City buys Covid-19 tests, Stranded journalists help out, Ecuador virus strains are sequenced, Body parts found, Vendors find new sales spots

Apr 7, 2020 | 8 comments

Lunes, 1/4/2020

Hola, Todos –

Sorry for the rant on 4/1 and thanks to all of you for your kind and supportive wishes. Obviously I’m not coping well with the Quedate En Case. But I’ve decided that April Fool’s Day shouldn’t be restricted to only one day a year, and so de vez en cuando (occasionally, every once in a while, now and then – your phrase for the day) I’m going to slip a real fake new article like the facelift gringa into the column. You’ll have to guess which articles are the fake ones.

Actividades –

De la pagina cultural –

Call for the “Desde mi casa” project – The Ministerio de Cultura y Patrimonio is calling for proposals from artists, produced for a diverse and general public, lasting 10-15 minutes. The proposals will need to be done by one person or people living in the same household and 200 artistic and cultural projects will be selected and broadcast on EcuadorTV. For more info, go to

Del cuerpo del periodico –

A healthy life with El Mercurio – The paper is presenting programs to maintain a healthy life style on its Facebook page.
Functional Training: lunes, miércoles, y viernes a las 8:30 with Geovanny Arias and jueves with Paula Irene.
Psychology: martes a las 15:00 with Paola Jarrín.
Nutrition: martes y jueves a las 10:30 with paula Bustamante
Healthy food: lunes, miércoles y viernes a las 11:30 with Estefanía Toledo.

Locally made boxes protect medical workers as the perform an intubation on a virus patient.

Otras cosas –

Titular – Una Semana Santa “virtual” (A “virtual” Holy Week) – Catholics celebrated Palm Sunday from their homes with branches, plants and flowers, and watching services on TV or social media.

Protective boxes for doctors – A group of young volunteers is making acrylic boxes to shield medical staff when they intubate and remove tubes from patients with coronavirus. The boxes fit over the heads and shoulders of the patient with two holes in the side of the box near the patient’s head where the doctor can insert his/her hands. The boxes can be washed and reused. If you want to help, you can donate 3 or 4 mm. thick acrylic or make a donation to savings account no. 4001127843 at Banco Bolivariano. You can call 0987111741 or 0998498115 for info, or in Facebook at the fan page pf Ayúdame a Ayudar Ec. <I hope the boxes are big enough to accommodate large sized gringos if needed.>

COVID-19 tests – The Municipality has invested $100,000 to buy reagents and the PSR test for COVID-19. Mayor Palacios freed $1 million from the city budget for this health emergency. This money will be used for the tests, food for the neediest, fumigation, etc. He estimated that 100-120 tests, which are the type that yield reliable results, will be available this week.

Stranded journalists – 3 journalists from Argentina and Israel, Tali Akuka, Andrey Madera, and Sergio Torregrosa, came to Cuenca about a month ago to write about the city for Bleu & Blanc in México and Vanguardia in Spain. They filmed the centro histórico from a skateboard, toured Tarqui on horseback, and relaxed in the thermal pools in Baños. Then came the vehicular restrictions, prohibitions against inter-provincial travel, and the curfew which standed them in Cuenca. <Lots of worse places to get stranded, no?> They turned this into an opportunity for a project to help small businesses by transmitting from their hotel a las 14:00, every day, and sharing the products those businesses sell. The only condition is that those products can be delivered to customers. Up to now, they have been concentrating on platos tipicos, honey and other local products. If you’re interested in having your products shown on these journalists’ social media pages, call 098 351 1421. <An alternate to the sábado ferias? And I bet they speak English, too.>

Students – Students who expressed interested in entering university between 13-15/3, through the Ser Bachiller process, will receive a form from Senescyt to fill out. Students in their 3d year of high school are waiting for what will replace the Ser Bachiller exams, usually held in julio.

Vendors creating spaces to sell – Fabiola Tapia would normally be walking around the city selling her products <Somehow, that doesn’t sound right in English.>, but now she has found an opportunity to sit down. She rented a parking space on Av. Loja and is selling tomatoes, choclos, banana, plátano, apples and papayas. Her customers can avoid the crowding at the mercados. Other entrepreneurs are selling masks and small bottles of alcohol outside of larger stores. The owner of MegaSalud has set up tables and hangers outside her store to sell hospital gowns and gloves. She said one problem she has had to confront are people who want to buy in quantities much more than needed for personal use. She has refused to sell in those quantities so that the items will be available to other customers, saying you don’t need excessive quantities. <Tell that to those US shoppers buying 14 years worth of toilet paper at a time.>

El Arenal – The mercado will be closed for 5 days starting today, and will be fumigated.

Human remains found – A leg was found in Sidcay by people in the Los Ángeles barrio. After a further search, police found a skull and an arm, and tire tracks in the area of the skull and arm. The remains were taken to the Centro de Investigación de Ciencias Forenses (CICF <sounds like a title for a TV show>).

Crime doesn’t stop – An auto mechanic shop on Del Silbán y Cabogán in the north of Cuenca was robbed over the weekend. The thieves took a gata hidráulica (hydraulic jack – your word for the day. Might come in handy if you have a flat tire), a car battery, and a box of tools. Robbers also stole a plasma TV from a hotel at calle Larga y Borrero el madrugado de viernes (early hours of Friday). <At least I can find something on the police page that’s not coronavirus.>

Gene sequencing – A team of scientists in the Instituto de Microbiología at the Universidad San Francisco de Quito sequenced the gene of the coronavirus sample taken from the first case in Ecuador. The patient was a 57 year old Dutchman who started having symptoms 11 days after arriving in Ecuador. The team is sure that he caught the virus in Holland. He had the second strain, S, of the virus. Of the two strains, L and S, L is more aggressive and contagious with patients having worse symptoms and more deaths.
The importance of this work is first, to find the forensic track to know where the virus came from and how it was contracted. The second is to understand the strains that are circulating in the country which is valuable in designing vaccines and treatments. Now the team wants to start work on samples from more patients so they can see how transmission occurred in Ecuador.

Descuentos y compras –

El Mercurio – The newspaper’s offices are open for business. The Centro, Gonzáles Suárez, and Vergel offices are open from 9-13:45, and the El Arenal office is open from 9-18:00. To subscribe for home delivery, call 099 126 5266, 098 952,5322, or 099 963 1372. <Tell them Jeanne sent you.>

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. The text between the carrots, or guillemets (< … >), is Jeanne’s personal opinion and not part of the news translation.


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