Cities face crises; Vendors ignore lockdown, flock back to closed markets; Covid tests for $14; Lojanos back from Argentina; Assembly debate

Apr 29, 2020 | 12 comments

Martes, 28/4/2020

Hola, Todos –

Actividades –

De la pagina cultural –
Alianza Francesa – The Alianza Francesa has complete concerts on its YouTube site with pop, jazz, electronic, rap and reggae performances. Go to

Cine – “We Are One: A Global Film Festival” will be on YouTube from 27/5 to 7/6. The films will be selected from prestigious international film festivals.

Otras cosas –

Titular – Alcaldes en la encrucijada (Mayors at the crossroads) – Mayors are facing delayed budget allocations, lack of actual information about the evolution of the virus in their cantons, doubts about transit and health service coordination with other cities, and this week they need to decide if their jurisdictions are going to lift confinement. The central government is almost $400 million in arrears in transferring funds to muncipalities.

Cuenca Mayor Palacios said he will not take a position on which traffic light color Cuenca will be until he gets some clearer data although he said Saturday that he prefers to maintain all health restrictions. The president of the Asociación de Municipalidades del Ecuador (AME) said it needs to be clear that health, education and food will be the purview of the Gobierno and not of the cities. He also asked for coordination between the Government and the provinces for decisions made by two or more cantons. For example, if one city is red and an adjoining one green – how to guarantee mobility and medical attention.

Loja residents stranded for weeks in Argentina return home after quarantine.

Luis Tamayo, the medical director of the clinica Santa Inés said that decisions not taken by authorities will wind up being made by the people based on their need for income. This is why, even if the city stays at red, streets will fill with people and traffic and businesses will start reopening. He reported that just at Santa Inés, 300 more cases were identified in the last 10 days and for that reason he recommended an orderly return to regular activity and an increase in testing to quarantine patients and slow infections.

“Pruebas de Vida” – The Cámara de Industrias, Producción y Empleo (CIPEM) and the U. de Cuenca are coordinating a massive coronavirus testing project in Cuenca. They hope to start with 40,000 tests at the rate of 5,000 per day. The types of tests are PCR, costing $35, and rapid costing about $14. The project will rely on donations that can be made at The funds will be administered by an escrow, “Por Cuenca” and audited by the Universidad Politécnica Salesiana.

Front line infections – Over the weekend, health authorities reported that an IESS paramedic and a traffic cop were infected, both on their off days, and that their co-workers were not infected. At a provincial level, 2 firefighters, 5 police officers, 2 soldiers and 8 doctors at the “Vicente Corral Moscoso” hospital have been infected while at work.

Ozone generator – Electrical engineer Israel Calle has built an artificial ozone generating turbine to help control the coronavirus. According to the WHO, ozone is one of the most effective disinfectants against all sorts of microorganisms including viruses. One of the main advantages of this type of generator is its cost which is around $75-80. It uses recycled material. <All you electrical geniuses can start taking apart your vacuum cleaners and bathroom heaters now.> Ingeniero Calle said that the machine generates an electrical arc which produces ozone. The ozone is practically odorless, generally colorless, does not leave a chemical residue and has no consequences on human health at the quantities needed for sanitizing things. Leaving it in a 30 sq. meter room for 15 min. will disinfect the whole room and its contents. It can also be used in open spaces and on ambulances. The first trials were on ambulances and fire department vehicles in Biblián in Cañar. <Coming soon to the Coral and Kywi? With big tags warning you not to cover them or get them too close to combustible materials.>

Rapid tests around El Arenal – The city finished its second round of tests in the El Arenal sector yesterday. 1,200 tests are planned in 6 rounds. The first round had 244 tests with a result of 37 positives. Positive cases are reported to the Ministerio de Salud Pública. At the Mujer y el Niño municipal hospital, tests on personnel of the Guardia Ciudadana started yesterday.

Sales near closed mercados continues – Even though the city has closed El Arenal and the plataforma de Narancay, merchants were setting up on sidewalks and other public spaces in the neighborhoods near El Arenal, causing malestar (discomfort) to the neighbors. <An example of people making decisions prompted by the thickness of their wallets.> The Guardia Ciudadana sent 45 officers in an operation to keep merchants from occupying unauthorized areas, and EMOV succeeded in removing the big trucks full of produce from no parking zones. Municipal police also went to the area around the plataforma de Narancay and was able to remove dozens of vendors. One wholesaler said that it’s urgent that the city assign a space for wholesalers. She said that without these distribution centers, the city could run out of food, much of which come from coastal provinces.

Plan against risks of digital platforms – The Consejo de Segurida Ciudadana (Citizen Security Council) is rolling out a “Conciencia Virtual” (Virtual Consciousness) campaign to promote good use of technology. It is about the benefits and risks of the internet and the many digital platforms. It warned that excessive use of the internet could affect health and trigger symptoms such as muscle pain, social isolation, and falling into depression from creating a false reality. <Yup, yup and huh?. I guess that false identity stuff is all of you who don’t use your real names on line. I don’t think I blame you since there’s a level of viciousness on line that would be 911 incidents on the street.> 150 families were the first to participate in an informational talk.

Lojanos return home – 19 people from Loja finished their quarantines and got home to Loja. They were a part of a Humanitarian Corridor involving 9 public agencies which returned at least 100 people to their homes in Guayaquil, Manta, Lago Agrio, Macas, Puyo, Esmeraldas, Riobamba, Santo Domingo, El Oro and Loja after a quarantine in Quito. The lojanos started in Argentina. <Not clear if the others started there as well.>

Church reopenings – The Consejo de Presidencia y Obispos de la Conferencia Episcopal del Ecuador met with María Paula Romo, ministra de Gobierno to talk about reopening churches. A committee will be formed to design the protocols for a progressive reopening depending on the situation in each city and sector. <What would a safe communion be? I can see a virtual communion where you could drink the whole bottle of wine from the privacy of your home. Might get you through a boring sermon.>

Voting – The presidential and legislative elections on 7/2/2021 do not have any precedents. The CNE is considering a telematic vote with voters registering on-line with blockchain <whatever that is> technology and strict security standards. <Well, they have less than 9 months to get it all together. At least the government is considering something besides having us stand in crowds and lines waiting to vote.>

Entidades inservibles – 2 ex-assemblymen asked Pres. Moreno to eliminate about 50 public entidades inservibles (useless entities – your words for the day, especially inservible) that were created during Correa’s government.

Sentencing in “Sobornos 2012-2016” case – The Corte Nacional de Justicia announced a sentence of 8 years in prison and a 25 year disqualification from politics for ex-pres. Rafael Correa for bribery. <Sounds like coming back as a VP candidate is off the table now.> 18 others were sentenced to 8 years in prison from aggravated bribery. Those convicted also had to pay $14,745,297. Two others were sentence to 38 months and 12 days and 19 months and 6 days for cooperating.

Ley Humanitaria – La Comisión de Desarrollo Económico (Economic Development Commission) and the Asamblea Nacional finished their analysis yesterday for the new law which the government will use to collect funds for confronting the health emergency. Workers making over $720, the amount equivalent to the canasta básica (basic basket of goods and services) will contribute percentages of their income. From $720-$1000 it will be 1%, from $1001-$1500 it will be 2%, and up to a maximum of 12% for those earning over $7001. It will be absolutely prohibited to use the money collected for payment of external debt.

And that’s all for today so Hasta ? –



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