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Sunday (October 11) – CUSCO – Diario Correo reports that, after three days of fighting, the forest fire in the area of the Sacsayhuamán Archaeological Park was finally controlled. More than 200 fighters, including firemen, police, soldiers and the community members of the sector themselves worked in the emergency zone, including the use of a plane and a helicopter from the FAP to put out the flames.
About 710 hectares (over 1750 acres) burned in the Sacsayhuaman fire.
Yesterday afternoon, Brigadier Major CBP Jesus Valdivia, the head of the operation, confirmed to Correo that the fire had been completely controlled in Sacsayhuamán, Tambomachay and Yunkaypata, the three flashpoints of the emergency. The officer pointed out that although the emergency was controlled, the fighters are still working on the total liquidation of the flames.
“We are in the process of liquidation, this means that all the tongues of fire were extinguished and now we enter a process of liquidation, we have to finish extinguishing all the chinks of embers and hot spots, we are doing a total combing of the burned area, we can not afford to make mistakes due to fatigue,” he said.
He noted that the control of this emergency was given in the framework of 200 people, including 130 firefighters from seven companies in Cusco, helped by teams of police, soldiers, staff of Sernanp, Cultura Cusco, etc.
Valdivia Muñoz was emphatic in pointing out that the fight against this type of accident is too complicated. Factors such as humidity, atmospheric pressure, wind currents and others, prevent giving a hasty reading of the fire fight, being that this almost managed to be controlled last Friday afternoon, when strong winds rekindled the emergency, making it more dangerous.
“We suffered, it was not easy, but we managed to contain the fire. We have two firefighters who were injured in the fight, it was not serious but they were treated accordingly, we hope that this kind of fire serves us to internalize that we should not burn grass or fires in the open, besides being very dangerous and lead to real tragedies, is punishable and the perpetrators may end up in jail, “he said.
Up to the command post, located in Abra de Ccorao, came Firemen, Police, Army, Indeci, Regional Government and Municipality of Cusco in order to direct operations as appropriate, the transit to the Sacred Valley of the Incas was suspended for almost all day, generating chaos and unrest among travelers, but it was a preventive measure against the imminent danger in the area.
By Saturday, two aircraft of the Peruvian Air Force, a Spartan C27J and a MI17 helicopter, joined the extinction efforts, deploying a joint attack never before developed in the Cusco Region.
Brigadier CBP, José Arellano, leader of the Task Force 1 against Forest Fires of the General Volunteer Fire Department of Peru, said that the aircraft C27J is equipped with the Guardian system, which are large compartments that can throw up to three thousand liters of water over specific points in the fires, this plane made a total of three discharges on the fire.
It was learned that the MI17 helicopter works with the system called Bambi Bucket, which is a heliborne carried by the aircraft that contains a release device of up to 600 liters of water, this helicopter made a total of seven discharges. Both units were used for the first time in the fight against forest fires in Cusco.
While the brigades were fighting the forest fire in Sacsayhuamán, another fire broke out in the Tipón Archaeological Complex, where crews of fighters were sent to prevent the flames from reaching the archaeological remains.
By Saturday afternoon, these two fires had been brought under control, along with another fire in the town of Paruro. However, two other fires, registered in Maras and Yanahuara (Sacred Valley of the Incas) were still active and being monitored by the authorities.
For the senior brigadier CBP Rómulo Centeno, head of the IX Departmental Fire Command of Cusco, these fires are among the most difficult to fight, especially in Cusco, where the area is very rugged and there is a large amount of fuel such as dry grass and oil trees. The officer recommended to the order authorities to look for those responsible for these events and to sanction them drastically, in order to avoid the loss of human life, property and further damage to the environment.
The mayor of Cusco, Romi Infantas, said that the area of the fire was within the Sacsayhuaman Archaeological Park, but so far no monument or archaeological remains have been affected.
Sunday (October 11) – LIMA – Yesterday Peru’s Ministry of Health reported 2,733 more cases of COVID-19 cases.
Normally, this low number would indicate a big drop in testing and wouldn’t mean much, but, in fact, testing was relatively high. This meant that the positivity rate was an unbelievable 11.8% — the lowest one-day number reported since May 23!
While it’s still just one day, that is incredibly encouraging — especially considering that there was a significant amount of testing to make it meaningful.
They also reported 65 deaths which, though still very sad, continues the big decreasing trend over previous months.
The first third of October has seen an average of 76 deaths a day — far below September’s average of 117 and a massive drop from August’s average of 193 deaths a day.
Minsa reported 6,334 patients hospitalized by COVID-19, of which 1,207 are in ICU with mechanical ventilation. This continues the significant decreasing trend in hospitalizations.
So far 738,189 people completed their period of home isolation or were discharged from a health facility.
As of Friday, there are 107,899 known active cases of COVID-19 in Peru with that number continuing to go down every day for the past 7 weeks (except one day when it rose only 32 cases).
