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Sunday (October 25) – LIMA – It’s been five days since I’ve done a daily report on the COVID-19 situation in Peru. The good news is that things have really not changed much at all except that, despite continued high testing rates which have actually been increasing each day, the number of cases has remained around 3000 each day.
Also, the positivity rate of testing has remained relatively low during October after a drastic drop in the second week of the month.
Why is this information good when cases and positivity has remained stagnant for the past 2 weeks? That’s because this was the period when all medical experts predicted a rise after the opening of the country this month.
Despite the predictions of a rise, Peru’s data showed a decrease in the month in major statistical area and the expected increases never materialized.
Significantly, the daily death reports also show a continued drop. The daily average is 68 deaths a day for the month of October — a number that hasn’t been reached in over a week. (September averaged 118 deaths a day while August saw 193 deaths a day.)
Hospitalizations continue to drop as well.
Sunday (October 25) – LIMA – Peruvian Prime Minister Walter Martos on Saturday projected that —in an optimistic scenario— all economic activities may be reactivated by the end of the current year. However, he was emphatic in pointing out that “everything is subject to how the COVID-19 pandemic develops.”
“In this scenario, as a country we could be reactivating all activities, but all this depends on how the pandemic develops. From the Government, we have always opted to give priority, over any other aspect, to what is related to health and people’s lives. If lives and health are guaranteed, we can reactivate all economic activities,” he told RPP TV and radio station.
The high-ranking official indicated that the evolution of the pandemic mainly depends on the behavior of each citizen towards taking care of themselves and complying with the biosecurity measures to avoid contracting the novel coronavirus.
“If all Peruvians unite, put Peru first, and bet on not becoming infected, a positive scenario is likely to emerge by the end of the year,” he expressed.
The Cabinet chief said that access to a vaccine against COVID-19 will also contribute to this goal, as some laboratories are already offering to deliver it by this December. “We hope so,” he commented.
Regarding budget execution, Martos explained that it was affected as productive activities and investment projects were suddenly paralyzed last March —when the state of emergency began— to prevent the spread of the coronavirus because people’s lives and health were prioritized.
However, the Government has to date invested S/138 billion (about US$38.269 billion) in measures to address the pandemic and the economic reactivation.
Said amount, he indicated, has been allocated to fund grants, deliver food baskets for the vulnerable population, and prevent the payment chain from breaking, among other measures.
Sunday (October 25) – LIMA – 78% of Peruvians believe that President Martin Vizcarra should continue in office and be investigated at the end of his term, according to a national survey by El Comercio-Ipsos published yesterday.
This survey was carried out from October 21 to 23 and is of urban and rural nature.
The survey also indicates that 20% say that the President will be vacated and replaced by the head of the Congress of the Republic, Manuel Merino. Meanwhile, 2% did not specify their position.
These results do not differ much from those published in a study done in September, when 79% were in favor of Vizcarra remaining as President and 19% were against it, according to the poll published by the newspaper El Comercio.
Similarly, today’s survey shows that 54% approve of the Head of State’s management, 41% disapprove and 5% do not specify; in the case of the head of the Ministerial Cabinet, Walter Martos, his management is approved by 34% and disapproved by 46%.
With respect to Manuel Merino, 62% disapprove of his administration and 22% approve; likewise, the role of Congress is disapproved by 60% and approved by 32%.
As for the Attorney General, Zoraida Avalos, 34% approve of her performance and 46% disapprove; and 49% disapprove of the performance of the Public Ministry and 38% approve.
The survey was conducted with a sample of 1,193 people interviewed, has a margin of error of +/- 2.84 % and a confidence level of 95 %.
Sunday (October 25) – MACHU PICCHU – Diario Correo reports that on November 1st will open and that the Ministry of Culture enabled the free reservation of tickets to Machu Picchu for local and national tourists. It was enough to have an ID card to be able to access a free entrance to the world wonder.
The reception was such that to date the tickets have already been sold out and there is no more room for reservations of any kind, as confirmed by Cultura Cusco in a press release.
“The Deconcentrated Direction of Culture of Cusco communicates to the users that the quotas for the visit to the llaqta inka of Machu Picchu are sold out. We thank you for your understanding,” the communication states.
