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Peru’s Prime Minister Makes New Announcements
Peru’s Prime Minister, Violeta Bermúdez, held a press conference this afternoon to announce agreements adopted in today’s session of the Council of Ministers, aimed at improving public services and emergency health care.
Earlier today the head of Health Intelligence of the Piura Regional Health Directorate, Edy Leyva, reported that the Piura region has 108 suspected cases of a variant of the new coronavirus. (see below), but they were sent to the National Institute of Health (INS) for evaluation two weeks ago and are awaiting results.
Bermúdez opened the press conference by saying that the decisions “try to make a balance between the health of the people and the economy.”
“For the moment,” she continued, “the confinement of the population has not been considered, but we are constantly analyzing the situation…We hope we don’t have to reach an extreme situation that forces us to take more severe measures.”
Bermúdez noted that “in January, 60 ICU beds have been implemented, and as of Monday, 128 ventilators will be admitted to implement more.
“We are working to prevent the spread of COVID-19. We have committed to bringing the vaccine in and are having several advanced discussions…We want to invite the whole population to take care of their health. The pandemic has not gone away. We cannot play with our health and that of our loved ones.”
As a reaction to the rise in patients under ICU care, Bermúdez said “we are reaching 1786 ICU beds, the same as we had at the peak of the first wave…We have to thank for the 315 ventilators built in our country that are already distributed and 215 donated by the Brazilian government in the process of distribution. We are waiting for a donation from the United Kingdom.”
She continued to discuss the administrations plans to face the current second wave. “We have made a second wave plan that involves hospitals and the first level of care…3,000 [oxygen] bottles are destined to the first level of attention establishments, where also oximeters have been distributed…We have made an agreement with UNI so that they can manufacture oxygen plants. The first payment has already been made. The UNI is manufacturing 47 oxygen plants. The first one has already been put into operation at the Pisco Hospital.”
“The most important thing is that each of us takes responsibility, she said. “If each of us takes care of ourselves, we’ll be able to keep a good balance between continuing to do our activities and avoiding contagion.”
Minister of Health, Pilar Mazzetti, said that “the assisted ventilation equipment has been distributed mainly in the north. Those that are arriving have been prioritized in the second wave plan according to regions.”
Mazzetti also spoke about Sinopharm’s vaccines, saying “In China an export permit is required…They are going to give us the export permit which takes 1 week…We have separated a space (in Cenares) to store at this time 12 million vaccines and if it comes at once we have the possibility of expanding up to 20 million vaccines.”
Mazzetti on the new variant of the coronavirus: “We are seeing that this is advancing rapidly and as we have found a first case, it means that it is among us…The best cost-effective health intervention is a vaccine…Peru has a long history of vaccination and we are considered one of the best countries in Latin America in terms of vaccination…As soon as the vaccine arrives, we will be able to carry out the vaccination campaigns. We already have the first million (Sinopharm) and we are negotiating the remaining 37 million.”
Piura Reports 108 Possible Cases of COVID-19 Variant
The Piura region reported 108 suspected cases of a variant of the new coronavirus, as reported by the head of Health Intelligence of the Piura Regional Health Directorate, Edy Leyva.
Leyva told RPP Noticias that on January 6 they sent 108 samples to the National Institute of Health (INS) so that it could determine if they had the characteristics of one of the variants currently circulating in the world.
“The Regional Health Laboratory has sent 108 samples on January 6th to the INS headquarters so that they can do the genomic sequencing, the technical evaluation, the determination of whether these samples, with viral load, really have the characteristics of a variant,” Leyva said.
He explained that two criteria have been taken into account to send those samples, the viral load, which is higher and different from the previous samples obtained until December 2020, and the clinical evolution of the patients.
The Regional Health Direction of Piura is waiting for a response from the National Health Institute, which currently has an overload of cases.
“They have a high demand. It is not only our region. We have 25 regions in the country, and they send samples every day and we cannot demand that they give us an immediate response. That depends on the amount of personnel, the technical processing that they do, and the determination of the severity of the cases,” he said.
Tourism and the Second Wave of COVID-19
La Republica reports that the second wave of COVID-19 puts at risk the economic reactivation, especially tourism, in the regions of Cusco and Arequipa. A second blow to this sector would be serious for the economy of both regions.
For this reason, the regional governor of Cusco, Jean Paul Benavente, demanded that the national Executive implement two immediate measures to prevent tourism from being suspended again: transfer resources to hire more health personnel and to comply with the payment of complementary hours.
He also demanded that the government provide measures so that passengers, before boarding planes or buses to the Cusco, present a medical discharge if they have been infected or a test with a negative result.
For his part, the regional manager of Foreign Trade and Tourism of Arequipa, Carlos Andrade, said that the sector is in a “state of coma”. All the commerce and businesses linked to the beaches lost close to 80 million soles in these last two months. “There was no flow in transportation, food, hotels, telephony or internet,” he said.
He said that on average a local tourist can spend between 80 to 120 soles a day. He indicated that with the reduction of capacity that is in force since yesterday for various establishments not only affects their income, but also generates fear which will reduce even more travel and spending on related services.
First Night of Curfew in Cusco
January 16 – Diario Correo reports that in the Cusco region, the balance of the first day of the new curfew was unfavorable in the words of Colonel Alejandro Castillo, head of the Cusco Police Region, who pointed out that the population abused the supposed lack of knowledge of the new schedules, walking the streets until late at night.
“People say that they were not aware of the new curfew, the police and the army were on the streets and people were eating, shopping and the stores were still open, businesses must have closed by 8 p.m. To give their workers and users time to go home,” said Colonel Castillo.
He also said that in extreme cases 163 citizens had to be intervened and fined for not complying with the new regulations. He emphasized that ofsaidfenders cannot be arrested and taken to the police stations so as not to encourage more contact and contagion between the police and the population.
Regarding the transporters, he said that the majority of the buses respected the time limit (20:00 hours), however, the cab drivers and others had a hard time transporting passengers outside of the permitted hours and for exorbitant amounts.
The last plan designed by the Police to control the pedestrian and transport traffic in the Cusco Region, confers the departure of up to 1,500 police officers in all provinces, who will carry out tasks of protection, communication and interception of citizens who do not comply with the new curfew schedule and provisions given to stop the COVID-19 pandemic.
RPP also reported that the co-executor of the Municipality of Cusco, Verioska Guerra, said that in the province there are up to three daily closings of shops where meetings are organized and the so-called parties COVID-19.
