Mayors want to continue lockdown; City facing economic hardship; Correa’s lawyer files an appeal; Market to reopen with strict rules

May 1, 2020 | 25 comments

Jueves, 30/4/2020

Hola, Todos –

Actividades –
Nada.

Otras cosas –

Titular – Alcaldes plantean que semáforo siga hasta el 17 de mayo (Mayors propose that traffic light continues until May 17) – Not one mayor in the country is willing to leave the isolation phase or social distancing. After a meeting with government officials the mayors felt all citizens should remain in red at least until 17/5. They took into account the current capacity of the health system, the possibility of testing and early detection of cases, and the comportamiento (behavior/conduct – another word for the day) of the populace versus the bio-security measures.

Without naming them, the ministra de Gobierno, María Paula Romo said that there were cantons that wanted to move from red to yellow, but they needed to comply with requirements that would impede the spread of the virus. Juan Carlos Zevallos, the health minister said the most important factor in changing color would be the capacity of hospitals in the canton, resources, medical personnel, number of cases, number of tests done, and number of deaths.

A study done by the Instituto Geográfico Militar (IGM) and universities established that the capacity of cities to change color depended on the number of current cases and the dangers for cantons where the virus is just starting. The same study said cities that could be enabled to restart economic activities would be Guayaquil, San Borondón, Durán, y Babahoyo where there are already high rates of transmission and therefore more people with immunity. <Although I think the jury’s still out on the issue of immunity.>

Cuenca streets, especially in El Centro, are filled with informal vendors. (El Mercurio)

The IGM study also showed cities such as Cuenca where the number of cases per 100,000 people is low, but are still at risk. For that reason they recommended not moving lifting restrictions. Cuenca’s risk is from the constant movement of people between it and Guayaquil and that there is still a high number of people who have not been infected. The study also named cities where the levels of contagion are accelerating and could become future centers of infection. These included Santa Elena, Manabí, Bolívar, Chimborazo, Cotopaxi, Tungurahua, Cañar, y especially Quito.

Reopening El Arenal – El Arenal will reopen el próxima semana after being disinfected and some infrastructure improvements. The market houses the wholesale market and is the largest mercado in Cuenca with about 5,000 vendors in total. Vendors will return gradually and the first ones back will be those who passed the rapid tests which the city has been doing since last week. There will be protocols that comply with sanitation regulations to avoid contagions. Fencing will be installed to control both vehicles and people with marked exits and entrances. Disinfecting tunnels will be installed and the stalls will be distributed with 2, 3, and up to 4 m. of distancing.

There will be a protocol to detect cases promptly, isolate them, and do contact tracing with epidemiological containment in coordination with the MSP. Structural changes include reducing the number of stalls and having a system of turns or rotating stalls every few days for the vendors. People going to the market will need to use masks, and the use of gloves and disinfectants will be controlled.

The economy’s emergency – According to the Instituto Nacional de Estadísticas y Censos (INEC), there are about 17,000 stores in Azuay, most of them in Cuenca, generating between $70 & $100 million per month. These businesses still need to pay salaries, rent and other expenses without any income. <Has anyone else noticed little produce tiendas and stands popping up in their neighborhoods? Within a 5 minute walk, I’ve now got 3 produce stands and an open air butcher/chicken vendor. And maybe more on blocks I don’t travel on.>

95% of the hotels are closed, and the sector needs at least 30% occupancy before it can start recovering. Cuenca has about 300 hotels as well as bars, restaurants, travel agencies and tourist services. There are some 3,297 tourist oriented businesses in Azuay. The director of the Asociación Hotelera del Azuay has asked the city if it can get travelers coming to Ecuador on humanitarian flights to spend their quarantines in Cuenca.
The commercial sector employs about 40,000 people who are rapidly losing their jobs. In Azuay, tourism employs about 8,800, there are 3,200 in administrative services, 700 in real estate, 1.400 in arts and entertainment, 1,600 in construction, and 8.000 in other services, all at risk of losing their livelihoods.

The president of the Cámara de Comercio said there need to be urgent measures taken by local government and the financial sector. The hotel sector needs long term financing at low interest rates and months with no payments as well as promotion which the city should do. The local government is delivering food kits to craftspeople, stores and vendors. The Empresa de Desarrollo Económico (EDEC) has launched an electronic catalogue to purchase from local producers, on line with home delivery. There are more than 300 businesses in 21 categories from food to transportation.

COVID-19 waste – EMAC treats 1,500 kg. of infectious waste generated by hospitals and clinics in the canton each day. The waste is collected in acero inoxidable (stainless steel – your word for the day <for when you can get back out and start shopping for cooking utensils to replace the ones you’re wearing out>) containers and then put into autoclaves for sterilization. The waste is heated to 134 C. for about 40 min. which kills pathogens, and then is taken to the landfill in Pichacay.

Illegal hunting – The Ministerio del Ambiente y Agua in Azuay is investigating a report on social networks showing dead venados de cola blanca (white tailed deer). Pictures were circulated on Twitter, one showing a person holding up the head of one of the deer. The hunting was in the Chilca Totora sector in Tarqui parish. The deer are an endangered species, and hunting them can get you 1-3 years in prison. <The picture showed 3 dead deer and that sentence should be 1-3 years per deer. I’ve still never gotten over Bambi.>

Riot at CRS Turi – There was a riot at the Centro de Rehabilitación Social (CRS) in Turi where 3 prison guards and a national police cop were injured. The riot started when officials prevented the entry of substances coming in by air – a method known as “bombazo.” Someone was trying to throw drugs into the prison from outside the walls. The riot was brought under control in 15 min. and a 24 year old was arrested outside the prison with a bag containing 489.20 grams of cocaine. <Sign him up for the Yankees – or maybe not, since the bag was still outside the wall.>

Correa – Ex-president Rafael Correa’s attorney filed an appeal to Correa’s sentence in the Sobornos 2012-2016 case. <Took a pandemic to knock Correa off the front page to the back page.>

International –

Brasil – President Bolsonaro is blaming governors and mayors who put isolation measures in place for the increase in deaths in the country. He targeted the governor and mayor of Sao Paulo and asked why they instituted restrictive measures and people are still dying. He also lashed out against two of the most important newspapers in the country, accusing them of printing lying and biased headlines. <He’s got the same speechwriter Trump has – President mini-T.> Brasil has about 80,000 confirmed cases and 5,466 registered deaths with the state of Sao Paolo the hardest hit with 24,041 cases and 2.049 deaths.

And that´s all for today so Hasta ? –

Jeanne

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