It is worth mentioning that, due to the distance protocols, not only in the ancient Inca city, but also in the train and bus transportation, the authorities decreed that the entrance of visitors will be given only to a 30% capacity of Machu Picchu, that is to say 675 tourists per day.
Taking into account that the promotion of free access was given from November 1st to 15th, from Monday to Saturday, a total of 8,775 tickets were reserved free of charge, for the same number of people who will be able to access the archaeological park.
José Bastante, head of the Machu Picchu Archaeological Park, told Correo that he decided to restrict the passage of visitors to the ancient Inca city, in order to avoid crowds and maintain a prudent social distance at all times.
“In the case of Machu Picchu, its capacity will be 30%, that is to say, of the 2,244 visitors allowed, only 675 will be authorized, maximum 75 per hour, this is articulated with the number of buses that can transport tourists from Machu Picchu Pueblo to the Inca city, which are a maximum of 16 per day,” he cited.
He also mentioned that with respect to Section 5 of the Qhapaq Ñan or Inca Trail, only 50% of its capacity will be allowed, that is to say, only a maximum of 120 people per day will be able to do the trek.
Friday (October 23) – CUSCO – After eight months of suspension of tourist operations due to the pandemic, the train operator PeruRail announced the resumption of its activities with all health and safety protocols during the journey to the world wonder Machu Picchu (Cusco).
The company enabled 14 schedules on the Expedition and Vistadome trains with promotional fares for the national tourist, with prices starting at $25 dollars for round trips. Likewise, passengers from Cusco who wish to travel on these tourist trains will have promotional fares from S/45 soles or $12.5 dollars in round trips. The sale of tickets with this exclusive promotion for cusqueños will be made directly in the points of sale of Cusco.
The available itineraries allow passengers to choose as a starting and ending point the stations of San Pedro in Cusco and Ollantaytambo in the Sacred Valley; furthermore, they have been designed to enjoy a full day or to accommodate the trip with an overnight stay in order to get the most out of the visit to the ancient Inca city.
As of November 1st the Local Train will once again operate with all its daily frequencies on the route to Machu Picchu, with fares for residents of the district of Machu Picchu and communities surrounding the railroad: S/5.00 soles on long stretches and S/3.00 soles on intermediate stretches, and Cusco residents: S/ 12.00 soles on return trips.
[As a resident in Cusco, I tried to purchase a local train ticket on Monday and was told it’s not possible except for those people mentioned above.]
Regarding the Local Train, the railroad operator mentioned that it is a public transportation service that facilitates the transfer and integration of the inhabitants of Machu Picchu and the communities, so national tourists will not be able to access this service, because the capacity of attention has been drastically reduced to comply with the sanitary measures established by the Government.
Regarding sanitary measures, the company added that local or national passengers must make mandatory and correct use of their mask and face shield from the boarding points and on board the train. Likewise, no standing passengers may be transported and each passenger must respect the seat assigned on his or her ticket in order to guarantee the obligatory physical distance inside the cars.
Promotional tickets can be purchased now for trips between November 1 and December 20, 2020. The purchase of tickets, schedules and fares available for this promotion only for Peruvians and residents in Peru can be made through this website: PeruRail.com.
[NOTE: I tried to buy a ticket on Thursday and the payment went through, but no ticket was issued. I had to talk to an office representative who made a call. I received an email later apologizing and saying my money would be refunded within 20 days!) I bought a ticket this morning through the office on Av El Sol with cash and everything went fine.]
Thursday (October 22) – LIMA – Late last night the Ministry of Transportation and Communications announced on Twitter a number of cities where flights will be allowed beginning sometime in November.
[Keep in mind that the Ministry has made similar announcements on cities and plans that, in fact, did not become a reality when official government approvals were made. Interestingly, there have been no official press releases on this from the Ministry as of this morning. I strongly encourage everyone to take these tweets with a skepticism.]
The cities announced were:
- New York (USA)
- Los Angeles (USA)
- Orlando (USA)
- Miami (USA)
- Houston (USA)
- Atlanta (USA)
- Mexico City (Mexico)
- Cancún (Mexico)
- Havana (Cuba)
- Montego Bay (Jamaica)
- Punta Cana (Dominican Republic)
- San José (Costa Rica)
- San Salvador (El Salvador)
- Cartagena (Colombia)
- Río de Janeiro (Brazil)
- Sao Paolo (Brazil)
- Brasilia (Brazil)
- Porto Alegre (Brazil)
- Foz de Iguazú (Brazil)
- Buenos Aires (Argentina)
- Rosario (Argentina)
- Córdoba (Argentina)
- Tucumán (Argentina)
Wednesday (October 21) – LIMA – Major announcements were made this afternoon by President Vizcarra and the Council of Ministers.