Guerra said that these are premises that operate with the facade of restaurants, bars or cafes, however, inside their establishments are home to people who drink liquor and do not meet the protocols of biosecurity during the pandemic.
“Per day to five premises. Last weekend there were three discos in one night, early in the morning. That’s six days a week,” he said.
Guerra said that some businessmen took advantage of the reduction in municipal inspection staff to break the rules.
He noted that a large number of inspectors have comorbid factors that force them to work from home.
IPSOS Survey: Peruvians and COVID-19 Vaccines
January 16 – Almost half of Peruvians do not want to receive the COVID-19 vaccine even though the country is at the beginning of the second wave of the pandemic and for much of 2020 had the highest mortality rate in the world from this disease.
According to a survey by the pollster Ipsos published this Saturday in the newspaper El Comercio, 48% of Peruvians would refuse to receive the vaccine, whose application in Peru will be voluntary and free of charge by the State.
This percentage is almost double that of five months ago, when in August 2020, during the worst moment of the first wave of the pandemic in Peru, only 22% of Peruvians refused to be vaccinated.
Opponents of the vaccine have grown almost proportionally inverse to the parties to receive it, which five months ago were 75% and now are 48%, equal to those reluctant to be inoculated.
Among the reasons for not receiving the vaccine, 52% stated that not all the side effects are known yet and 30% because they think that the vaccine was developed too fast and mistakes must have been made in the process.
The survey was carried out from January 13th to 15th to 1,210 urban and rural adults from the 25 regions of the country, with a margin of error of 2.8%. The Peruvian government has reached agreements for sufficient quantities to vaccinate its entire population of 32.6 million people.
Peru will be supplied with vaccines from the laboratories of Sinopharm (China) and AstraZeneca (United Kingdom), two of the companies that have carried out clinical trials of their respective vaccines in Peru.
The Executive expects to receive this same month of January the first of the 38 million doses that it committed to acquire from Sinopharm, while for the second half of the year it expects to receive 14 million doses of AstraZeneca and another 13.3 million doses through the multilateral initiative Covax.
The first million doses of vaccine from China alone cost the Peruvian government 94 million soles (about US$26 million).
The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Elizabeth Astete, assured on Friday in an appearance in Congress that the Government is still trying to ratify a pre-agreement with the American company Pfizer that had the administration of former President Martin Vizcarra to buy 9.9 million doses.
Official Decrees Published On the New Measures in the Fight Against COVID-19
Here are links to the actual Supreme Decrees which explain all the new measures announced by the Peruvian government on Wednesday.
Supreme Decree N° 002-2021-PCM
Supreme Decree N° 004-2021-PCM
The second Decree describes procedures involving international arrivals — some of which were unclear to me and maybe others so I’m listing the relevant excerpts here.
One new point is the suspension of entry of “non-resident aliens from Europe or South Africa, or who have made a stopover in those places in the last fourteen (14) calendar days.”
Article 1. Persons who arrive in the country to make an international or domestic connection with another flight within sixteen (16) hours of their arrival are exempt from the provisions of numeral 1.1 of article 1 of Supreme Decree No. 207-2020-PCM, likewise, they must not leave the airport connection area.
Those persons who arrive in the country to make a connection with a time greater than that referred to in the previous paragraph, must comply with a temporary quarantine in the facilities that the Health Authority has, until the departure of their connection flight. The transportation and food expenses involved in such quarantine are covered by the passenger.
Article 2: Allows for the “Mandatory quarantine for Peruvians and foreign residents coming from abroad in the place of destination.”
1.2 Peruvians, resident aliens and non-resident aliens will carry out the quarantine at their home or in an accommodation, prior coordination with the health authority. In case the quarantine is carried out in a declared domicile outside the city of Lima, they must travel to it within twenty-four (24) hours after entering the country, complying with all the respective sanitary measures, ratifying the contact information registered in the Sworn Statement issued by the Ministry of Health, in order to carry out a better follow-up and epidemiological control.
Those persons whose test result is positive upon arrival at a point of entry, enter into mandatory isolation for 14 calendar days, which will be performed in the Pan American Village or other temporary isolation center in the city of Lima and in the facilities that the Regional Governments have in their jurisdiction.
1.3. The quarantine measure may end before the referred 14 calendar days if there is a negative result of the molecular test for the discard of COVID-19, whose sample is taken after six (6) calendar days from the entry to the country, in this case the health authority grants the epidemiological discharge. The cost of the referred test will be assumed by the passenger.
Those persons whose test is positive, enter into mandatory isolation according to current regulations, which will be conducted in the Pan American Village or other temporary isolation center in coordination with the health authority.
Article 4. Suspension of entry of non-resident foreigners from Europe or South Africa.
The entry into the national territory of non-resident aliens from Europe or South Africa, or who have made a stopover in those places in the last fourteen (14) calendar days, is suspended until January 31, 2021.
Cusco Has No ICU Beds Available
January 15 – Multiple news agencies are reporting that all of Cusco’s ICU beds are now full and no more space is currently available.
Diario Correo reports that according to Dr. Renzo Vargas, assistant director of the Antonio Lorena Hospital in Cusco, a plan for the expansion of all the hospital’s services, including the Intensive Care Unit for patients with coronavirus, is being developed rapidly, but at the moment, the only four ICU beds they had are already occupied.
“At this time we have four patients in our four ICU beds available, we do not have more capacity (…) According to the last report there were no more beds available in any of the three hospitals, this worries me, it is a need to expand care, it is a need to have not only beds, but staff that can care for patients, ICUs are not managed only with beds, but with staff, ventilators, monitors, vacuum cleaners, etc.,” said Dr. Vargas.
Vargas also said that every day they receive the report of the vacant beds in the three hospitals of Cusco, in order to make the distribution of chronic patients according to the capacity of each hospital, but according to the last report indicated that none of the hospitals had ICU beds for COVID-19 patients.
This information was endorsed from the Regional Hospital of Cusco, where, out of five available beds, all were already occupied. At the Adolfo Guevara Hospital – EsSalud, where 11 ICU beds were installed, all of them occupied at the moment.
Cusco’s COVID-19 Command Makes New Recommendations
January 13 – La Republica reports that the positivity rate of testing in Cusco’s has risen to 27% representing a doubling in less than ten days. The head of Health Intelligence, Javier Ramirez, confirmed that Cusco is already registering a resurgence of COVID-19.
La Republica says that “the normalization of the population’s mobility and the massive attendance at shopping malls before and during the end of the year festivities [along with] the departure of people to the streets, parks, markets and other spaces of massive concurrence” has contributed to this frightening increase.
