Covid confinement could lead to starvation; Fines for bus fare overcharges; Tram crashes drop; New airlines to connect small airports; Covid case count

May 5, 2021 | 7 comments

Martes, 4/5/2021

Hola, Todos –

Actividades –
Nada.

Otras cosas –

Titular – Cuenca registra caso de variante de Nueva York (Cuenca registers case of New York variant) – Since the beginning of the state of emergency on 23/4 to el pasado domingo, 2/5 which included 2 weekends of total confinement, there was an incremento of Covid cases. <And here are some statistics for you numbers junkies. Or have I just invented a category of people that doesn’t really exist?> From 29/2/2020 to 22/4/2021 in Azuay, the MSP reported 20,378 cases, 366 deaths, and another 32 suspected Covid deaths. From 29/2/2020 to 2/5/2021 in Azuay, the MSP identified 21,312 patients, 405 deaths, and another 34 suspected Covid deaths. From 22/4 to 2/5/2021 there have been 964 new cases and deaths rising to 39. The southern provinces that are in a state of emergency are Azuay, Loja, y Zamora Chinchipe. The other provinces under the estado de excepción are El Oro, Guayas, Pichincha, Los ríos, Esmeraldas, Santa Elena, Tungurahua, Carchi, Cotopaxi, Sucumbíos, Imbabura, Manabí y Santo Domingo. In addition to Azuay, El Oro, Zamora Chinchipe, Guayas, and Pichincha have all had increases in cases.

For Marcia Beltrán, a doctor and viral specialist, the confinement and isolation of the populace is the most recommended measure in the world to avoid propogation of the virus. Fernando Moscoso, a doctor and health policy advisor, citizen indiscipline will make measures such as the state of emergency ineffective in slowing the virus. He pointed out that there are people for whom staying at home means dying of starvation. He suggested that the local governments below the federal level provide food assistance for the poorest.
Camilo Salinas, head of the MSP, said that the 1st case of the NY variant was found in Cuenca in a new born baby. There have been cases of reinfection with the NY variant in Guayaquil. This variant was detected in NY in noviembre de 2020 and has surged in that city. The first case of the P1 variant from Brasil was registered in Guayaquil where there are 7 cases of the English variant and 2 of the Andean.

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Workers at the central tram yard make repairs to a unit that was damaged in a collision. (El Mercurio)

IESS se une a plan de vacunación (IESS joins the vaccination plan) – The IESS started vaccinating its retirees, pensioners and affiliates who are over 65 yesterday. In the 1st phase, it will prioritize people with catastrophic diseases, comorbidities, and disabilities, and schedule them. To get an appointment, go to https://vacunacion.iess.gob.ec/iess-gestion-formulario-jubilados-web/public/formulario.jsf. The vaccination center in Cuenca is at the Centro de Atención al Adulto Mayor (CAAM) which is at the rear of the old IESS hospital on Huayna Cápac.

Tranvía: 13 personas reparan daños (Tram: 13 people repair damage) – Since diciembre de 2019, 12 accidents involving the tram have been registered. The majority of accidents involving the tram have been on av. De Las Américas where all left turns are prohibited. Other zones of conflict along the tram route are El Salado, El Arenal, y Av. Estaña y Nicolás de Núñez. Drivers who provoke accidents are responsible for the costs of repairs which can range from $1,000 to $10,000. <Will insurance cover that, especially since accidents are assumed to be the vehicle driver’s fault and not the tram’s fault?> Although accidents have decreased due to the pandemic, the population still needs to respect traffic signals. Most of the damage to the trains is to the front windows <Sounds like very few drivers have managed to broadside a tram. How drunk would you have to be to miss a big red train directly in your path of travel?> and to the body (latas, carenados (fairings)). The system has a crew of 13 people who make repairs and maintain the units.