Sunday lockdowns are over across the country, but the nightly curfews remain. The use of private vehicles on Sundays stays in effect.
“The curfew continues and remains in force, he said. “Don’t think that these measures include lifting the curfew. This measure is helping to control the spread of the disease.”
He also announced that the gradual opening of land borders will be happen soon. “We are going to start the gradual opening of the land borders,” he said. “We need a close coordination that we will initiate with the regional governments of the border to establish a protocol.”
A protocol will be established by the Ministry of Health and the regional governments so that opening of land borders does not “generate a risk of contagion” of the COVID-19.
He also announced that “starting in November, the radius of international flights will be extended. We are increasing the allowed flight time to 8 hours.”
[No details were announced and no specific countries were named. That should be coming soon.]
“Passengers entering Peru must come with a negative molecular test in hand,” according to Vizcarra. “We are not going to allow, we are going to be much stricter. If someone arrives without their molecular test, we will immediately put them on a return flight.”
The President also stated that “another topic discussed is that religious entities will be able to open their premises to receive the faithful and the public from November onwards, but with a maximum capacity of one third of their capacity.“
He also announced that “we are working and making a proposal to be considered as a definition of the use of beaches, to evaluate the gradual use of beaches…We are, to begin with, allowing the use of the beaches from Monday to Thursday, but on weekends we are only using the adjacent area.”
Vizcarra also talked about improvements with regards to the COVID situation in Peru. “At the beginning of the Council of Ministers, the Ministry of Health presented us with the evolution of the pandemic. The results continue to be favorable, both in terms of infections, hospitalizations and COVID patients. The number of deaths in many regions is at the level of previous years…The curve indicates that the contagion factor is less than one. The national average is 0.8.”
President Vizcarra opened his portion of the address by noting that “let’s not neglect that we must take care of our planet. In the pandemic we have used a lot of disposable products and this, in the long run, threatens the health of our planet.
He noted that “our economy is improving month by month. The GDP is increasingly higher than the previous month. In the last month of August, the fall is in single digits. The information that the MEF has given us is that in October, for the first time, public investment will be positive…There are programs like Arranca Peru that reach the most remote places, with investments of millions. And that is generating jobs.”
The government will continue to emphasize the digitalization of the government and Peruvian society to bring the country into the 21st century.
Programs to make up for the gaps that have occurred in education are being prepared now.
There will be a renewed emphasize to bring technology to the masses and to “to encourage the culture of innovation.”
Vizcarra added that “Digital issues have become evident in actions that we as a government have had to take in the pandemic. We have had to attend economically to the most vulnerable families. If we had all the households banking, it would be a very simple government action. But you can’t, because most of them don’t have a bankable system.”
Tuesday (October 20) – LIMA – Peruvian President Martin Vizcarra on Monday announced that the Council of Ministers will explore the possibility to open new routes for international flights.
He explained that the first stage of the resumption saw flights that were no longer than four hours, and the aim now is to discuss the resumption of eight-hour flights.
“International flights have been implemented, first those with a duration of four hours, and now the plan is to resume those no longer than eight hours. This will be discussed during the Council of Ministers session on Wednesday,” he told Santa Rosa radio station.
The Head of State remarked that the Peruvian economy is recovering and that the population’s needs are being taken into consideration to implement this new stage.
He went on to say that experts will be asked to assess the measures to take. “We listen to the population and the scientific rigor from experts,” he noted.
On the other hand, the President affirmed that Peru has achieved transparency in the information on cases and the evolution of COVID-19.
He also noted that the results of the measures taken by the Government will be available once the pandemic is over.
Tuesday (October 20) – Ancash – More than 50% of the people treated at a party in the Tangay sector, in the Ancash district of Nuevo Chimbote, were infected with the new coronavirus, reported the Peruvian National Police (PNP).
With the support of the rapid response teams, the police decided to screen the 80 people who were intervened in the celebration that took place last weekend in the local ‘Sal si puedes’. The results were 47 positive for COVID-19.