They also noted the failure to maintain social distance and the lack of use of face masks on urban transport buses, the ignoring of the curfew by some, and the operation and attendance of young people in bars and discos in the middle of the curfew contributed to the current resurgence.
According to the National Police report 485 fines were imposed for non-compliance with sanitary restrictions during last Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. The majority of the irresponsible ones are men with 398.
The COVID-19 Regional Command will propose some restrictive measures.
Cusco’s Transit Manager, Jhullber Ray del Carpio Cuentas, said that they will improve the control of capacity and compliance with biosecurity measures in the urban transport service. Also, they will avoid the circulation of informal cabs.
The head of Health Intelligence said that from La Geresa they will propose to the Executive to extend the curfew from 9 p.m. to 4 a.m. Currently, it starts at midnight.
They will also propose a restriction on the sale of liquor in all the sales centers. The Cusco municipality intends to prohibit the operation of establishments where alcohol is sold from 10 p.m.
Blockade of the Cusco-Arequipa Route
January 12 – Yesterday residents of the province of Canchis (Cusco), began a 72-hour strike hoping to achieve the reduction of interurban tickets and a greater budget allocation for this province.
Residents blocked the Pan-American Highway between Cusco and Arequipa in different points. The largest number of pickets were located in the districts of San Pablo, San Pedro, Tinta, Combapata and Checacupe.
The road was interrupted with sticks, logs and rocks blocking the passage of private vehicles and public transportation was not allowed. Police were sent to the area but so far no confrontations have been reported.
This demonstration was proposed by the Frente de Defensa de Los Intereses de Canchis (Front for the Defense of the Interests of Canchis), which held a meeting with leaders and residents on January 7 when they agreed to carry out the three-day strike.
They are asking for a free transportation route in the so-called Northern Cone and the city of Sicuani. They also request a new competition and hiring of personnel for the Provincial Municipality of Canchis.
At the same time they request the return of the service of the local train Cusco – Sicuani – Cusco and a new Political Constitution of Peru through a Constituent Assembly.
The demonstrators pointed out that this strike is a preventive measure, and if they do not find an answer to their petitions, they will declare an indefinite strike in the entire province of Canchis.
Abanto: ICU Units in Lima and Callao at 99% Capacity
January 12 – In an interview with RPP’s Ampliación de Noticias program, Alicia Abanto, assistant for the State Administration of the Ombudsman’s Office, said that the waiting list for patients with COVID-19 cases is increasing every day and noted that the situation for many families is “terrible”.
“The numbers are in the red and today we are at 99% occupation of ICU beds with ventilators for adults in Metropolitan Lima and Callao,” according to Abanto.
She noted that although the number of ICU beds (821) has increased, there are a large number of patients waiting for more than a week to access this service and “unfortunately some are dying while on the waiting list.
“Today there are only 16 beds available,” she said. “Five are in private clinics, two in EsSalud, and nine in the Ministry of Health. What this implies is that there are only five health facilities in Metropolitan Lima and Callao that have this service available, so in at least 25 districts of Metropolitan Lima there is no such service.”
Abanto asked the government to be “public, transparent and honest” about the situation of the waiting lists for ICU beds. She urged the Ministry of Health and SuSalud to publish how many beds are occupied and how many patients are waiting to access this service for each health facility that has a COVID-19 zone in the country.
“Based on this transparency, the health authority must also explain in all cases and what the criteria for prioritization is (…) without transparency and sincerity in these cases it will not be clear in which cities there is a longer waiting list and how support systems could be provided among health service providers,” he said.
In addition, Abanto asked health authorities to make the greatest possible effort to provide more staff, since it is difficult to implement ICU beds if there are no adequate professionals.
Economic Outlook for Peru is Positivity
January 11 – The Pre-Electoral Report Administration 2016-2021, published today by the Presidency of the Council of Ministers, says that the economy will grow an average of 5.1% between 2021 and 2026, according to projections by the Ministry of Economy and Finance (MEF).
This growth is caused by the strengthening of domestic demand associated with greater capital accumulation, the boost to competitiveness, and productivity of the economy.
“In particular, in 2021 there will be a statistical rebound in all economic sectors, which would allow the GDP to reach a growth rate of 10%, the highest rate since 1994, due to the normalization of operations of most economic activities,” according to the report.
The document says that after the recovery of the economy in 2021, between 2022 and 2026 there would be an average growth of 4.1% per year, favored mainly by the normalization of operations of economic activities; the strengthening of internal demand, associated with the construction of mining and non-mining investment projects, which will boost employment and consumption of families; and economic policy measures aimed at improving the efficiency and competitiveness of the economy.
This growth will exceed that recorded between 2016 and 2019 (3.2%), and would be higher than that recorded by countries in the region such as Colombia (3.8%), Chile (3.1%), Mexico (2.4%) and Brazil (2.3%).
The Report says that Peru would be one of the economies with the lowest country risk and lowest debt in the region, and one of the few that would maintain its credit rating in the context of this pandemic situation.
The Report also notes some of the pending challenges for the next administration:
- (i) consolidation of fiscal accounts and strengthening of public finances;
- (ii) informality as a complex structural and multidimensional problem;
- iii) the low level of financial inclusion even by Latin American standards;
- iv) inefficiencies in public spending;
- v) a fragmented and inefficient health service;
- (vi) a pension system with low coverage and sustainability problems;
- vi) digitalization gaps in public services and databases; and
- (vii) gaps in Internet services.
January 11 – The president of the Peruvian Society of Intensive Medicine, Jesus Valverde, warned this Monday that Intensive Care Units (ICU) in the country are already collapsed after the increase of patients with the COVID-19.
Valverde told La Rotativa del Aire that the ICU is very dynamic and specified that until yesterday, Sunday, there were no ICU beds in hospitals and private clinics in Lima.
“Today the hospitalization beds, which were the reserve of the hospitals, are already filling up. This means that the migration of patients directly from their homes to third level hospitals is taking place in a frank and vertical way. At this moment we can say that the ICUs nationwide are already collapsing. Our growth is taking place in extended areas outside the Intensive Care Unit,” he said.
Jesus Valverde clarified that ICU beds are not going to solve the problem of patients with COVID-19, so he proposed a second level containment strategy based on high-flow systems installed in general hospitalization areas. “We currently have about 350 or 400 high-flow devices nationwide,” he added.
“We are proposing to the Ministry of Health…to buy these high flow systems. The high-flow systems are high-speed oxygen intake systems that relatively and absolutely in many cases solve the respiratory problem in patients who are going to progress severely,” he said.
