Complaints grow about false Covid-19 tests; Lack of transport integration, pandemic slow tram progress; Landslides restrict passage through the Cajas

Mar 15, 2021 | 6 comments

Lunes, 15/3/2021

Hola, Todos –

Actividades –
Nada.

Otras cosas –

Titular – La segunda vuelta será sin Yaku (The second round will be without Yaku) – See article in Monday’s CHL for story.

Preocupa déficit en primer semestre de operación: Tranvía (Deficit in first semester of operation is worrisome: Tram) – After almost 6 months of commercial operation, the tranvía still has pending obligations to complete and to solve mobility problems in the city. Integrating transport systems, a unified payment system, fare evasion, and the pandemic are preventing meeting economic goals and generating deficits. A councilmember is worried about how the system is working and its economic sustainability. The Municipio budgeted $6 million to cover the deficit between income and expenses, which decreases the money for social services and projects.

Some doctors worry about the quality of imported Covid-19 tests.

Pandemia de falsos diagnósticos (Pandemic of false diagnoses) – Health authorities facilitated the massive importation of rapid tests for Covid antibodies between marzo and octubre, spending $57 million for the tests and $3 million for molecular tests which are used to diagnose. The rapid tests, available over the counter, were wrongly used to diagnose Coronavirus. Several people shared their story of receiving either a false positive or negative, causing them to quarantine themselves unnecessarily, or spread the disease to their families. These are the tests given to bus drivers and venders on the itenerant platforms. During the purchasing process, the city used a list of tests endorsed by ARCSA and studies by Chinese health regulatory agencies. <I hope the studies were translated into Spanish.>

Importing rapid tests became a good business, and importers included real estate companies, hardware stores, computer stores, cosmetologists, event organizers, and private education centers as well as labs and medical supplies distributors. <I can see it now – give me a pound of 16d sinkers, a framing hammer, some putty, and 6 rapid Covid tests.> The number of authorized importers rose from 38 in abril to 439 by the end of noviembre. Daniel Sánchez, director of the Control sanitario de ARCSA said the agency verifies that the imported products are certified by international reference agencies and that the certificates are authentic since Ecuador does not have the infrastructure in their labs to evaluate the quality of the supplies. Sales of various brands of tests from China that were rejected by the US are not allowed.

Solo livianos por vía a Molleturo (Only light vehicles on the road to Molleturo) – Heavy traffic has been suspended on the vía Cuenca-Molleturo-El Empalme due to a socavón (sinkhole – your word for the day, and inadequate to describe the state of the road) at km 101.4. <101.4 sounds like a radio station – traffic and weather on the hour.> Only light vehicles will be allowed on the road that connects Azuay and Guayas with 2 of the 3 lanes still open. The fear is that the road will totally collapse. All traffic has been suspended between 18:00 – 5:00 for an indefinite time due to constant slides at various points along the road. <No more driving down to Guayaquil in the middle of the night to catch a morning flight.> A team of specialists was scheduled to review the site today to determine the damage and how it can be repaired. Alternate routes are the vías Cuenca-Girón-Pasaje-Machala-Guayaquil and Biblián-Zhud-Cochancay-El Triunfo although there are slides along these routes, too.

And that’s all for today so hasta ? –

Jeanne
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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.

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