The tests were performed on the citizens at the police station in Buenos Aires, where they were transferred to comply with the respective proceedings, as part of the investigations for the alleged crime against public health.
All those who tested positive for the disease were asymptomatic patients, but the health personnel recommended that they be quarantined for 15 days in their homes. To this end, they will be monitored by doctors and nurses, who will inform the Public Prosecutor’s Office if those investigated comply with the social isolation.
At the time of the police intervention, a minor was also found. The proceedings, if any, are in charge of the Family Prosecutor’s Office.
Meanwhile, in the early morning hours of today, the police carried out another intervention in a celebration that was being held despite the prohibition of social gatherings, as they were sources of contagion for COVID-19.
It was the agents of the Alto Perú police station who entered the premises called ‘La tía Jacky’. There they found people dancing and drinking liquor without respecting the strictest health measures.
A total of 36 people were arrested in this operation: 22 men, 10 women and 4 minors. All of them will be investigated for the alleged crime against public health, in the form of non-compliance with sanitary measures.
Tuesday (October 20) – LIMA – The Ministry of Health (Minsa) approved the technical document, “National Plan of Vaccination against COVID-19”. By means of a ministerial resolution published in the official newspaper El Peruano, the Office of Transparency and Anti-Corruption of the General Secretariat was instructed to publish it on the Ministry’s institutional portal.
It should be noted that the General Directorate of Strategic Interventions in Public Health proposed for approval this technical document, which aims to contribute to reducing morbidity and mortality from COVID-19 within the framework of strategies for prevention and containment of the pandemic.
Weeks ago, the Ministry of Health authorized the financial transfer of S/75′554,020 to begin the process of acquiring the COVID-19 vaccine.
This monetary transfer was made in favor of the Global Alliance for Vaccines (Gavi Alliance) for the Covax Facility initiative, which will allow the country to acquire the vaccine when it becomes available.
As it is recalled, last September 18, the commitment agreement was signed with the organization that seeks to coordinate with laboratories so that countries have equal access to safe doses.
This agreement would allow the country to have access to more than 13 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines. With this, it is estimated that 20% of the population could be immunized.
This budget, according to Ministerial Resolution 826-2020/Minsa, comes from the National Center for Strategic Health Resources (Cenares).
This institution is responsible for providing quarterly information regarding the progress of the State in the acquisition, distribution and application of the vaccines against the coronavirus.
These resources destined to the vaccine cannot be used for different purposes for which they are transferred.
The Deputy Minister of Health, Luis Suarez, has previously stated that Peru will only purchase vaccines against COVID-19 that have passed rigorous international controls, in order not to endanger the population.
“The Ministry of Health is making the arrangements to acquire the vaccine through the COVAX Facility, a coalition where the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is located, as one of the mechanisms for the acquisition of the vaccine and which already has confidentiality agreements with four or five international laboratories for the acquisition by direct purchase,” he explained to TV Peru.
“Before using a drug or vaccine in the population, they must go through a series of research and control phases to guarantee that these products are, besides being effective, safe in the population,” he added and emphasized the importance of not having drastic adverse effects.
Tuesday (October 20) – CUSCO – According to the Social Health Insurance System (EsSalud) Heat Map report, 13 regions in the country have seen a slight increase in new COVID-19 cases between October 4 and 10.
During this period, 17,000 new cases were reported, said EsSalud’s Intelligence and Data Analysis Unit Chief Dante Cersso, who explained that the number of new cases per week dropped by 4% at the national level.
The number of new cases per week increased by more than 70% in two regions: Ayacucho (92%) and Madre de Dios (73%).
The number of new cases rose between 20% and 50% in six regions: San Martin (40%), Pasco (31%), Ucayali (24%), Puno (22%), Junin (20%), and La Libertad (20%).
In five regions, new COVID-19 cases increased by up to 17%: Cusco (16%), Ancash (16%), Moquegua (11%), Piura (10%), and Lambayeque (6%).
The number of new cases decreased between 3% and 35% in twelve regions: Huanuco (-3%), Cajamarca (-6%), Arequipa (-7%), Tumbes (-8% ), Apurimac (-10%), Lima (-13%), Amazonas (-13%), Callao (-14%), Tacna (-19%), Ica (-21%), Huancavelica (-29%), and Loreto (-35%).