Valverde highlighted the continuous work of the intensive care physicians throughout the 10 months of the pandemic, despite the exhaustion of the personnel. In addition, he insisted that the growth of ICU reached its peak because there are no longer any health professionals.
“The pandemic has revealed that the deficit of intensivists is large at the national level,” said Velarde. “We are living a global crisis of intensive care physicians. It happens all over the world. It happens in Europe in North America and Peru was not unaware of this. Latin America does not have the number of intensivists similar to first world countries.”
COVID Data in Peru Continues to Get Worse
January 11 – Data from the Ministry of Health (Minsa) continues to signal a serious increase in COVID-19 across the country.
Hospitalizations are rising rapidly with the number in ICU rising at a somewhat slower rate. The number of deaths per day is now closing in on the worst period in four months.
Also, the positivity rate of testing is about to show an explosion in a couple of days.
Cusco Sees Positivity Rate Almost Double
January 10 – RPP Noticias is reporting that the Cusco regional director of Health, Juan Spelucin Runciman, said that the increase of positivity of the molecular tests applied in the 13 provinces has risen drastically.
The Cusco region registered an increase in positive cases of the new coronavirus in recent days, going from 88 infections in one day to 154, that is, almost half, according to the regional director of health, Juan Spelucin Runciman.
Spelucin said that that the increase of the index of positivity as a result of the application of molecular tests is one of the worrying factors before the possibility of a second wave of the COVID-19 in the region.
“There are already some indicators that concern us: the increase in the positivity of molecular tests. The positivity was at 10 and 15% and we’ve gone up to 20 and 30%,” said Spelucin in the RPP’s Ignition program.
Regharding the possibility of a second wave of COVID-19, Spelucin said that Cusco has infrastructure and equipment for patient care. In addition, he confirmed that there is enough oxygen to meet the demand of Cusco patients.
However, he confirmed that health facilities lack sufficient personnel for care. “There is a debt of overtime that is not yet paid to health personnel,” he said.
Cusco authorities are prioritizing the use of molecular tests to detect the new coronavirus. In addition, starting next week, the work will be reinforced with the use of antigen tests in the health centers where a lot of 74 thousand units will be distributed.
Peru is Still Negotiating for More Vaccines
January 10 – Foreign Affairs Minister Elizabeth Astete announced on Saturday that there are advanced negotiations with more COVID-19 researching laboratories around the world including Johnson & Johnson, Gamaleya (Institute), and CureVac.
According to Andina News, she also announced that that plans are being made to acquire doses which do not have unusual refrigeration requirements for delivery as early as March and April from Sinopharm and AstraZeneca.
Rains Continue to Devastate the Cusco Region
January 9 – The National Center for Estimation, Prevention and Reduction of Disaster Risks (Cenepred) announced that 407 districts in the country that are at very high risk of landslides and flooding during the rainy season with 24 districts in Cusco included in the list.
The head of Cenepred in Cusco, Juvenal Medina, urged the authorities of the three levels of government to work on disaster risk management.
Cenepred called on the population to contact their authorities and this organization to identify the areas at risk and prioritize their intervention to avoid disaster losses.
Vaccine Purchases Announced for Peru
January 6 — This afternoon President Sagasti announced that Peru has reached an agreement for the purchase of COVID-19 vaccines from AstraZeneca and Sinopharm.
Peru will be purchasing 38 million doses of the Sinopharm vaccine which has a reported 79% efficacy rate. The first batch of one million doses of the Sinopharm vaccine will arrive sometime this month.
Peru has been part of the Phase 3 clinical trials of Sinopharm’s vaccine. Thousands of people have volunteered and received the two doses of this vaccine under the supervision of the Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia (UPCH) and the Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos (UNMSM).
Peru is also purchasing between 14 and 15 million vaccines against COVID-19 from AstraZeneca and Oxford University that are expected to arrive by September.
The government has also been preparing logistical procedures for distribution of the vaccines.
Suspension of Flights from Europe Extended
January 6 – The Ministry of Transport and Communications (MTC) extended for 15 days the suspension of commercial flights that connect Peru with Europe and that last more than eight hours.
This measure is aimed at reducing the risk of contagion due to the possible entry into Peruvian territory of people infected with the new variant of COVID-19, discovered in the United Kingdom.
The provision was published today in the Legal Standards Bulletin in El Peruano, through Ministerial Resolution No. 001-2021-MTC/0.
This norm extends the suspension of commercial flights from and to Europe, which was initially ordered on December 21.
Peruvian or foreign passengers arriving from abroad must present the negative result of the current molecular test and an affidavit of health. They also must carry out an obligatory quarantine for a period of 14 calendar days at their home, in the Pan American Village, in a temporary isolation center or a lodging, previous coordination with the sanitary authority.
MINSA: Travelers May Quarantine in a Province
January 5 – The Ministry of Health announced this morning that people arriving in Lima whose final destination is a province must comply with the mandatory 14-day quarantine in the final location of their trip and no longer in Lima.
Supreme Decree No. 207-2020-PCM requires all travelers arriving in Peru, both Peruvians and foreigners, to quarantine for 14 days.
“Within the traceability that we did yesterday,” said Rigoberto Robles, Director of International Health of the Regional Health Directorate of Callao, “we determined that around 30 passengers out of the 180 that arrive in each flight, have as their final destination some province. If we do an arithmetic with this evidence and multiply it by 34 daily flights, in 10 days we would have 20,000 passengers quarantined in Lima when the Pan American Village only has 1,600 beds available. Operationally, this measure will not be possible.”
Robles said that travelers should carry out the mandatory quarantine at their final destinations, in strict compliance with the recommendations of the Ministry of Health.
“The recommendation that is being given now is that, once arrived in Lima, the passenger must continue to generate his protection bubble, with the correct use of the mask, the distance and the washing of hands, so that when he arrives at his final destination he will be installed correctly and will do his quarantine for 14 days.”
Robles explained that this decision has been taken after making an operational assessment of the measure and the costs involved, because many passengers do not have relatives in the capital and will have to settle in hotels or other accommodations, assuming those expenses completely.
When asked about the number of foreign travelers arriving in our country these days, he said that they are very few and that they represent only between 1% and 2% of the total number of passengers arriving at Jorge Chávez Airport.
“There was a good intention to retain travelers in Lima to comply with the measure, but operationally it is complicated. Now we have the recommendation that people continue generating their protection bubbles until they reach their final destination, where they will make the obligatory quarantine”.