Before the repairs are made, a technical report is issued and an accident investigation conducted. Sometimes the trains are accompanied by EMOV personnel and placed in custody until legal aspects or agreements with the person who caused the accident are reached. <Somehow, I can’t see them towing the trains to an impound lot.> Many of the repairs are done in a short period of time with a stock of original replacement parts supplied by the tram manufacturer.

Cobrar de más a pasajeros da lugar a multas (Overcharging passengers leads to fines) – On the first day of the new bus fares, disregard for the fares, misinformation, and passenger discomfort was found. Some of the bus cooperatives charged fares higher than those authorized. Passengers reported rounding up – from $1.27 to 1.30 for the Cuenca-Gualaceo route and from $2.42 to 2.50 on the Cuenca-Santa Isabel route. <So these cooperatives got their desired fare increase and they’re still nickle and diming their passengers?> At the ticket windows in the Cuenca Terminal Terrestre, new fare schedules are not being posted as required, and at some windows, passengers were being overcharged. Juan Carlos Aguirre, the provincial director of ANT warned bus cooperatives that they are not allowed to charge not even one penny more than the scheduled fare. Infractors will be sanctioned with a fine of 6 salarios basicos (6 x $400=$2,400) and the possiblity of revoking their operating permits depending on the gravity of the offense.

La exportación de oxígeno medicinal queda prohibida (The export of medicinal oxygen is prohibited) – Ecuador has prohibited the export of medicinal oxigen to assure the supply for domestic consumption. Juan Zapata, president of the National COE, said that national demand has grown by 100%.

Alcaldesa de Guayaquil está citada a la Fiscalía (Mayor of Guayaquil is summoned to the Prosecutor’s Office) – The Prosecutor’s office is investigating Cynthia Viteri, the mayor of Guayaquil; 3 city officials; and a business for speculation. Viteri and the manager for the Fundación Guayaquil Siglo XXI have been asked to provide information about cleaning contracts signed with at least 12 contractors during 2020. The cost to the city was over $20 million, more than double the amount before the mayor took office. <But is the city twice as clean under her administration?>

Exministro de Salud enfrentará mañana censura en Asamblea (Former Health Minister faces censure in Assembly tomorrow) – Juan Carlos Zevallos is accused of non-fulfillment of functions for nine reasons. The charges against him are fraudulent issuance of disabled cards during the health emergency; lack of protective equipment for health personnel; insufficient acquisition of Covid tests; not making the data on excess deaths during the pandemic transparent; and misplacing bodies of Covid victims. He is also accused of firing 2,279 health staff in the middle of the pandemic; lack of control on overpricing; wasting vaccines and medicines; changing the vaccination plan, and innoculating people who weren’t in phase 0 including family members. <Sounds like someone just wants a scape goat to throw the book at. Was firing health personnel part of the austerity measures required by the government? And did Ecuador have the money and clout to buy PPE when all the rich countries were competing for the same stuff?>

“Ecuatoriana Airlines” volará en 9 ciudades (“Ecuatoriana Airlines” will fly in 9 cities) – Ecuatoriana Airlines announced that it will start operations in octubre with a fleet of planes with the latest technology. It will unite the cities of Quito, Guayaquil, Cuenca, Loja, Manta, Lago Agrio, Esmeraldas, Coca, y Macas. The first flights will cover Quito-Guayaquil, Quito-Manta, Quito-Loja, Quito-Coca, and Guayaquil-Cuenca plus Cuenca-Manta.

President/CEO Eduardo Delgado said the project has been in the works for a few years with the aim of connecting the whole country by air. He said the country is disconnected with 85% of the airports in Ecuador having no flights. The planes will be turboprops with a 78 passenger capacity in 2 classes. The fares will be asequibles (affordable – your word for the day) since the internal costs of the business will be controlled. The airline will give passengers low fares so that people currently taking a bus will take a plane instead. Delgado estimated that the airline will generate 110 direct jobs, and another 250 indirect jobs. Two women will fly the Quito-Guayaquil-Quito routes. Raquel Sviercovich is the regional chief pilot, Eunicer Cerón is the first official, and they are in charge of the crews.

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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