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Cuenca maintains ‘yellow light’ status as new Covid cases drop; Airlines delay restart of service; Universities urged to ‘share the sacrifice’

As health emergency restrictions are reduced, banks and offices maintain biosecurity procedures. (El Mercurio)

The Cuenca Emergency Operations Committee voted Friday to keep the city on “yellow light” health safety protocols for the week beginning June 1. The committee said it was pleased with the first week of relaxed restrictions, saying that hospital capacity remains sufficient and that the number of new infections is dropping.

According to the Ministry of Public Health, 55 new cases of coronavirus were reported in Cuenca between May 22 and May 29, compared to 98 the previous week. In total, the city has recorded 719 cases since mid-March. Nationally, the count stands at 38,571, with 2,129 deaths.

Health Minister Juan Carlos Zevallos said that the city and Azuay Province have fared well during the pandemic, noting that deaths from all causes are also dropping, from 54 two weeks ago to 38 last week. “Only a small number of the deaths are related to Covid-19 but I believe the total shows the overall downward trend,” he said.

He added that, like other cities in the Ecuadorian sierra, high altitude appears to have reduced the total number of cases. “For reasons we do not yet understand, areas above 1,850 meters (6,000 feet) in elevation seem to suffer less from the virus, both in the number of cases and severity of infection.”

Cuenca Mayor Pedro Palacios expressed optimism about the “reopening of social and economic life” in Cuenca. “We had a good week and I believe next week will be even better,” he said. “Our hospital situation continues to improve and we have intensive care beds available if they are needed. At the same time, businesses and public offices are reopening under biosecurity protocols and many more will reopen next week.”

According to Palacios, progress has been made in talks with the union representing public bus owners and he believes service can resume on Monday. “We hope to have public transit running again next week, although it will operate at 50 percent capacity,” he said. “This is critical to a return of normalcy in Cuenca.”

Palacios said he is “thrilled” with the first week of operation of the tram system. “We had far more riders than we expected and are reevaluating our daily ridership estimates due to the popularity.” The tram is offering free rides until service becomes operational in late July or early August.

Virus update

Airlines delay airport reopenings

Avianca will resume Ecuador flights June 15,

Only three days before air service was scheduled to resume in Ecuador, the country’s two major carriers announced they would not fly until June 15. Latam and Avianca cited the delayed reopening of the Guayaquil international airport for their decision. “It is not optimal for us to begin service without the Guayaquil airport so we will resume operations June 15,” Latam said in statement. Latam will serve Quito, Guayaquil and Cuenca while Avianca will serve Quito, Guayaquil, Coca and Manta. Aeroregional, which operates one aircraft, will also resume service on June 15, flying between Loja and Quito.

A spokesman for Avianca said that arrangements are still being made for international flights from Quito and Guayaquil. “Many details remain to be resolved since some countries will not reopen their airports until July, August or even September,” he said. “We also must reestablish our network of connecting flights since this is critical for the sustainability of international travel.”

Moreno asks universities for sacrifices
President Lenin Moreno is urging university students and administrators to “shoulder their share of the national sacrifice” and accept the 10 percent budget cut he proposed. “The entire country is paying a terrible price in these difficult economic times and I ask higher education accept its part in helping the recovery,” he said. Students and administers have staged protests of the proposed reduction in major cities and the legality of the cuts is currently being considered by the Constitutional Court. “Public employees are reducing their hours and pay by 25 percent and all public functions have been ordered to cut spending by 10 to 15 percent,” Moreno said. “It would be grossly unfair for universities not to participate in the sacrifice.”

Moreno said he is encouraged by the recent rebound of oil prices, since revenue from oil production amounts to 20 percent of the national budget. “If this trend continues, the pain of the recovery will be reduced,” he said. “None-the-less, due to the impact of the coronavirus and lower petroleum prices, we face a difficult road back to fiscal health.”

The Constitutional Court is expected to rule next week whether universities must accept the budget reductions.

33 thoughts on “Cuenca maintains ‘yellow light’ status as new Covid cases drop; Airlines delay restart of service; Universities urged to ‘share the sacrifice’

  1. “the number of new infections is dropping”

    Except that it isn’t. I see the reported numbers every day and they’ve never gone down. Thursday it was at 700, and Friday it was at 719…

    1. But you have to figure that’s in a population of more than 700,000 and the above normal deaths here, week to week over the last two months, have been in the single digits. I’m interested in the altitude effect on the virus — just heard about it last week but can’t find anything with a Google search. Maybe CHL could post something about it.

      1. What about Quito? He’s guessing and used the words “appears” and “seem” as a hedge. I “think” it’s been Cuenca’s outstanding compliance with the restrictions.

        1. By George, kit actually gets one right. Having read most of your heretical posts, I have to wonder if you have the ability to understand that study and recognize its shortcomings.

          1. How demeaning to Kit. If you cannot say something nice then please shut up. Can you chill out or are you meds running out????

        2. Hydroxychloroquine, a drug promoted by Trump, did not stop healthy people from getting covid-19 in trial

          “The study results, published Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine, are the latest development in a highly charged medical and political issue — the efficacy of hydroxychloroquine in combating covid-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.