He also said that this will be monitored by the National Liaison Center and by the Epidemiology Network at national level.
Dr. Robles asked the population to seriously evaluate the decision to travel outside Peru these days, due to the risk that exists in the world for a second wave of the new coronavirus and because upon arrival in the country a 14-day quarantine will have to be carried out.
Every person must fill out a traveler’s health declaration, where he must clearly indicate the address and telephone number where he can be found and monitored for 14 days.
Failure to quarantine as required is a criminal offense and subject to criminal prosecution.
Report: 30% of Peru Already Affected with COVID-19
January 5 – RPP Noticias reports that epidemiologist and former Minister of Public Health, Percy Medina said that 30% of the Peruvian population was infected with the new coronavirus since the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic in the country according to a prevalence study yet to be published conducted since November by agencies of the health sector.
In a conversation with Dr. Elmer Huerta in RPP’s All About the Coronavirus program, Medina pointed out that the country’s rural areas register half the prevalence of urban areas, so they are configured as spaces where the virus can spread more in a second wave.
“What we have is that, in the most concentrated areas, in the big cities, the prevalence figures are the highest […] and the data handled for other departments are showing a characteristic profile: one out of three (infected) in the cities and in the rural areas the figure can be much lower, usually half,” he said.
Medina explained that in rural areas, because they are less densely populated, “the contact dynamics have not been intense” and therefore the infection rates are lower.
“This is worrying”, he warned, because when areas with low levels of prevalence are reported — in the order of 8 or 9% — the virus will have room to “cause problems like those we see in the north” of the country.
“Piura with 35% (prevalence) at the maximum value, has 15% (prevalence) in rural areas; this explains the (current) resurgence (of COVID-19 cases).”
Medina noted that on average Lima and Callao reach 41% prevalence. However, he pointed out that there are districts where the prevalence reaches almost 55%, mainly in those of lower economic level. In the more affluent districts the prevalence level reaches 12% according to Medina.
He also indicated that the areas of middle class to upper middle class are the most susceptible to a scenario of resurgence of the pandemic.
“When we analyze the data from Sinadef (National Computer System of Deaths), the mesocratic districts, more affluent in Lima, are the ones that are currently sustaining the excess mortality. The whole first wave seems to have affected the middle and lower class population,” he said.
No ICU Beds in Piura Region
January 5 – According to the National Health Superintendence (Susalud), hospitals in the Piura region have been without beds in intensive care units (ICU) for a week due to the second wave of COVID-19.
According to Susalud, as of December 22, Piura had 76 ICU beds available only for COVID-19: 37 in the José Cayetano Heredia Hospital (Essalud), 17 in the Santa Rosa Hospital, 11 in the Sullana Hospital; both in the Minsa; and five in the Private Hospital of Peru, three in the Auna Miraflores Clinic, and three in the Sanna Belén Clinic. Only one was free at the Santa Rosa hospital.
As of January 4, there are none free, even though the supply has increased to 80. All the beds in the hospitals of Sullana, Santa Rosa, José Cayetano Heredia, the temporary centers of La Videnita and the Campeones del 36 stadium, as well as in the private clinics are occupied.
This was confirmed by the head of the COVID-19 service of the Sullana hospital, Jhon Ortiz Peña, who also manages the Nuestra Señora de Fátima temporary center, set up in the Champions of 36 stadium.
“UCI beds, as in the whole region, have not been available for a week. We have between four and five patients waiting for an ICU bed per day, and some are not enough,” he told RPP News.
He specified that in the Stadium the 12 ICU beds are occupied, but a percentage of the 22 hospitalization beds for severe and moderate patients, and of the 100 for mild patients, are kept free.
Ortiz Peña indicated that they expect the Ministry of Health to fulfill its promise to provide 10 additional ICU beds for that province, as announced by the special team of the Ministry of Health (Minsa), headed by doctor Luis Rodríguez Benavides.
“No equipment has been delivered yet, we are waiting because we called and did not get an answer,” he added, indicating that the ICUs in Sullana receive patients from Sullana, Talara, Paita and Ayabaca.
The official also addressed the population, and recommended that they are not treating patients who require specialized care at home. “Take patients early, not when it is serious. It is happening that they are self-medicating, dealing with doctors who do not know Minsa’s treatment, so the patient gets worse,” he stressed.
He said that many patients are losing the battle, since not only are there no ICU beds available, but also no medication, and family members accuse health professionals of poor care. “They tell us that the patient walks in, but they don’t say that they are taking him seriously,” he points out.
The president of the medical corps of Apoyo II Hospital in Sullana, Patricia Montoya, said that the hospitalization and ICU areas of this health facility are also occupied.
“We are also full of patients. We have IGG patients and some IGM patients that we are operating and sending to the stadium. We are full, everyone says there is no second wave, but as doctors we see the reality,” he said.
For this reason, he called on the population not to relax the prevention measures because the limitations continue to be placed on patient care.
“My request is the same as always: the population must take care of itself. Many of us are tired of taking care of irresponsible people who do with their lives what they want and expose others and us,” he said.
Andina News is also reporting that all ICU beds are currently occupied in the Chimbote hospital.
Quarantine Starts Today for All International Arrivals; No Word on Extension of European Flight Ban
January 4 – As of today all persons arriving in Peru, both Peruvians and foreigners, will have to undergo the mandatory quarantine for a period of 14 calendar days.
Supreme Decree No. 207-2020-PCM provided that Peruvians and foreigners will carry out this quarantine at their home, in the Pan American Village or other temporary isolation center, or in a lodging, prior coordination with the health authority.
Until yesterday, Sunday, January 3, national and foreign citizens entering Peru from countries where new variants of the SARS-CoV-2 virus have been identified, were tested for antigen on the same day they arrived in the country to rule out covid-19.
Those coming from a different destination will be randomly tested for antigen. If the test result was positive, they were placed in mandatory isolation for 14 days in the aforementioned Pan American Village or other temporary isolation center.
Within the recitals, the countries where new variants of SARS-CoV-2 virus have been identified are detailed, such as United Kingdom, Northern Ireland, Belgium, Italy, Finland, Germany, Denmark, Spain, Japan, United States, Chile, among others.
The 15-day prohibition on flights from Europe is scheduled to end tomorrow and nothing has been mentioned from the government about any extension. [Don’t be surprised if something is announced today.]
The dean of the Medical College, Miguel Palacios, favors the flight restriction measures given Peru’s poor epidemiological surveillance, human resource gap, lack of molecular testing and limited genome sequencing.