It’s very likely that Peru will drop below 100,000 active cases this week for the first in months. It’s also likely that any negative effects, if any, of the major opening of many regions and provinces will show up in the next week. In the first ten days, though, the data looks very positive.
Saturday (October 10) – CUSCO – The COVID reports from Cusco still indicate that they are doing minimal testing compared to what was being done in previous months.
The numbers of new COVID cases are too low to be believable unless there is very, very little testing going being done.
The number of deaths reported each day is likely to be a more accurate statistic and indicates improvement as the 7-day rolling average is now showing a consistent decline.
Saturday (October 10) – CUSCO – There is a large fire north of Cusco near the ruins of Tambomachay and Puka Pukara.
I wrote a blog post about it this morning here:
Huge Fire Above Cusco
Saturday (October 10) – CUSCO – The Red Asistencial Cusco of the Social Security of Health, is now implementing a modern technique that in only 15 minutes allows detection of COVID-19. This procedure is performed on all patients with respiratory problems who arrive at the emergency room of the Adolfo Guevara Velasco National Hospital in Cusco.
Marco Guillén, head of the Emergency ICU department at the hospital, reported that after the respective triage, patients suspected of having a coronavirus infection are referred to the ultrasound room, where trained personnel will perform a scan of the heart, vena cava and lungs, which can detect or rule out coronavirus.
“We are developing this technique with five trained physicians, and they perform lung ultrasound on an average of 20 to 30 patients per day,” the physician said, who pointed out that to date, 108 diagnoses have been made with this technique. “This is a relatively new procedure in Cusco and in the country, since only a few physicians have carried out the subspecialty of ultrasound in the United States,” he said.
This procedure has proven to be 90% effective, and is used in parallel with molecular or serological (rapid) tests, and also allows for a timely diagnosis in order to avoid complications in patients.
For his part, the manager of the Cusco Healthcare Network, Dr. Moisés Mendocilla, said that this new technique will reinforce the diagnosis of COVID-19 and provide timely care to patients at the Adolfo Guevara Velasco National Hospital, a technique that could be replicated in the first level of health care institutions (IPRESS), since it is fast, more economical and could be used in places where there would be no access to a CT scan.
Saturday (October 10) – CUSCO – The Minister of Culture, Alejandro Neyra, said from Cusco that visits to seven important archaeological sites will be resumed next week.
On October 15 it will be possible to visit (with all the measures of biosecurity) Sacsayhuamán, Pisac, Ollantaytambo, Chinchero, Moray, Pikillacta and Tipón.
Machu Picchu, will reopen in November.
Neyra verified the protocols that are being implemented to receive visitors from the country and abroad. “We have made a tour of the archaeological sites, checking all the protocols, so we are in a position to confirm access to the archaeological sites by October 15, as we decided for Lima and Lambayeque,” he said.
He also said that before the reopening of these sites they will make a test or ‘white march’, to prevent a controlled entry. “The capacity will be 50%, with all the biosecurity measures so that visitors feel safe when attending these places. With this we are contributing to the cultural, economic and soul reactivation of the region and the country,” he said.
Neyra explained that Machu Picchu access will be limited to 30% of its capacity. “We hope it will be from November and for that we are coordinating with local and regional authorities. The access will be initially for 675 people. In addition, we established as carrying capacity 2,244 people for Machu Picchu. Let’s hope that the return to these archaeological sites will be progressive and reactivate tourism in Cusco,” he emphasized.
On Thursday night Neyra visited the area where a forest fire threatened many areas in Cusco to ascertain that nearby archaeological sites did not suffer any damage, being controlled in time in that sector.
“We were able to visit the area of Sacsayhuamán, Tambomachay and Puka Pukara, verifying that there was no damage to the archaeological heritage,” he said.
Saturday (October 10) – LIMA – It’s been four days since I last reported on reports from Peru’s Ministry of Health. I’ve been keeping up with the data each day and, to be honest, there hasn’t been much of a change.
That is a good thing about lack of change is that the trends towards improvement have continued.
The positivity rate of testing has hovered around 20% and has been below that mark for the past two reports.
The number of deaths reported each day was round 90 which raised the average a bit from the first few days of October, but that number dropped to 60 in yesterday’s report.
The number of known active cases of COVID-19 in the country continues to drop to 110,355. While there was a rise in cases reported yesterday, it was accompanied by a much larger number of reported tests.
Tuesday (October 6) – CUSCO – La Republica reports that Cusco hopes to obtain the Secure Travel Seal awarded by the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC). The announcement was made by Governor Jean Paul Benavente Garcia, who indicated that these steps are part of the economic recovery.
Benavente explained to Andina that the Cusco region would be catalogued as “Cusco Safe Destination”. Previously, it will have to comply with requirements and protocols to ensure the welfare of domestic and foreign visitors. The authority indicated that it is coordinating with 32 sub-committees of the private sector that brings together travel agencies, hotels, restaurants, among others.
