Omicron concern delays school openings; City crews clear storm drains; Buses resume nighttime service; Boosters are available to everyone starting today
Hola, Todos –
Adelante tercera dosis (Third doses advancing) – Although the ómicron variant has not been detected in Ecuador yet, the Government has decided to adopt preventive measures such as speeding up applications of 3d doses and slowing down the return to presencial classes. The return of high school and higher level primary school, or students over 12, was scheduled to start el 6/12 but will be delayed until 7/2 for the Sierra/Amazonía students. Coastal students who are finishing virtual schooling will return to classes in mayo of next year. Students over 5 were to return to classes el l7/1, but this will be delayed until 7/2 if the epidemiological conditions and levels of vaccinations permit. The rural and technical high school students who returned to classes el 22/11, will stay in class in the areas of Agriculture and Livestock, Industry, Arts, and Sports. High school students in the areas of Information, Accounting, and Services will return to semi-presencial classes. Those students in schools whose Planes Institucionales de Continuidad Educativa (PICE – Institutional Continuing Education Plans) have been approved, can stay in presencial classes.
The administration of 3d doses to the general population was planned for 1/1/2022, but has been advanced to start today at a national level. All people who received their second dose more than 6 months ago can receive the booster which will be AstraZeneca. <They’re picky. I saw a guy turned away from getting a booster because he was a few day short of 6 months from his 2nd shot.> Only people who have health problems can get another brand as recommended by a doctor. Immunosuppressed people will get the same brand of vaccine as they got in their first 2 doses.
Booster shots will also be given to those who got one dose Cansino and those who got vaccinated overseas with brands not available in Ecuador such as Johnson & Johnson or Moderna. Currently, 70% of the Ecuadorian population has completed 2 doses. To get to herd immunity, the percentage needs to be 85%. The group that has delayed the most is the age group 12-17 years old with only 54.66% having received both doses. <So they cut “class” the day they were supposed to go get their shots at the UPS? Time to start calling the parents. Or the grandparents in the household. Abuelo will straighten those kids out pretty quick.>
Plan para atender emergencias (Plan to attend to emergencies) – Given that rains are expected to continue until the end of diciembre, the city has a plan to address emergencies due to flooding. Danilo Bustos, with the city public Works Department, said crews and machinery were moved to different areas that are still flooded. 23 machines including dump trucks, backhoes, water tankers, loaders and pickup trucks have been deployed by the city. ETAPA has also sent personnel since some problems were due to blocked sewers. A civil engineer said that the last flooding was different from previous floods since they were from creeks that overflowed due to obstructions. People have been blocking the flows with garbage, construction debris, and construction close to the creeks. Previous floods were from rivers overflowing.
Zonas vulnerables (Vulnerable areas) – There are 15 zones in Cuenca which are vulnerable to flooding from rivers overflowing according to a study done in 2010 & 2011. The risk of flooding by the Tomebamba is highest at Quinta de Balzaín, the coliseo Jefferson Pérez, and El Paraíso. For the Yanuncay, the areas most susceptible to flooding are the Misicata bridge, Tres Puentes, and the U. del Azuay.
Buses retoman el servicio nocturno (Buses resume night service) – The Cámara de Transporte de Cuenca (CTC) announced that it resumed night bus service last lunes. Manuel Solís, president of the CTC, explained that the goal was to provide service to all its riders, especially students who have night classes. The CTC is continuing with biosafety protocols and asked riders to comply with these measures, especially using masks. The COE is allowing public transport to circulate at 100% capacity and asking for natural ventilation. <Bring that extra sweater if you’re taking the bus at night since those windows will probably be open.>
El VIH-SIDA se atiende de forma integral (HIV-AIDS is treated comprehensively) – Today, 1/12, is the Día Mundial de la Lucha contra el Sida. Javier Ochoa Muñoz, is responsible for the unit that treats people living with HIV-AIDS at the Hospital Vincente Corral Moscoso. This unit mostly attends to patients living in the south of Ecuador and currently is treating more than 1,000 patients with a team of doctors, psychiatrists, nurses, etc. When the Programa del Sida started in 2002, the only HIV clinics were in Quito, Guayaquil, and Cuenca. Now there are 45, spread out in all of the provinces. The hospital José Carrasco Arteaga in Cuenca also has a unit.
Eliminan las paradas improvisadas y sellan puertas de los buses (Improvised bus stops eliminated and bus doors sealed) – The City of Azogues is implementing a pilot plan that will seal the doors of the intercantonal and interprovincial buses when they leave the terminal terrestre, thereby eliminating improvised bus stops. The intent is to reduce the risk of accidents on the autopista Cuenca-Azogues-Biblián. City employees will put the seal <like a sticker> across the bus doors when the passengers, who must have tickets, have boarded and the bus is leaving the terminal. The seals will be removed at some point, depending on the route.
Ómicron ya está en Latinoamérica (Omicron is already in Latin America) – Ayer, Brazil confirmed the first two cases of the ómicron variant in a Sao Paulo couple who had been in South Africa. They are the first two cases in Brazil and Latin America. They arrived el 23/11, were diagnosed with Covid through testing, and the ómicron variant was confirmed through gene sequencing. Authorities in Sao Paulo are investigating a possible 3d case in a man who lives in Guayrulhos and arrived last week from Ethiopia. Other Brazilian states are investigating suspected cases as well.
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.