“The claim made by tourism entrepreneurs is right, but within the framework of our sanitary poverty these measures are necessary,” said Palacios Celi. “And with regard to the mandatory quarantine, he said that the option of home quarantine should be evaluated because it is very likely that people will not respect and leave their homes and spread the virus.”
Mandatory Quarantine for Arriving International Visitors
January 1 – People entering Peru from any country of origin must now comply with a mandatory quarantine for 14 days starting Monday, January 4, 2021, in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
“As of January 4, 2021, the mandatory quarantine for a period of 14 calendar days, counted from the arrival to the national territory, for all Peruvians, foreign residents in Peru and foreign visitors who enter the national territory by international transportation, regardless of the country of origin,” according to Supreme Decree Nº 207-2020-PCM.
In addition, the supreme decree indicates that Peruvians, foreign residents, and visitors will carry out the quarantine at their home, in the Pan American Village or other temporary isolation center, or in a lodging with prior coordination with the health authorities.
The Decree also ordered that persons entering the country between January 1 and 3, 2021, from countries where new variants of the SARS-CoV-2 virus have been identified, such as the United Kingdom and South Africa, will be given the antigen test for the elimination of COVID-19 on the same day they arrive in Peru.
Those coming from a different destination will be tested for the antigen at random.
Cusco COVID Cases See a Sharp Rise
December 29 – La Republica is reporting a very worrying rise in COVID cases in Cusco.
The former head of the COVID-19 Regional Command, Pablo Grajeda, said that last week’s figures saw a 75% increase in positive cases, from 960 to 1680 in seven days.
Also, they report that the positivity rate of the molecular tests registered by the Regional Health Directorate (Diresa) reached 32% over two consecutive weeks. “This already shows that we are facing a major upsurge that requires more intense action in terms of prevention and control by both citizens and Diresa,” said Grajeda.
Grajeda also noted that the occupancy rate of ICU beds is almost 80%. Of the 23 ICU beds in the entire imperial region, 18 are occupied, according to Diresa’s report yesterday. While of the 312 beds for moderate patients in the region’s large hospitals, 82 are occupied. There are currently 137 hospitalized patients.
Regional Health Director Juan Spelucin said that more ICU beds must be equipped and implemented now to deal with an eventual second wave of the pandemic. Grajeda said that “the implementation of ICU beds would have to reach at least 50.
Both Diresa and EsSalud are working to respond to a second wave in Cusco. Spelucín said days ago that prevention work is being strengthened, as well as early detection of COVID-19 and coordination with communities to prevent the virus from reaching those places. One of the measures is the delivery of pulse oximeters to detect cases before patients develop serious symptoms and require hospitalization.
In order to refine these actions, the results of the seroprevalence study prepared by Diresa are awaited, which will make it possible to know where and in which population group is at greatest risk of infection.
EsSalud is waiting for the approval of the national management of the budget to rent a private clinic for non COVID-19 patients, so that the entire hospital will be used to provide better care to COVID-19 patients coming from other regions of the south.
Hospital director Adolfo Guevara Velasco, Ruben Nieto, said they are now better prepared for a new outbreak. “We have ICU beds, for moderate patients, a medical oxygen supply system for each bed. We are in better condition than when the first wave occurred,” he explained.
In both the Regional Health Directorate (Diresa) and EsSalud, the problem continues to be the lack of sufficient medical and care personnel to attend to patients infected with COVID-19.
Spelucín hopes that the Ministry of Economy and Finance (MEF) will approve an allocation to guarantee the hiring of personnel when more medical and care personnel are needed.
The director of the EsSalud hospital, Rubén Nieto, said that he already has the green light from management so that when there is a resurgence, up to 300 servers will be hired. “We will be able to hire staff when necessary. That’s an advance, but we also need to rent a clinic.
New COVID Restrictions Announced
Late last night Minister of Health Pilar Mazzetti announced new restrictions intended to reduce the spread of COVID in the coming days.
She said that, in order to prevent the advance of COVID-19 infections in Lima and the northern coastal regions of the country, the government decided to reduce the capacity of commercial centers and conglomerates, close the use of beaches and extend the curfew.
“The measures taken will be in force from December 22nd to January 4th,” said Mazzetti, who explained that the maximum capacity allowed in the centers and commercial conglomerates will be 40% in the regions of Tumbes, Piura, Lambayeque, La Libertad, Lima Provinces, Metropolitan Lima, Callao and the province of Santa (Ancash).
In the case of the beaches, in the same period described, it will only be allowed to use them for the practice of individual or couple sports. “We have to avoid the consumption of food, liquor and crowds on the beaches during the next holidays,” explained the Minister of Health.
Regarding the curfew, it was indicated that in the province of El Santa, La Libertad, Lambayeque, Piura and Tumbes, the curfew will be in effect from 10 pm to 4 am.
In Lima Provinces, Metropolitan Lima and Callao, the immobilization will be from 11 pm until 4 am.
The control of the northern border will also be reinforced to detect cases of COVID-19.
Minister Mazzetti indicated that these measures have been taken based on the monitoring of the pandemic taking into account several indicators, including the occupation of hospital beds, the occupation of COVID-19 beds and mortality.
The minister said that the government could take similar restrictions in other regions of the country if there is an upward trend in the pandemic. “We must all work together, take care of ourselves and protect our elderly. It depends on our behavior. Let’s maintain physical distance, correct mask use and constant hand hygiene,” she insisted.
Flights from Europe Suspended for Two Weeks
President Francisco Sagasti announced this morning that some specific measures will be taken due to the new COVID-19 variant detected in the United Kingdom including the suspension of flights from Europe for two weeks.
“Non-resident aliens who have been in the United Kingdom in the last two weeks are prohibited from entering. Peruvian citizens or foreign residents who are in the country and have visited the United Kingdom in the last two weeks must make a 14-day quarantine, suspend the entry of flights from Europe for the next two weeks, and declare the epidemiological surveillance system in a state of maximum alert,” he announced.
These measures complement the ban on flights from the United Kingdom, which was announced yesterday by the Ministry of Transport.
Sagasti clarified that no flights from the United Kingdom have entered the country, despite the fact that this country was already among the destinations allowed for international travel.
He indicated that passengers arriving from the United Kingdom on connecting flights are being monitored by the Ministry of Health.
No Flights from the UK to Peru; Others to be Looked At
In it’s Twitter account, the Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MTC) announced that “as a preventive measure, we will not authorize direct flights or flights with a stopover in the United Kingdom until further notice.”
