small Business
The second phase of the Reactiva Peru Program will emphasize meeting financial requirements of micro and small-sized enterprises (MSEs) so as to tackle the health crisis and restore the payment chain, the Ministry of Economy and Finance (MEF) has reported.
Director General of Financial and Private Social Security Markets at MEF Oscar Graham noted that the latest changes to said program were made to achieve such goal. “The maximum loan amounts for micro-sized enterprises were increased and loan conditions became more flexible, prioritizing smaller companies,” he told Andina news agency.
Supreme Decree No. 124-2020-EF —which made changes to the Reactiva Peru Program— increased the maximum loan amounts for micro-sized enterprises from 1 to 3 months of average monthly sales.
It also provided that, in the case of micro-sized enterprises that cannot document a level of sales that reflects their actual transactions will be able to access Reactiva Peru Program financing —based on their credit history— of up to S/40,000 (around US$11,751).
Misc News Highlights
- The Supervisory Body for Private Investment in Telecommunications (Osiptel) decided to postpone the date for operators to suspend telecommunications services for non-payment until 15 June.
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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