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Ecuador News

Cuenca industry restarts; Curfew hours revised; Peru denies ICU beds to seniors; Cuenca ranks high for internet use; Local burial sites prepared

Lunes, 18/5/2020

Hola, Todos –

Actividades –
Del cuerpo del periodico –

Semana Internacional de Biodiversidad – Ecuador is planning for the 2020 International Biodiversity Week which will be held virtually from the 18-22/5 with conferences featuring specialists in the fields of biodiversity and health; science and knowledge; and biodiversity and bio-economy. There will be seminars on the 20, 21, & 22/5. The event is open to the public and you can register at https://bit.ly/3bsP46S.

Otras cosas –

Titular – Cambian los horarios (Hours change) – Curfew hours for jurisdictions in yellow and green will change este miércoles, 20/5, to 21:00-5:00 for amarillo (yellow), and from 24:00-5:00 for verde (green). <For you early risers, your personal curfews will remain at 20:00 to 5:00.> For cantons in red, the hours are being analyzed after a review of the pilot projects. María Paula Romo, Ministra de Gobierno, who heads the national COE, authorized pilot projects starting last week in the industrial sector in Cuenca, automotive and textile sectors in Quito, and restaurants in Samborondón. <I guess with their maids stuck at home, the rich folks in Samborondón got tired of either doing their own cooking, or deliveries of cold food.>

380 burial plots have been set aside at Cuenca’s municipal cemetery. (El Mercurio)

Fosas colectivas (collective graves) – EMUCE EP is digging 3 collective graves at the Cementerio Municipal with a capacity of 375-380 spaces. These are not mass graves. They have a depth of 1.5-3 meters with a separation of 40 cm. between each casket. They are being constructed in case the capacity to cremate bodies is exceeded. The municipal cemetery has a capacity for 2 cremations a day, SOLCA’s capacity is 3, and the Cementerio Santa Ana between 5 and 10. There are days when the Cementerio has 1 or 2 cremations, but not always for COVID victims. Because wakes, funerals and burials in crypts are currently prohibited, many families are opting for cremations and taking the ashes until a time when a ceremonia de despedida (farewell ceremony – celebration of life?) can be held. At the Cementerio Municipal, since el 16/3, here have been 41 cremations of suspected COVID victims.

Repunta el uso de plataformas virtuales (Rebound in use of virtual platforms) – In the last few months, use of platforms for virtual conferences and meetings has gone up. According to Internet World Stats, Ecuador has the highest use of internet in the most populated countries of S. America with close to 81%. <And this is for you statistics junkies – something besides COVID numbers.> According to the Instituto Nacional de Estadísticas yu Censos, Cuenca has the 3d highest internet use in the country at 64.5% after the Galápagos and Pichincha; the 3d largest number of computer users at 58.4%; and it is 4th in the number of people with active cell phones at 61.7%. <Just looking at people in public spaces, it seems like it’s 100% – especially young people.>

Only 10.9% of Cuencanos are digitally illiterate, and don’t use the internet, a computer or phone. <I’m not quite that illiterate, but close, which is why I don’t include picture or charts. The ones you see are put in by the editors at CHL.> According to the Ministerio de Telecomunicaciones y de la Sociedad de la Información (MINTEL), the population of Azuay uses WIFI on their cell phones the most. Zoom is the most used video conferencing platform in Ecuador. Alternates include Hangouts, Jitsi Meets which doesn’t need to install the application on your computer, Go to Meeting and Google Meet.
More statistics from INEC and MINTEL. In the population of internet users aged 5-17, 48.8% access it from their homes. In 2017, 40.7% of Ecuadorians used the internet to get information and 31% as a means of communication. Between 2012 & 2017, the percentage of cell phone ownership grew by 6.5% for men and 9.7% for women. The age group that uses social networking on their phones the most is 15-29 years old. 92.4% of urban dwellers access social media on their phones, and 12 million people living in Ecuador have social networks. <Now how do these agencies know what we’re doing on our phones?>

Perro de monte (bush dog) – Pictures of the Speothos venaticus were taken by trap cameras in the Bosque Medicinal in the Zona Alta de Tumbes in Gualaquiza canton, Morona Santiago. A group of researchers from the UDA and volunteers from Forest.ink set up the cameras to get more information about this elusive and little known species. <It looks like a lot of dogs in Cuenca – cute and short legged.>

Interview – Hernán Rodas Cháves, the Coordinator of the Comisión Nacional Anticorrupción (National Anticorruption Commission) was interviewed. He is an historian and writer and visiting professor at various Latin American universities. The interview is well worth reading, but too much for me to translate. In response to one question, he complimented the Fiscalía (AG) and added, “Cazando sardinas, muy bien. Hay que ir por los tiburones.” (Hunting sardines, very good. You have to go for the sharks.)

Reactivation of mining – Canadian mining company, Lundin Gold, announced it was restarting transporting materials to and from the mine and local authorities and citizens in Zamora parish reacted negatively. On la noche de sábado, they refused entry to the trucks without prior fumigation. The Policía Nacional and Army stopped local authorities who were disinfecting vehicles coming into Zamora from Limón parish. The mayor of Zamora wanted to make sure all trucks that came from Guayaquil were disinfected, but that was not done. Local authorities prefer that mining activities remain suspended until the end of the health emergency. <Seems like when you’re a big bucks multi-national mining company you can ignore the health of the communities and get the police and army to let you through.>

First COVID-19 case in the Waorani people – A 21 year old woman who is pregnant and lives in the Miwaguno community in Orellana province was diagnosed with COVID-19 on el jueves. She was taken to a hospital in Quito. A team from the MSP went into the community to take tests and are waiting for results. It found people in communities in 3 provinces with symptoms. The Alianza de Derechos Humanos (Human Rights Alliance) expressed deep concern since the waorani are a recently contacted nationality with no natural defenses against many diseases including coronavirus which could be catastrophic and highly lethal.

Internacional –

Brasil – Brasil is facing a perfect storm of COVID-19 an exponential growth, with the start of flu season, the end of the dengue season, and outbreaks of previously thought conquered viruses such as measles. As of el sábado, there were 233,142 cases with 15,633 deaths. Intensive care units are full, and Pres. Jair Bolsonaro is fighting for a return to normal against regional governments that want to stay in isolation. Bolsonaro has lost 2 Ministers of Health who were doctors in one month, and has appointed an army general without medical experience. <So how do you think that’s going to pan out? Kind of like the US? Fire people with relevant knowledge but don’t agree with you and listen to the the most ignorant?>

Perú restricts ICU beds to younger patients – The president of the Sociedad Peruana de Medicina Intensiva, Jesús Valverde, confirmed that hospitals in Lima are selecting patients with serious cases of COVID and not treating seniors who need intensive care beds. <So those of you who are perfectly fine with going wherever and doing whatever you want, think you and your loved ones are immune to this virus? Or that gringos are automatically guaranteed an ICU bed?> Perú has 92,273 cases of which 57,473 are in Lima with social networking posts showing emergency rooms crowded with patients who need oxygen.

And that’s all for today so hasta ? –

Jeanne