The MTC put out the following press release early last night on the subject:
In this sense, and in view of the announcement of the existence of a new strain of coronavirus in the United Kingdom, this situation has been monitored by the Ministry of Health with the health authorities of other countries, in order to take the necessary and timely actions.
It is important to point out that so far no flight has arrived from London (United Kingdom). Nor have any flights been scheduled from London to Lima or from Lima to that city in the coming days.
Our country strictly complies with the sanitary protocols and, as part of this, requested the negative molecular test for passengers arriving from three European destinations (Madrid, Barcelona and Amsterdam). We will continue to do so in order to take care of the health of our passengers and our nation.
The Ministry of Health also released a press release later in the evening:
The Ministry of Health (Minsa) has been receiving and analyzing information about the SARS-CoV2 coronavirus mutation registered in the United Kingdom and tomorrow, in the Council of Ministers, the need to take additional prevention measures to those already in place will be evaluated, informed Minister Pilar Mazzetti Soler.
The Minister of Health explained that the coronaviruses are constantly mutating, so the level of variation that the coronavirus of the COVID-19 has suffered and the danger that it implies are being studied. Meanwhile, she considered that preventive measures should be evaluated.
According to specialists from the INS, there is still no convincing scientific evidence that associates this variant with a pattern of high infectivity, virulence or vaccine efficacy. The INS has analyzed the available Peruvian and South American genomic sequences, not having identified the presence of the variant described in the United Kingdom. The INS in coordination with the National Network of Genomic Research will continue with the genomic surveillance of SARS-CoV-2 for the search of this variant or others, and to take adequate prevention and control measures.
“Tomorrow in the Council of Ministers we are going to carry out an analysis and see if we can take additional measures in relation to flights, in relation to an increase in prevention measures, particularly at the time we are living near Christmas and the New Year,” Mazzetti explained.
“On the other hand, the citizens have to maintain the prevention measures. We have to take care of ourselves and protect our elderly. That in our decisions the conservation of health prevails,” he emphasized.
The head of the Minsa said that Peru is part of a network of genetic studies in Latin America with which it is closely following the events that are occurring in Europe.
It’s posible that there will be additional measures that affect fights from other countries announced after the Council of Ministers meets today.
MINSA Reports That International Flights Not Increasing COVID in Peru
Saturday (December 19) – The resumption of international flights did not lead to an increase in COVID-19 cases in Peru, according to the follow-up report prepared by the National Center for Epidemiology, Prevention and Disease Control (CDC) of the Ministry of Health (Minsa).
From October 5, when international flights resumed, through December 9, a total of 121,455 travelers were arrived in the country with only three having confirmed cases of COVID-19
Of the total number of travelers, 77,531 were followed up by telephone, with three confirmed cases of Peruvian nationality, two from Brazil and one from Italy, representing 0.0038% of the total number of people monitored.
“The percentage of positive cases identified in the monitoring of travelers from international flights arriving in the country continues to be well below the national attack rate,” according to the report.
On average, 600 affidavits from travelers per day are being recorded, with ranges from 148 to 2,683 affidavits per day.
Suspension of Protests, Reoperation of PeruRail, and Reopening of Machu Picchu
Friday (December 18) – Machu Picchu – The Machu Picchu Struggle Committee has agreed to suspend their protests until January 12 when they call for a regional strike, but reconfirmed their desire to see an increase in the frequency of train schedules from the rail companies.
Both PeruRail and Inca Rail have removed the suspension notices from their websites and regular train service is expected to resume tomorrow.
Also, the Dirección Desconcentrada de Cultura de Cusco announced this morning that Machu Picchu will once again be open to visitors starting tomorrow.
PeruRail Service Remains Suspended After Meeting
Friday (December 18) – Machu Picchu – Yesterday’s meeting between representatives of the government at both the the national, regional, and local levels and the two rail companies servicing Machu Picchu ended with no agreement after locals rejected the proposals made by PeruRail regarding local train tickets.
PeruRail released the following statement late last night announcing that rail service will remain suspended.
PeruRail regrets that the proposal presented at the third dialogue table in Machu Picchu has been rejected by the local authority and social leaders, thus maintaining it´s paralysis and affecting the reactivation of tourism.PeruRail, December 17, 2020
PeruRail offered the rate of S/. 60 soles for Peruvians and residents of Perú, in all it´s PeruRail Expedition tourist train frequencies until April 30, 2021, as part of the reactivation of national tourism.
In addition, it ratified its commitment to continue offering the local train service to the population with rates of S/. 3 and S/. 5 soles for local habitants and S/. 12 soles for the passenger of Cusco and national tourism in general, according to the availability of the service.
However, the proposal presented was rejected during the meeting. We regret the intransigence of some residents of Machupicchu, the confrontational attitude of some local authorities and that political interests have been privileged before the reactivation of the sector and the well-being of the workers involved in tourism.
PeruRail regrets that the social leaders and local authorities prevent in this way the resumption of the operation of the tourist and local trains, in addition to the provision of social services for the community with cargo and luggage services, as well as the transport of goods and solid waste.
Inca Rail has the following notice posted on their website this morning:
We regret to inform you that, as a preventive measure, from 18 to 21 of the present, train services are suspended due to the strike and the demonstrations that have taken place in Machu Picchu Pueblo. Our services will be reestablished as soon as we receive the indications of the concessionaire.Inca Rail Commercial Team
The reason for these measures is because we do not have the guarantees to safeguard the safety of our passengers and our collaborators.
As always, our team is at your disposal to carry out all the modifications and relocations that you require without any cost or in case you request it, we will proceed with the return of 100%.
For further information and assistance contact us through our headquarters at +51 084 581860 and at our offices.
We hope that this situation will improve soon. Any modification in our actions, you will be informed as soon as possible.
Requests for better conditions and more frequent schedules apparently were not a part of PeruRail’s proposed solutions and was apparently the reason for the local population’s rejection of the rail company’s offer.
Here are current one way rail price offerings as reported this morning in La Republica:
|PERURAIL EXPEDITION TRAIN FARES|
(Ollantaytambo to Machu Picchu)
|Regular price||between US $50 and $77|
|Promotional Price||between US $23 and $53|
|PERURAIL VISTADOME TRAIN FARES|
(Ollantaytambo to Machu Picchu)
|Regular Price||between US $68 and $77|
|Promotional Price||between US $27 and $58|
|Promotional Price for Cusco residents||from US $12.50|
|PERURAIL LOCAL TRAIN|
|Passengers living between Ollantaytambo and Machu Picchu||3 soles|
|Passengers living in Aguas Calientes and Ollantaytambo||5 soles|
|Aguas Calientes residents||5 soles|
|National tourists to hidroelectrica||12 soles|
|National tourists to Machu Picchu||5 soles|
|Regular Price||between US $28 and $75|
|Promotional Price||between US $26 and $36|
There was a report last night that Machupicchu Pueblo (Aguas Calientes) will seek to promote access to Machu Picchu itself by way of the hidroeléctrica route. This, however, is much more challenging as it involves a lengthy road route followed by a 2-3 hour hike along the train tracks made even more difficult as the rainy season is now underway.
