Tram runs beyond capacity; U.S. issues visas again; Tracking app targets violators; Paute is a Covid hot spot; Plastic bags now illegal in Chile
Hola, Todos –
Otras cosas –
Titular – La aplicación para prevenir contagios (The application to prevent contagion) – The “ASÍ Ecuador” app was launched in Cuenca yesterday and is a national pilot project to prevent more Covid infections. The app uses Bluetooth. It will detect if you are within 1.5 meters of a positive Covid patient, or have maintained contact with people suspected of having the virus, and send a message. <I can see the Covid patient blithely walking around in the Centro Histórico accompanied by a chorus of pinging phones and people hustling out of their way.> Both patients and subscribers will have codes so that anonymity is maintained. The app is available on Google Play and App Store and won’t use up mobile data.
The app complements the geo-location that MSP and ECU-911 use to follow patients that break quarantine. According to Julio Molina, zone 6 coordinator, 13% of infected patients do not comply with quarantine. 40% of those go to clandestine parties and 60% of them go to marcados, supermarkets, and shopping centers. ECU’s heat map showed that in the past 3 weeks, 171 broke the epidemiological containment in Cuenca with 83 in just the last weekend. The areas with the most patients violating quarantine are the Centro Histórico, Feria Libre, the El Vecino and Cayambe barrios, and the Baños parish. In these areas and others, there have been operations to sanction quarantine violators with fines, and to send or take them home. Molina also indicated that the number of cases could reach a critical point in next 2 weeks if citizens don’t take the needed protection measures.
Currently there are 2,971 positive Covid cases in Cuenca with at least 900 of them active. The public hospitals in Cuenca have the capacity to treat 60 critical Covid patients and all ICU beds are full. The hospitals have not discarded the idea of tranferring patients to other provinces such as Cañar which has 4 available beds.
Tranvía a source of infection – The lack of respect for the aforo máximo (maximum capacity – your words for the day) which is 50%, is the main problem facing the Tranvía. Users are not observing the minimum distance of 1 meter in neither the trains nor the stops. Marco Tamariz, a doctor and epidemiologist, said that this new transport is exactly how the virus propagates. People are doing exactly what they shouldn’t do – crowd into closed areas without adequate ventilation. <That means all of you complaining about how crowded the Tranvía is are right. Then why are you still riding it, contributing to the crowding, and risking your own and others’ health?> Tamariz said that without citizen collaboration, an option could be shutting down public transport for the next 15 days. Henry Manzano, a doctor and public health advisor, said that European countries have concluded the main source of infections were public transport. He warned about the danger of people exposing themselves to the risk of getting Covid at a time when hospital capacity is maxed out. He felt that the national COE or government should restrict people’s movement to avoid the virus also moving.
Nueva máquina recicladora – The “Pichaybot” plastic bottle recycling machine is named for the quechua word pichay which means cleanliness. It was installed in the Parque El Paraíso by EMAC and the U. Católica de Cuenca. The machine uses a card which will give you points for every plastic bottle or top you recycle. The points can be exchanged for things like public transportation rides. The machine has a touch screen to select your redemption option. <However, I don’t think the machine has a hand sanitizer pump for after you touch that screen.>
Paute at risk – Paute has the second most cases in Azuay after Cuenca. The city has suspended public transportation including urban, parochial, and intercantonal buses; commercial and banking activities are only from lunes a viernes with none of these activities on the weekends; taxis and mixtos can run from lunes a viernes with a maximum number of 2 people; mercados can operate from 8-14:00; ferias in the rural parishes and street sales in public spaces in Paute have been suspended; and curfew hours are from 18:00-5:00. <So take that into account if you were planning to pop over to eat at Corvel, assuming it’s still open.>
Traffic accidents decrease – Traffic accidents have been reduced by 62% during the health emergency. In 2019, there were 193 accidents, 1,367 incidents, 195 injuries and 11 deaths. <What’s the difference between an accident and an incident?> In the same period in 2020, there were 74 accidents, 445 incidents, 70 injuries, and 2 deaths. The parishes with the most accidents are Machángara, El Vecino, y Yanuncay. The days with the most accidents are martes, viernes, sábados y domingos in the following hours: from 6-8:00, 12-14:00, and 18-22:00. <What a surprise – weekends and rush hours.> The main causes were not paying attention, driving drunk, and not respecting road signage and signals.
Visas – The US embassy in Quito and the consulate in Guayaquil have restarted non-immigrant visas including renewal of visas issued under the Interview Waiver Program. For those who need to travel immediately, go to https://ais.usvisainfo.com/es-ec/niv/information/faqs. <I know this isn’t applicable to almost all of you, but maybe you have an Ecuadorian friend who might be interested?>
Consulta popular on mining – Azuay Prefect Yaku Pérez is trying to get a referendum question approved after two previous proposals were rejected by the Corte Constitucional as being too general. There would only be one question – si están de acuerdo con la prohibición, sin exceptión de minería metálica artesanal, pequeña, mediana, y a gran escala en el área protectora de los ríos Yanuncay-Irquis, ubicada en el cantón Cuenca, provincia del Azuay (if you agree with the ban, without exception, of artisanal, small, medium, and large-scale metal mining in the protected area of the Yanuncay-Irquis rivers, located in the Cuenca canton, Azuay province.). The constitution allows citizens, with 10% of voters’ signatures, to petition the Corte Constitucional and then the Consejo Nacional Electoral to hold a referendum.
Nurseries thriving – People are buying plántulas (seedlings) for medicinal, fruit, and certain vegetable plants, and cooking herbs. A seedling costs 3 cents, whereas a bunch of the same herb in the mercado can run $.25. Nurseries are also selling bagged dirt and fertilizer.
People are also buying ornamental plants including mini-gardens; trays with artificial grass, rocks, and other plants; bagged dirt for pots; and accessories for the gardener such as gloves, scissors and watering cans. <I guess not everyone wants to play in the kitchen and bake sourdough and cookies.>
Chile – As of yesterday, no businesses in Chile can give their customers plastic bags. The law went into effect 2 years ago and will now apply to micro, small and medium businesses. The law started being applied gradually el 3/8/2018 with a limit of 2 plastic bags for each sale in all types of businesses. Six months later, large stores such as super markets and big retailers could not give out any type of plastic bags. Small businesses had two years which ended yesterday to comply with the prohibition on plastic bags. <If you buy a pound of strawberries or shrimp, what do you put them in? Do you bring your own Tupperware?>
And that’s all for today so Hasta ? –