“The formats they request must be complied with, the private sector is committed,” he said.
The action is promoted by the Regional Government of Cusco together with the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Tourism (Mincetur). A meeting is scheduled for this Tuesday.
In obtaining the WTTC seal, Cusco will generate confidence among tourists to know its attractions. Some of them are the citadel of Machu Picchu, Sacsayhuaman, Chinchero, Ollantaytambo, Pisaq and Tipon. Also, the mountain Vinicunca, the Sacred Valley of the Incas, among others. These areas were kept closed due to the measures of the state of emergency.
They are also working on a regional certification that will allow them to boost domestic tourism. Together with the Regional Directorate of Foreign Trade and Tourism, and the Directorate of Health, they are verifying compliance with biosafety protocols in several locations.
Monday (October 5) – LIMA – Andina News reported that Transport and Communications Minister Carlos Estremadoyro confirmed that flights are available to almost all destinations across the country.
“Nowadays, domestic flights are available to almost all destinations throughout the country, and that will surely result in an increase in the flow of passengers at the airport. Although, the control of domestic and international flights has already been discussed,” he said.
“We have made assessments on domestic flights every 15 days, as some regions and provinces opened and closed,” he added.
According to Estremadoyro, who joined President Martin Vizcarra in the resumption of international flights earlier today, the protocols for domestic and international flights were developed with the help of experts.
“Medical specialists have provided recommendations, and they have been contained in a resolution, which states how to transport people,” he stated.
The minister explained that international flights resumed today with a flight from Chile, where the need to transport people was greater. However, other countries have scheduled flights for the following days.
“Only 55 passengers are coming on this first flight (from Chile), since others were not able to get the test done in time, so we have talked to airlines so that their travel can be rescheduled until they take the test,” he earlier on Monday.
Monday (October 5) – MACHU PICCHU – The mayor of the district of Machu Picchu, located in the province of Urubamba (Cusco), Darwin Baca announced that his jurisdiction has advanced biosecurity protocols to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. This as part of the economic revival in the tourism sector that was affected by the pandemic.
Baca indicated that they have worked on training, socialization and implementation of the protocols with the owners of the premises that receive tourists such as lodgings, restaurants, commercial premises, as well as guides and professionals directly linked to the tourism sector.
As part of this action undertaken for the benefit of his district and the region, Baca, also stressed that the Machu Picchu supply market already has the protocols ready, as it has been working to supply basic products to visitors.
He adds that this also occurs in the handicraft market where they worked with the owners and leaders of each association with the aim of ensuring the safety of tourists.
In addition to this, they are also working to make the district more attractive in the economic recovery, according to the mayor.
“We want to give a new face, we are the anteroom to our wonder, so we have worked on the maintenance of our square and our streets, now our bridges will look green thanks to the implementation of plants,” he said.
Monday (October 5) – CUSCO – Diario Correa reported that the regional director of Foreign Trade and Tourism, Fredy Deza, held a work meeting with the head of the Tourism Police in order to coordinate a joint effort that will make the mentioned reactivation possible while taking care of the compliance with the biosecurity protocols.
The PNP commander, Oscar Blacido, head of the Tourism Police, stated that there is a predisposition on the part of this institution to work to guarantee security and to make the biosecurity protocols prevail in order to have a safe tourist visit by the Cusco people to all the archeological sites in the region.
“We have to work together for the economic reactivation and support the work undertaken by DIRCETUR for the benefit of the population,” said Blacido.
Fredy Deza said that in this work everyone must be united and be part of achieving the goal of starting with economic recovery in a responsible manner, complying with biosecurity protocols, for which a work agenda has been developed, which also involves Diresa, Sernanp, Cultura Cusco and local authorities.
“In this first stage as part of gratitude for the work and fight they did against the coronavirus, the first beneficiaries will be our brothers of public cleaning, doctors, nurses, police and military so they can better understand our archaeological wealth,” said the director of Dircetur.
He also said that more institutions are joining this project of economic revival in domestic tourism, with the sole purpose of working for the people of Cusco, curbing the virus and demonstrate the unity and joint work by the people of Cusco.
Monday (October 5)- LIMA – This afternoon Peru’s Ministry of Health released their report a little early. Since I missed last night’s report, I’ll talk about both now.
The number of cases reported continues to go down. On Saturday the number was 3,184 and on Sunday it had fallen to 1,830. While Sunday’s number was incredibly low, the amount of testing was also very light. The good thing, however, is that the positivity rate was a respectable (compared to recent months) 20.3%.
Minsa did report 77 and 92 deaths each day which was a slight increase.
By Sunday evening, there were 6,983 patients hospitalized by COVID-19, of which 1 269 were in ICU with mechanical ventilation. Both of these numbers are very significant drops and extremely encouraging.
So far 712,888 people completed their period of home isolation or were discharged from a health facility.
By Sunday night, the number of known active cases of COVID in Peru had dropped to 117,111. (A month ago this number was over 177,000!)
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