Another airline adds Cuenca flights; Electric scooters, bikes to be regulated; New Galapagos entry rules; Last Loja giraffe dies; Ex-Bolivian prez tries suicide

Aug 22, 2021 | 18 comments

Less than two weeks after Avianca Airlines announced it was adding flights between Cuenca and Quito, Galapagos Airways said it will do the same, beginning sometime in October or early November. Galapagos Air also has an application pending for the Cuenca-Guayaquil route. In its press release, the airlines said it will offer one flight a day, Monday through Sunday, adding that it is considering a once-a-week non-stop flight to the Galapagos from Cuenca but said the timing depends on increased tourist demand.

Operators of electric scooters and bicycles will soon be regulated in Cuenca.

Galapagos Air will use Boeing B-737  and Embraer EMB190 aircraft for its Cuenca flights.

In addition to Avianca and Galapgaos, Ecuatoriana Airlines plans to begin Cuenca-Quito service by the end of the year.

Electric scooters and bikes to be regulated
Cuenca’s Municipal Council has six months to develop regulations for electric scooters and bicycles and other small motorized forms of transportation. The regulations are required by changes to the Traffic and Road Safety Law enacted in June by the National Assembly.

According to its sponsors, regulation is needed due to the rapid increase in the number of small electrified vehicles on the country’s streets and sidewalks and the danger they pose to operators, pedestrians and drivers of heavier vehicles. “Some of these conveyances can reach speeds of 60 km/h and there have been an increasing number of accidents, particularly involving pedestrians on sidewalks,” sponsors said in their comments. They say that regulations should be enacted at a local level based on local experience but mandate that helmets be required for all operators.

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New Galapagos entry requirement
Following the detection of three cases of the Covid-19 delta variant in the Galapagos Islands, the national Emergency Operations Committee has imposed new entry rules. Beginning Friday, August 27, all travelers arriving at the Baltra and San Cristobal airports must present a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours as well as proof of vaccination received at least 14 days prior. Currently, those entering the islands can show either proof of vaccination or the negative PCR test. The three tourists who tested positive for delta last week have been isolated and are said to be suffering mild symptoms.

Last giraffe in Loja dies
Another giraffe at the Loja Zoo died on Thursday. The municipal zoo confirmed the death, the fourth in 12 years and the second in a month, saying it did not plan to add more giraffes to its collection.

The zoo, officially the Wildlife Conservation Center, said it communicated with U.S. zoo experts in an attempt to save the male giraffe without success. “It is our painful duty to report the passing of the giraffe which, unfortunately, was unable to acclimate to local weather conditions,” the zoo’s veterinarian said in a statement.

Former Bolivian president attempts suicide
Former Bolivian President Jeanine Anez was treated at an El Alto hospital on Thursday following what officials say was a suicide attempt. Anez was detained earlier this year over accusations that she participated in a coup to oust longtime leader Evo Morales in 2019. She denies the allegations and says she is a victim of political persecution. She is being held in jail while she awaits trial.

In addition to cutting her wrists Wednesday, doctors say Anez underwent a thorax exam and is suffering from hypertension. She has since returned to the jail. One of the attorneys who represents her, Norka Cuellar, told journalists the former leader’s condition was “serious,” without elaborating.

Bolivia is now governed by socialist President Luis Arce, a member of Morales’ party.

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