          President Trump has repeatedly touted the drug and recently said he took it for several days. The study, by researchers at the University of Minnesota Medical School, was a randomized placebo-controlled trial and was double-blinded — meaning neither the participants nor the researchers knew what the participants received. Such a study is considered the gold standard for clinical trials.”

      2. I read that higher altitudes have less covidper population. I thought I read it on CHL.

      3. Dan, that is perhaps because you don’t know how to do scientific research correctly. You won’t find what you are looking for on google. That is the purview of the lunatic fringe that searches only for information that confirms their already held beliefs. Try google scholar.

        A group of fellow scientists and researchers have been discussing this new study all day:

        Does the pathogenesis of SARS-CoV-2 virus decrease at high-altitude?

        If you are capable of going into this level of depth and have the background to understand the material, I may be able to get you an invite to join us.

        Be aware that one of my own criticisms of the above study is that some of its assumptions are flawed, but I expect this will all be worked out in the peer review process.

    2. Read the article again, s-l-o-w-l-y:

      According to the Ministry of Public Health, 55 new cases of coronavirus
      were reported in Cuenca between May 22 and May 29, compared to 98 the
      previous week. In total, the city has recorded 719 cases since

      Key word: NEW

      If there had been a total of 700 cases reported through Thursday and 19 NEW cases were reported on Friday, the total number of cases since mid-March would then be 719. Those 19 NEW cases would be included in the 55 NEW cases tallied last week which is less than the 98 NEW cases tallied the previous week.

    3. I would suspect that the reported numbers staying high may have more to do with increased testing than increased infections. Either the tests are faulty or many people show little or no symptoms. Either way, the primary concern should be that we have sufficient hospital capacity to care for those who need it, and this report says that we do.
      Individually, many of us may decide to maintain some degree of self-isolation out of self-interest, but there is no reason for the government to maintain severe restrictions on everyone as long as the medical system is not near or beyond capacity.

    4. It would have been more accurate to say that the rate of new infections is dropping,but you already knew that.

    5. Yeah, and I have a friend whose second cousin has a neighbor who knows a guy that is in the know and he tells me with the utmost authority that the stats as reported are accurate. Wait, I’ll check with castiglia…

      He told me to put a dozen or so exclamation marks after my post and that will make it more credible than yours. What do you think?

  2. How does anyone believe any numbers from any source anywhere in the world? Only God knows.

    1. Wait til the Lysol virus’ other strains come out next year! It will be the 3rd cousin of the virus. Then will come its Uncle Tony, Aunt Nelly, and drunken brother Joe. You got it right- it’s all baloney, put out there so the banks can drain the last drop out of Social Security. All filmed on a green screen. As soon as the robbing is done, no more Lysol virus.
      Your Soc Sec checks will buy 2 hot dogs and a Coke; but don’t worry- you get a free refill on the drinks, and extra toppings on the hot dogs. No problem.

      1. Just as you don’t understand oil storage…. once you learn a bit more about Social Security, you will no longer be spreading your myths about its reduced purchasing power.

      2. You do not disappoint with your bizzare take on the world and I for one am amazed that CHL accepts your rants. Go buy gold and silver Hiram. Stock up on lysol and land. Make sure you put masks on all your sheep pigs, and chickens. And above all don’t change. I get a laugh each time you post stupidity.

  3. Reality: For more than 2 months I have watched the U.S. try to figure out how to understand, measure, and manage the corona virus. A monumental task for sure. So, why would we put any faith in the reported numbers we get from the Ecuador government, without a great deal of skepticism, doubt, and uncertainty?

      1. Well, hang in their Swami. I’m trying to find a website to send you that will answer your question.

    1. Because the government and those responsible for the chaos aren’t the one that are doing the counting.

  4. Why doesn’t the government reduce their excessive taxes on imports to increase actual tax income? 115% tax on the price of an imported car is so excessive I can’t imagine any individual doing it. Car companies that import have to charge more than DOUBLE for the cars they sell, making cars unaffordable for the vast majority of Ecuadorians. Reduce the tax on big ticket imported goods and you get MORE money in taxes, not LESS. It’s a no brainer.

    1. Why do we need more automobiles? Then we will need the highways to handle the demand.

      1. maybe fewer deaths are caused because the automobiles are only running two days a week and there is less pollution.

  5. You would think that the university administration and students would be EDUCATED enough to understand that they NEED to also accept their part of the sacrifice rather than having to be told and suggested that they should also shoulder their share of the national sacrifice.

    I am surprised that they are so educated yet they need to be reminded that “It would be grossly unfair for universities not to participate in the sacrifice.” It leads me to wonder what they are actually teaching and learning at the university. Do they not understand and therfore teach the concept of “the government doesn’t have any money”.

    They seem to be teaching the “entitlement mentality”
    Oh I get it…they are teaching how to protest an ta heck with all those poor folks in the country that haven’t had food for days

    1. The easy solution would be to raise the costs of university education to make up for the loss of government subsidization. That way the entitled professors won’t have to suffer and their entitled students will be able to pay their fair share of keeping the universities in good shape. I’m not really sure why Universities need their full budget when they’ve been closed for 1/4 of the year any way.

  6. whch part of the constitution says that education dollars must stay the same or higher each year ?

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