Mass vaccinations to begin in April; The pandemic year in review; Venezuelan refugee crisis at the Peruvian border; Botanical garden inaugurated
Hola, Todos –
Otras cosas –
Titular – Un año conviviendo con el virus (A year living with the virus) – Although it is hard to know the exact date of the first coronavirus patient in Cuenca, data from the Ministerio de Salud Pública put it at el 2 de marzo. Local authorities did not confirm the presence of Covid in Azuay until 14/3. Data from the MSP show <shows? a question for the grammar police> that there were already 31 cases in the province. A health emergency was declared on the 14th which paralyzed non-essential activities, restricted traffic, left streets vacant, weakened the economy, and allowed nature to start reclaiming territory. By the middle of the year, 11,000 people were left without work, and by julio that number had increased to 20,000. Hospitals saw rapid increases in the number of patients with the worst point in agosto when there were more than 800 patients each week and beds were full in public hospitals and almost full in the private sector.
Doctors were working brutal shifts and medical school graduates went unpaid and without protective equipment due to the budget crisis. Corruption also left its footprint with the Azuay Comptroller’s office making observations about purchasing by hospitals and government. Now vaccinations are shining a ray of hope on overcoming this health crisis. <Hopefully, there will be no more vaccine corruption like 42 year old millionaires buying their way to vaccines before essential workers and priority groups get theirs.>
Migración venezolana genera crisis social en el contón Huaquilla (Venezuelan migration generates social crisis in the Huaquillas canton) – The canton of Huaquillas has a population of 60,000, not counting another 10,000 Venezuelans whose numbers are increasing by 500 a day. The Venezuelans have been stuck in this Ecuadorian border town since the Peruvian border was militarized on 25/1/2021. Families are living in parks, unfinished buildings, streets and sidewalks. The canton of Huaquillas is not able to provide basic services to an additional 10,000 people and requests to Pres. Moreno to create a humanitarian corridor so the refugees can either return to Venezuela or continue south have gone unanswered. Another request to the Centro Binacional de Atención Fronteriza for shelters for the families which are varadas (stranded – your word for the day – may you never find yourself varado) has also not been answered. International foundations and organizations are working with the city, but the aid needed is beyond their ability to provide.
Deslaves diarios en vía a Molleturo (Daily landslides on vía Molleturo) – MTOP (Ministerio de Transporte y Obras Públicas) hopes to restore vehicular circulation at Km. 49 on the vía Cuenca-Molleturo-El Empalme in a couple of weeks. Winter weather has caused a constant series of slides in the area. A 45 m. long, bypass was built after the roadway was blocked by slides on 31/12/2020. Transit agents are on site to control private vehicles and buses using the bypass.
MTOP personnel have removed about 70,000 cubic meters of material and more machinery will be moved to the site to try remove a giant blockage of stones of about 8 meters which fell onto the road el pasado jueves. Dynamiting the blockage is being discussed. Specialists have determined that the best thing is to wait until the slope produces the last slide which would be a natural, permanent solution. The slide on el jueves left one last block to fall which will probably come down in two weeks. <That’s Km. 49 – how about Km. 42, or Km. 53? How are those slopes holding up.> Mechanical intervention can generate problems such as at the Ingamullo sector on the vía Gualaceo-Plan de Milagro-Limón where there are continuous slides from the clearing activities. <MTOP fighting la Madre Tierra is like a middle school kid fighting Mike Tyson.>
Old news –
From viernes, 26/2/2021 –
Vacunación masiva arrancará en abril (Mass vaccination will start in April) – Seniors in the Miguel León and Cristo Rey homes received their first dose of vaccinations el jueves. Starting el viernes, about 2,200 front line health workers in public and private hospitals in Cuenca will get their jabs. This will complete Phase 0 or the pilot program. Phase 1 should start this week with the rest of health personnel, the military, police, teachers at all levels starting in the Sierra, essential workers, and vulnerable groups getting vaccinated. The names of the people to be vaccinated will be provided by the institutions with which they are affiliated.
To be part of the massive vaccination phase, citizens need to register in a system created by the Banco del Pacífico. The leader of the Alianza Pública-Privada which is executing the vaccination plan, said that the technological platform has the security and precision of banking systems. This system will guarantee transparency in the assignment of appointments, control the assignment of health workers who will give the vaccines, report on secondary effects, and issue an electronic certificate of vaccination. The platform and App will be tested el 5/3 and start functioning el 15/3. Appointments will be given at the health centers, hospitals, pharmacies, shopping centers and universities closest to the patient.
The vaccination plan will innoculate 10 million Ecuadorians. The vaccines will come from Pfizer which is supposed to deliver another 270.000 doses during marzo. In the next 2 months, Ecuador should receive 2 million doses from the Chinese firm Sinovac with the 1st million arriving in marzo. In total, up to diciembre, Pfizer should supply 6 million doses, the Covax initiative 7 million, 5 million from AstroZeneca and 2 million from Sinovax. Negotiations for the Russion Sputnik vaccine started el viernes pasado.
From domingo, 28/2/2021 –
Cuenca ya tiene su jardín botánico (Cuenca already has its botanical garden) – The new 21 hectar Jardín Botánico de Cuenca was inaugurated el sábado pasado. It is between the ríos Yanuncay and Tarqui from 3 Puentes to near the puente de Gapal. <It’s at the eastern end of La Isla and unless the plans included a new pedestrian bridge over the Yanuncay from 27 de febrero, access will be from the redondel at the south end of Solano.> The garden shows 8,000 species of plants from the south including the provinces of Azuay, Cañar, Chimborazo, Guayas, El Oro y Morona Santiago with ecosystems ranging from scrub to forest to páramo and wetlands. It is anticipated that with the planting, native birds and animals will return.
Descuentos y compras –
Audi Q5 – from $79,990 <It scares me to think about what a Mercedes costs. I guess Audi is advertising because it thinks there are enough people in Cuenca who can afford one.> – in Quito, Guayaquil and Samborondon – www.audi.ec.
DFSK 560 – an SUV with 3 rows of leather seats, a 1.8 liter engine, and 7″ Android ratio – 15% off for $19,990 <Not so scary a price.> – Av. España 10-35, 100 m. from the airport – or call WhatsApp 096-765-0100.
And that’s all for today so hasta ? –
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.