Police announce holiday restrictions; Local traffic allowed on Cajas highway; Top four Covid variants in Ecuador; Zaruma demands contol of illegal mining

Dec 22, 2021

Martes, 21/12/2021

Hola, Todos –

Actividades –

Rodrigo Jara vuelve con obras en metal (Rodrigo Jara returns with metal works ) – Rodrigo Jara works with metals and acids to create pictorial works with a relation to nature as well as abstracts. He has a show at the Galería Arrebol (La Mar 17-49 y Miguel Vélez) which will run through diciembre. Hours are martes a sábado from 10:00-13:00 and from 15:00-18:00.

Titular –

Restricción en km 49 (Restriction at km 49) – The population of Molleturo parish enabled vehicular passage at km. 49 on the vía Cuenca-Molleturo-El Empalme ayer until machinery from the contractor arrived to stabilize the slope. A contract was signed with the Sudamericana Integral de Construcciones (Sudinco) company for $7.3 million and a construction period of 8 months. The first vehicles were buses and vans covering the Cuenca-Guayaquil route. The community held mingas for over a month to remove material from the top part of the slope to decrease the risks. Residents of Molleturo can pass through the area to guarantee health, allow teachers to arrive, and to allow emergency response. Traffic for public transport and other citizens is restricted until further notice. A lateral pass with programmed hours of operation is planned for febrero.

Cuenca –

Activan el plan de contingencia (Contingency plan is activated) – The contingency plan for the Christmas and New Year holidays was announced este lunes by Andrés Vicuña, a police official. 16 organizations will be activated from el 20/12 to el 3/1 with a total of 776 vehicles and 5,613 agents to control activities during the holidays. Jenny Bermeo, a provincial official reminded people that crime goes up during these days, and that people depositing or withdrawing large amounts from the banks can request police escorts. Pablo Tello, chief of the of the III División de Ejército Tarqui ( III Army Division Tarqui) said that the Armed Forces will be conducting operations with respect to the manufacturing and sales of fireworks. <Remember that monigotes stuffed with fireworks and sawdust are dangerous as well as illegal, and an ill timed jump over the fire could result in serious injuries that even Viagra can’t fix.>

A sinkhole in Zaruma destroyed three houses last week and threatens others. The collapse is due to five centuries of gold mining in the area.

Andrea Bersosa, zone 6 health coordinator, spoke to the pandemic and said that in the past few weeks the number of cases has increased from about 45 cases reported each week to 150. She urged people to get vaccinated and to keep up with biosafety measures. She also said that for the population over 5 years old, 78% has had a 1st dose and 70% a 2nd. Occupation of ICU beds is moderate with 3 of the 15 beds at the Vicente Corral Moscoso hospital occupied. She said that there have been no registered cases of ómicron in Azuay. <Yet.>

Terminaron obras en el aeropuerto (Airport work completed) – La Corporación Aeroportuaria de Cuenca (CORPAC) announced that repairs to the asphalt paving at the Mariscal La Mar airport are complete with only horizontal signage, sealing cracks and minor porthole patching remaining. The remaining work will not affect aircraft operations.

Zaruma: hay llamados a la Asamblea (Zaruma: there are calls to the Assembly) – Public authorities in the areas of mining, environment, and risks have called on the Asamblea Nacional to explain its management to prevent mining activities in urban centers after a large sinkhole appeared in the center of Zaruma, El Oro, destroying 3 houses so far. Patricia Sánchez, of the Pachakutic Movement, recalled that a referendum in 2018 prohibited mining activity in urban centers. Carlos Andrade, a mining and environmental remediation engineer said that what happened in Zaruma was a consequence of over 4 and a half centuries of mining in the zone. He said that most of the responsibility falls on illegal miners who work with no technical, environmental, or safety protocols. Historical data shows that mining started in Zaruma 470 years ago during colonization.

The Great Zaruma Gold Mining company of England showed up in 1895 with more technical extraction methods. In 1950 the Compañía Industrial Minera Asociata opened up and went broke, after which small mining surged along with artisanal mining. That has become uncontrollable since when legal mines which comply with laws open up, illegal miners invade those mines in the concession zones. <I wonder if any miners were trapped in the sinkhole or if no one cares to look for them and the families are afraid to report them missing?>

Docente de UPS, en top internacional de científicos (UPS professor, on international top scientists’ list) – Maricela Cerrada, a professor and researcher at the Universidad Politécnica Salesiana (UPS), was included on the list of the “World’s Top 2% Scientists” by Stanford University. She entered the UPS in 2014 as a researcher, won a Senescyt scholarship, and is now a professor of mechatronics which is a multidisciplinary branch of engineering integrating mechanical, electronic and electrical engineering systems, and also includes a combination of robotics, electronics, computer science, telecommunications, systems, control, and product engineering. <Straight from Wikipedia -I’d never heard of mechatronics before.> Her work has been in the detection of faults in rotary industrial machinery and used automatic learning in the subfield of artificial intelligence. <Now I bet she’s smarter than her phone, unlike many of the rest of us.> She was the only woman among the 19 researchers selected in Ecuador.

Nacional –

4 variantes de “preocupación” se han dispersado en Ecuador (4 “worrisome” variants have spread in Ecuador) – Of the variants of Covid that the WHO has categorized as “worrisome” due to their high level of contagiousness, 4 currently predominate in Ecuador affecting 55% of diagnosed people. 266 cases of the Alpha variant have been detected in Ecuador. <How many more would there be with more extensive testing?>

What predominates in the country is delta with 1,134 cases. Delta set off alerts for health authorities causing states of emergency El Oro and Guayaquil provinces. This variant is 4 times more contagious than the original where a sick person could infect another 2.5 people. Delta can infect an additional 8 people and is prevalent in El Oro, Guayas, Manabí y Pichincha where it accounts for 90% of the cases. 49 cases have been detected in Azuay.

Gamma has been diagnosed in 345 cases with the most of them in Pichincha and Guayas. Last is ómicron with only 3 cases so far. The ministra de Salud, Ximena Garzón, thinks that there will be community transmission in a few weeks due to its high level of transmissibility. The worry with ómicron is that it is 10 times as transmissible as the original. Even though cases seem to have moderate symptoms, just the sheer number of patients could collapse the health system.

Inicia plan para censar en cárceles (Prison census plan begins) – Authorities started a pilot plan to conduct a larger census which will collect socio-demographic, judicial, family situation, and treatment information about the prison population. The census in the 36 prisons in the country will allow implementation of actions to reach the goals of the Plan de Rescate Ecuador as they pertain to the prison situation. In parallel, authorities will also review details about the application of security protocols, bio-security measures, logistics, registration times on forms, and the exchange and consolidation of information. <Hopefully that will isolate people in jail for driving with bald tires and water quality protesters from hard core drug gang members.>

And that’s all for today so hasta ? –