City buses reduce service, demand fare hike; Cuenca’s first Megamaxi to open in 2023; Azuay vaccine rate reaches 85%; Ecuador to accept Afghan refugees
Hola, Todos –
Recorte afecta a los becarios (Cut affects scholarship recipients) – There are over 13,000 scholarship recipients in the Austro, some are students with limited means, and others with high academic achievements. Last lunes, 8 private universities, including UPS (Universidad Politécnica Salesiana) and UDA (Universidad del Azuay) announced cuts in their scholarship programs.
Una sola dosis para niños está en análisis (A single dose for children is under analysis.) – Vaccinations for children between 12 & 15 will start next month, between el 8 or 13/9, and last about a month. The Ministerio de Salud Pública (MSP) talked about the possibility of vacccinating this age group with just one dose of Pfizer. That has set off a high level of debate on social networks. <And if it’s like gringo networks, don’t believe anything you read.> Epidemiologist Andrea Gómez Ayora thought it would be better to wait for more solid scientific evidence before deciding on 1 or 2 doses for children. She also suggested testing other vacines to discard risks for this group since there has been a secondary effect of myocardial inflation, although there have been few cases. She said that after effects with this vaccine on children have been few and the benefits outweigh the risks.
Fausto Idrovo, Zone 6 coordinator, said that studies on Pfizer showed one dose is sufficient in children and teens who have a better response and have better immunity to start with. They also suffer fewer comorbidities of importance – a difference from adults. <Except for maybe childhood obesity?> Idrovo said that studies suggest vaccinating children as young as 3, but things can change as new scientific evidence comes in. <Will Covid shots join those given at birth? Or once the child is weaned?>
Idrovo reported that vaccinations are proceeding well. First doses exceed 85% in Azuay, 70% in Cañar, and 60% in Morona Santiago. Complete vaccinations are at 60% in Azuay, 53% in Cañar, and 41% in Morona Santiago. In the city of Cuenca, 86% of the eligible population has received at least one dose while 71% have received two. <Azuay is doing better than 43 states in the US, so to be safe, stay in Cuenca until the US catches up – if it ever does.>
Nuevos centros de inoculación para vacunas CanSino (New inoculation centers for CanSino vaccines) – On martes, one dose CanSino vaccines started being given in Zone 6. At first, this vaccine will be only for the farthest locations, but it has also redefined the government strategy to contain the delta variant. The vaccine is indicated for people from 18-60 who have not been vaccinated or were sick during the last 6 months and not vaccinated. CanSino is available at the Coliseo Bientenario de la UDA (av. Ricardo Durán, behind the Colegio Borja), the Poliforo de la U. Católica de Cuenca (av. De las Américas), Colegio María Auxiliadora (Salesianas), UPS, Unidad Educativa César Dávila Andrade y Unidad Educativa del Milenio Sayausí.
Insisten en incremento de pasajes (Insistence on fare increase) – The Cámara de Transporte de Cuenca (CTC) started parking buses around the city. Manolo Solís, the president of the CTC, said that they don’t have the resources to continue operations and asked the Concejo Cantonal de Cuenca to revise the fare to 45 cents which is the value determined by a diagnosis by the CTC. He cited the $60 million in debt to banks for new buses, reduction in capacity, and the constant increase in diesel prices as unrecoverable expenses. The city is currently conducting a fare study, but is not contemplating an increase to $.45 at this time. EMOV EP (Empresa de Movilidad) started sending notifications for sanctions for the buses which are grouped in various sectors.
Ya no hay reducción de puntos (No point reduction anymore) – Reforms to the Ley Orgánica de Tránsito,Transporte Terrestre y Seguridad Vial (LOTTTSV), which has been in effect since 10/8, included eliminating taking points off your driver’s license for at least 75 infractions. There are still fines based on the Salario Básico Unificado (SBU), currently at $400. For example, there is a fine of $160 for drivers who do not obey transit agents’ orders or disrespect traffic lights, stop signs, yield signs, crossings, and more. <And if you don’t know Spanish and break the law – no excuse – you shouldn’t be driving.> There is a 15% fine ($60) for taxi drivers who don’t use the meter 24 hours, alter it, or locate it where the passenger can’t see it. The same fine applies to not having seat belts and not asking passengers to buckle up although only the driver pays the fine. <And if you, as a passenger, didn’t belt up, do you think you’d ever get a ride from that ex-friend again?> A $40 fine applies to phoning while driving and not using a hands free phone, and driving without having your license with you. Throwing litter out of your car window will cost you $20.
<The following quote is your culture lesson for the day.> Juan Alvarado, a lawyer and researcher into accident prevention, said that infractions from the 3d to 7th class are not sanctioned with a reduction in points any more. “This is a law without punishment and bets on prevention…the legislation does not serve to punish, but to guide, educate and to prevent accidents.” <A different approach from – “He threw trash out the window? Throw the book at him.”>
Ecuador recibirá afganos (Ecuador will receive Afghans) – Ecuador will be one of the 70 countries that have signed an agreement with the US to receive Afghans. Pres. Lasso said that this humanitarian assistance is temporary with the cost to be assumed by the US Government. Priority will be given to women, children and vulnerable populations. Petitions for refugee status will be channeled through Ecuadorian consulates, and the Afghans will stay until they can be definitely tranferred to the US. <Do you think that those transfers will happen before the kids who are now first graders graduate from college? I hope some people stay here and open up restaurants. I miss Afghan food.>
Ecuador y México buscan fortalecer comercio bilateral (Ecuador and Mexico seek to strengthen bilateral trade) – With the bicentennial of Méxican independence as the backdrop, Presidents Lasso and AMLO (Andrés Manuel López Obrador <makes him sound like half of a rock star couple>) met to reinforce diplomatic relations that started in 1837, and to talk about trade between the countries.
Megamaxi en Cuenca – The Corporación Favorita will open a Megamaxi in the beginning of 2023 on calle Paseo and Av. 24 de Mayo in the Colinas del Paraíso sector on a 14,600 sq. meter lot next to the río Yanuncay. The $36 million project will also have a MegaKywi, Sukasa, and Tatoo, subsidiaries of the Corporación Favorita. There will also be a gym, financial institutions, food vendors and 2 levels of parking. The construction will generate 600 jobs, and the commercial spaces will generate 350 direct jobs and another 1,000 indirect jobs. This will be the 15th Megamaxi. Quito has 6, Guayaquil has 4; and Manta, Sangolquí, Ambato and Samborondón each have 1. The project will be LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified.
And that’s all for today so Hasta ? –
Editor’s note: Jeanne’s Periodico is a translated digest of news from the Cuenca daily newspaper El Mercurio. If details, such as event dates and times, do not appear in the translation, they did not appear in the newspaper (please don’t ask her for them). The text between the carrots, or guillemets (< … >), is Jeanne’s personal opinion and not part of the news translation.