“Increases are registered in the coast, highlands, and jungle, which raises concern, mainly in the most populated regions. Therefore, biosafety measures need to be enhanced to avoid a rebound in cases in the following weeks,” Cersso stated.
“The increase reported in provinces should not be replicated in Lima and Callao. If this situation occurs, cases will rebound. We must avoid crowds,” he warned.
In the case of Moquegua, the Health Manager, Jorge Monroy Piérola, indicated that the situation is not worrying, although COVID-19 cases continue to increase in recent days.
According to the latest epidemiological report, updated to October 18, Moquegua has 30,559 confirmed cases, 40 more than the previous report (30,515). While since October 12th, no new deaths were reported due to the pandemic, which now totals 434. The last 4 deaths were confirmed on October 10th.
“In Moquegua everything is calm, there is no reason to worry,” said Monroy in communication with La República. He said that thanks to the epidemiological fence and the Tayta plan, they have been able to control the COVID-19. They perform between 300 to 500 rapid tests a day, of which only about 5% are positive and most are stable. “We have attacked the hot zones, banks, markets and in the coming days we will continue to take tests,” he added.
Monroy asked the public not to worry, but neither to lower their guard and continue to comply with biosecurity measures.
The head of COVID-19 Command, Percy Miranda, said that the pandemic in Arequipa continues to decline. The Regional Health Management indicates that there are 133 932 people who tested positive and 94% recovered. In addition, there is a percentage of positivity of 8%. “These last weeks there is a continuous and persistent decrease, even in provinces. But this does not mean that we have to lower our guard”.
He pointed out that if there are still an average of 3 to 4 deaths a day, it is because there are irresponsible people who infect their relatives or people close to them. Miranda said that in Arequipa there are 1000 beds available. “We have room for an alleged outbreak or second wave. However, the staff is still minimal.
He said that they will work with a pyramid mechanism for the support of specialists. He added that they will continue to produce ivermectin until the Ministry of Health (Minsa) decides otherwise. He pointed out that their withdrawal from use is only for in-hospital treatment and not for primary care.
Tuesday (October 20) – LIMA – Yesterday Peru’s Ministry of Health reported 2,201 cases of COVID-19 and 61 deaths for Sunday. This is a remarkable number considering that, for a Sunday which typically has minimal testing, the test numbers dropped only slightly from previous days.
After two days of a slight rise, the positivity rate dropped back to 11.5% — the second lowest daily report in many months.
Also, October’s daily death average has dropped to 71.4 which, while more than anyone wants, is a major decrease from previous months.
There are currently 6,010 patients hospitalized for COVID-19 — a slight rise from yesterday — of which 1,094 are in ICU with mechanical ventilation.
So far 784,056 people completed their period of home isolation or were discharged from a health facility.
Monday (October 19) – CUSCO – Machu Picchu Tickets went on sale today, but it appears that there still is a problem with the website working. You can access the official site here for the English page:
Monday (October 19) – HUANCAYO – Forty-one citizens who were participating in an evangelical marriage in a house located in the Los Lirios Passage and Jirón 28 de Julio, in the Sapallanga district, province of Huancayo, ended up in the police station after the social gathering was intervened by the police.
According to the head of the Junín Police Region, Colonel César Ramos Chahuayo, the citizens were crowded together, without masks, and the accesses were blocked with the gifts that the attendants brought for the married couple.
The bride dressed in white, her partner and other wedding attendees were referred to the Sapallanga police station.
According to police information, 35 adults and 6 minors participated in this social gathering. The colonel indicated that the interveners, who were of age, were fined for participating in a party in a state of emergency by COVID-19.
Likewise, the police reported that Edison Pérez Ascona, 33 years old, responsible for the organization of the social gathering, was detained for being accused of the alleged crime against public health, in the modality of violation of sanitary measures. In the next few hours he will be made available to the Public Prosecutor’s Office.
Monday (October 19) – LIMA – Yesterday Peru’s Ministry of Culture reported 3126 more cases of COVID-19 and 57 deaths on Saturday.
The positivity rate rose slightly again for the second day in a row to 13.0%, but the rise has been tiny so it’s statistically nothing much.
Likely, this rise in positivity rates is the result of opening up on October 1 for almost all of Peru from the strict quarantines of the previous months as the amount of testing remained high all last week.
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