Mid-December COVID Data Analysis
Thursday (December 17) – As Peru reaches nine months since the global pandemic began to affect and data for the first half of month has been reported, there are some interesting trends worth noting.
The most notable trend is that the 7-day rolling average of positivity rates in testing has shown a steady increase over the past week.
The positivity rate shows the percentage of tests that are positive for COVID-19 infection. Think of it like throwing a net into a lake. If 5% of the fish hauled in are trout, then it’s a safe bet that there are few trout in the lake. But if you find on each cast in a separate lake brings in 30% trout, then you can bet that there are considerably more trout in the second lake.
By looking at the average of the previous days, you are able to smooth out the one day highs and lows and get a clearly picture of any trends. The trend shown in the graph below is clear.
Unfortunately, for Peru, the trend right now is not a good. Though yesterday saw a significant one-day drop in positivity (10.6%) despite increased testing, the trend has been steadily rising. While it is nowhere near the terrible rates we saw during the winter, it is still an area of concern — especially with the holiday season just a few days away.
Another concerning trend is the increase in daily deaths reported over the past month. After three months of decreasing death rates, December has so far seen an average increase of about 10% a day over November.
|MONTH||AVG. DAILY DEATHS|
Another area of concern are the number of patients currently under ICU care for COVID-19. After months of decreasing hospitalizations, the number of people in ICU units has seen a significant increase in the first half of December though actual hospitalizations have continued to decrease. (The table below shows the number of patients on the last day of the reporting period.)
We won’t know much about the effects of the coming holidays until around mid-January. Let’s hope common sense prevails and people continue to keep family and social gatherings to a minimum along with wearing masks and social distancing in public.
New COVID Restrictions for Peru
Wednesday (December 16) – President Sagasti just concluded a press conference.
He opened by noting that the government went through 51 different government ministers in November which has had a “big” effect on the government’s ability to operate efficiently.
“Probably very few people trust the government,” he said. “What we do want to do is make a difference and try to restore trust to all citizens.”
Prime Minister Violeta Bermudez addressed the nation saying that “achieving the vaccination of the entire population is our priority.”
She also mentioned that a working group has already been established to look into the reopening of normal school classrooms in 2021.
She then said that the Ministry of Health has been intensively monitoring the COVID situation.
She then announced that December 24 will be a non-working day in which workers will still be paid.
Also, the use of private vehicles will be restricted on December 24-25 and December 31-January 1.
Next the Minister of the Economy and Finance Waldo Mendoza said that the economy is improving faster than expected. He also said that the government will continue to encourage foreign investment.
President Sagasti then discussed the negotiations that Peru is currently undergoing with various companies productions COVID vaccines.
He then added that “There are campaigns that are beginning to sow doubts. Vaccines are safe. They are being tested like never before in history.”
Machu Picchu, Rail Talks to Resume Tomorrow
Wednesday (December 16) – Diario Correo is reporting that there will be a meeting in Aguas Calientes (Machupicchu Pueblo) tomorrow between representatives of the regional government, the Ministries of Transportation and Foreign Trade/Tourism, representatives from the local population which is currently protesting the policies of PeruRail and IncaRail, along with representatives from the two rail companies.
This was confirmed by Óscar Valencia, president of the Frente Único de Defensa de los Interesas de Machu Picchu, who indicated that they recently received a communication from Lima, requesting a meeting with the residents and authorities of Machu Picchu this Thursday.
Machu Picchu itself will continue to be closed at least through tomorrow morning and access the Aguas Calientes is also closed with only relevant representatives being allowed into the village for tomorrow’s meeting.
“”We hope that they come with clear solutions and positions. We already reiterate that we will not back down in the requests for more frequency and better treatment of the national tourist in the train service. If they come out with other things the people are determined to radicalize the protest measure,” said Valencia.
You can read Monday’s report including an explanation of the complaints involved here:
Machu Picchu Closed; Train Service Suspended
Some dishonest tour agencies in Cusco continue to sell packages to Machu Picchu leading some tourists to be turned away. If you are offered a our package to Machu Picchu right now, do not accept until the site is confirmed to open for tourists.
Machu Picchu Closed; Train Service Suspended
December 14 (Machu Picchu) – As of this morning (Monday) Machu Picchu is closed to visitors, all train service is suspended, and there is no access to Aguas Calientes (Machupicchu Pueblo).
Protests began in late November, but resentment towards to the train companies has been simmering for years. For a short time on November 24 train service in an out of Aguas Calientes was shut down before negotiations indicated that the companies would work to provide a solution.
Protesters are demanding better access for local people including more stops along the route as well as increased frequency of train schedules.
They also are calling for reduced fares for domestic and national tourists whose access to the local train is seriously limited requiring them to pay much higher fares on the tourist trains which was not necessary in the past. They claim that this has resulted in limited people visiting the site as they seek to revive tourism after months of shut down.
On December 11 the Regional Government of Cusco, after a meeting attempting to find a solution because the rail companies had ignored any of the demands of the local people, gave them five days to present some kind of settlement proposal in full support of the population.
Last night Noticias Cusco reported that PeruRail manager Alberto Valdez called the strike unjustified and said that protesters do not understand the social work their company is doing. He argued that they can no longer subsidize the local train and sued the State to take care of the allowance so that it could meet the demands of the local villagers.
Cusco Post reported that the “Ollantaytambo District Fight Committee” will conduct a “preventative and peaceful strike” against the rail companies’ failure to solve claims by the local population. They indicate that if there is no solution by December 17 (Thursday), “measures will be radicalized and an indefinite strike will be launched by the entire district population.”
Yesterday it was also reported that protesters had blocked off travel to Aguas Calientes by way of the 3-hour hike along the train tracks from Santa Teresa. This has effectively cut off Machupicchu Pueblo from the outside world.
Shortages of food and supplies are being reported with people conducting community meal preparation in the town’s main plaza in attempt to make food last.
Those with tickets to Machu Picchu are allowed to reschedule their trip by emailing email@example.com.