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School year will begin online; Colombia is new Covid epicenter; Religious gatherings restricted; Government stiffs cities and provinces

Jueves, 30/7/2020

Hola, Todos –

Actividades –
Nada.

Otras cosas –

Titular – Aprueban la ley Seca (Dry law approved) – See Thursday’s article in CHL for story on increasing the hours of curfew and prohibiting evening liquor sales on weekends.

Religious crowds also prohibited – Religious activities are not exentas (exempt – our word for the day) from the biosecurity measures imposed by the national COE so that masses and massive patron saint fiestas have been suspended by the provincial government. The Archdiocese of Cuenca reaffirmed that religious events that do not comply with the maximum capacity permitted or with social distancing will not have Archidiocese backing or support. The Archibishop of Cuenca, Monseñor Marcos Pérez Caicedo, said he talked to the priests who were offering masses where biosecurity measures were not observed. He said that the pilgrimage from El Cisne to Loja is not authorized. He is working with the Policía Nacional about the possibility of “La Churonita” making her journey from El Cisne to Loja by helicopter with a flight over Cuenca so that the faithful will not feel the necessity of making the traditional pilgrimage. On Saturday, The Government of Azuay suspended a mass in Girón where 12 baptisms and 2 confirmations were celebrated as well as the ‘Patrón Santiago’ fiestas in Gualaceo.

Covid statistics – As of yesterday, there were 2,642 infections in Cuenca with 639 active cases and 53 in critical condition. Deaths in hospital reached 142 with ECU-911 reporting 304 calls to remove bodies of which 10% were from violent deaths or traffic accidents.

Religious ceremonies are subject to social distancing gatherings.

Water shut off – Because of the scheduled water shut off, the first to receive water from tanker trucks this morning were the health subcenters in El Valle and Ricaurte. The IESS and public hospitals followed and then more health clinics and centers. Water service was progressively reestablished starting at 9:00. The tankers will also go through residential areas which experience delay in restoration of service. Most of these will be at high altitudes.

Short items –
Bees – The Ministerio de Agricultura y Ganadería (MAG – Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock) is registering beekeepers in 23 provinces so that it will have real information on the production and productivity of the main bee products including honey, pollen, propolis (bee glue), and wax.

Virtual workshops – The City of Cuenca is developing workshops on topics such as Scholarship during lock down and Assertive communication, empathy and tolerance. They are free and on Zoom. Usually there are about 50 participants.

Back to school – El Gobierno has two new methods for students to return to school: educación abierta (open education – on line) and educación en casa (home schooling). <The list of school supplies includes things like paper, books, pencils, and vodka or Scotch. The last two are for the teacher.> The on-line schooling will have the support of a tutor, and be similar to the model used by on-line universities. Monserrat Creamer, Minister of Education, said that they have guidelines for gradually returning to traditional classroom education, although schools in the Sierra and Amazonía will start school on 1/9 virtually.

Debts to cities – At a meeting with the Asociación de Municipalidades del Ecuador (AME) – Association of Municipalities of Ecuador), Pres. Moreno told the mayors to understand the economic reality of the Government, aggravated by the impact of the pandemic. Cities will receive barely 7% of the $1,144,987,000 that the Gobierno owes them. $82 million is being paid today with $29 million going to small cities, $34,800,000 to medium sized cities, and $18,300,000 cities. There will be a similar disbursement next month plus $30 million for the return of IVA. <This is not the direct IVA refund for seniors. If the SRI isn’t paying it, you’ll have to keep waiting.>

Road work – The provincial government started repairing the 1st 5 km. of the vía Chicti-Tomebamba-Guarainag. Repairs to all 25 km of the road would cost between $9-11 million. The province also started a pothole patching project on 14 roads in different cantons at a cost of about $1 million. The work should have started months ago, but was delayed by the pandemic.

Internacional –

Colombia – Colombia is the new focus of the pandemic in Latin America with over 10,000 cases a day, a total of 267,385 infections, and over 9.000 deaths. Pres. Iván Duque ordered an extension of the lock down until 31/8.

And that´s all for today so Hasta ? –

Jeanne