Conaie plans anti-mining protest; First case of avian flu reported; U. of Azuay project promotes electric bike use; Covid cases decline; Census extended

Jan 12, 2023 | 9 comments

Miércoles, 11/1/2023
 
Hola, Todos –

Titular –

Ofertan cupos para 12 carreras (Spaces available for 12 majors) – The Universidad Nacional de Educación (UNAE) and the Conservatorio Superior José María Rodríguez have spaces for new students. <I don’t think too many readers of this column are looking to be admitted to a university.>

Elecciones – 

Minería, palabra que se evita (Mining, a word that is avoided) – Mining was a word that was mostly avoided in the work plans of the candidates for mayor of Cuenca. For Juan Pablo Fajardo, an environmental engineer and climate change researcher, the next mayor of Cuenca has a basic challenge with respect to metal mining and the environment. Whoever is mayor is important since there are 3 mining projects in the Cuenca canton, 2 of which have been halted by judicial orders. On 7/2/2021, in a referendum, Cuenca voters decided to prohibit mining exploitation in zones where there are sources of water.

A project aimed at getting people out of their cars, conducted by the University of Azuay, is encouraging the use of electric bicycles. (El Mercurio)

Fajardo said a national strike against mining, organized by the Confederación de Nacionalidades Indígenas del Ecuador (CONAIE) is approaching. The date will be decided in a meeting tomorrow. <You can read what the 9 candidates said about environmental issues on your own. Or have your facilitator read it for you. Or get your butt into Spanish classes so you’ll be ready for the next election.>

Cuenca – 

Precaución ante las variantes de COVID (Caution with regard to COVID variants) – Two weeks ago, there was a peak in COVID infections, probably caused by the subvariants of Omicron: BQ1 & XBB. Nationally, there was an average of 700-900 each day, but no deaths. Doctors are warning that these new mutations are better at overcoming the immunity from vaccines. In Cuenca, there were 114 positive cases – 34 less than the week before when there were also 6 deaths. The Concejo Cantonal de Salud reported 5 of the 29 available ICU beds are occupied, and 23 of the 50 intermediate care beds are available.
With new variants circulating, doctors recommend getting bivalent vaccines to create antibodies against the SarsCOV2 and Ómicron.

There are also other viruses circulating such as flu, and syncytial virus. Andrea Bersosa, health coordinator for Zone 6, said it’s good that positive cases of Covid have decreased, but that patients in ICU beds have increased. She said use of masks, especially in closed spaces, is a priority along with getting your full course of vaccinations. In Cuenca, 93.75% have gotten their first vaccinations, 92.86 their second, 56.13% their 3d, and 20.88% their 4th. If you test positive, isolation is mandatory.

Ecuador confirma primer caso de gripe aviar en humanos (Ecuador confirms first case of avian flu in humans) – The Ministerio de Salud Pública (MSP) confirmed the 1st case of bird flu (A-H5) in Ecuador in a 9 year old girl from Bolívar province. It’s presumed she was infected through direct contact with a bird. The MSP and la Agencia de Regulación y Control Fito y Zoosanitario (Agrocalidad) created an epidemiological enclosure for both humans and animals in the zones identified as at risk. Washing hands, use of masks, and vaccinations against human flu were recommended. Eating chicken and eggs do not present a risk to human health. <I wonder if it matters if the chicken and eggs are cooked or not, even though chicken isn’t eaten raw, but eggs might be.>

De El Mercurio del martes, 10/1/2023:
UDA incentiva el uso de la bici eléctrica en Cuenca (UDA encourages the use of electric bicycles in Cuenca) – In 2020, Cuenca was picked by the Iniciativa de Transformación de la Movilidad Urbana to develop a sustainable mobility plan that promotes the reduction of greenhouse gases emitted by private transportation. The pilot program took off yesterday after 2 years of studies and planning. The program is to encourage the use of electric bikes by public, private and educational institutions. The U. of Azuay (UDA) got bicycles that will be shared with the U. of Cuenca, U.Politécnica Salesiano (UPS), EMOV and the city Dirección de Gestión de Movilidad. The idea and hope is that people who currently use their cars for transportation will switch to an electric bike.

The studies and analysis indicated that people don’t like to use bikes because of the geography of Cuenca. <I would hope you’ve been out of your house enough to notice that the city is hilly.> Electric bikes encourages people without the physicality needed <like me> to use one. For most of this month, workers in the participating institutions will experiment with using the bikes and then their opinions will be gathered to build a campaign to motivate a change in the residents of Cuenca.

Empresarial –

Cuatro empresas de Salud del Austro entre las 100 más grandes (Four health care companies in the South among the 100 largest) – The José Verdezoto distributor, University Hospital del Río, and the Clínica de Especialidades Santa Inés in Cuenca; and the Farmacias Suiza chain in Azogues are among the largest businesses in the health sector in Ecuador. The rankings were based on income and included businesses producing supplies such as medicines and medical devices, farmacies, pharmaceutical companies, companies providing services such as health insurance. The 100 companies on the list had a total operational income of $6.937 billion. Distribuidora José Verezoto is 55 on the list of all companies with billings of $33.36 million in fiscal 2021. Hospital del Río is at 90 with billings of $19.63 million, Santa Inés occupies position 91 with billings of $19.23 million and a presense in Azuay, Ambato, Loja y Machala. The Farmacias Suiza chain occupies position 96 with billings of $18 million in 2021.

Nacional – 

Censo quedó incompleto y se concluirá este mes: INEC (Census was incomplete and will be concluded this month: INEC) – Although the Instituto Nacional de Estadística y Censos (INEC) promised to close the census el 18/12/2022, the survey was not conducted at more than 500,000 households. Of the 6,700,000 households which should have been surveyed, only 93% were reached. According to Roberto Castillo, director of INEC, the main reason not all households were surveyed was insecurity, especially for the census takers at the Coast who had to deal with the emergency declaration. The situation scared away census takers so that out of the 18,000 workers needed, there were 2,000 vacancies. <I can sympathize with census workers not wanting to walk around in dicey neighborhoods in Guayaquil.>

And that’s all for today so Hasta ? –

Jeanne