POST Online Media Lite Edition


Puerto Rico and Panama declare state of emergency for coronavirus

Christian Fernsby |
Puerto Rico is in a state of emergency as of today by decree of governor Wanda Vazquez, due to coronavirus pandemic, which includes deploying the National Guard.

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Vazquez took the determination after the number of suspicious cases of coronavirus increased to 17, and ordered that all passenger planes from the United States be inspected by the military.

The number had risen to 11 suspected cases early Thursday in the morning, which is why the Ministry of Health sent the samples to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) in Atlanta, United States.

According to the government, there were five suspected cases until last Thursday, after it became known that 56 year old Panamanian doctor had come to the country over the weekend to attend the National Salsa Day, attended by about 20 thousand spectators at the Hiram Bithorn stadium, in the Hato Rey sector.

The six new cases were interned at the Veterans Hospital in Puerto Rico, thus that medical institution was responsible for taking the samples and sending them to the laboratories in the United States.

Meanwhile, the Puerto Rican government regretted that it does not know when it will receive from the CDC in Atlanta the results from the tests on the patients.

The CDC has not been authorized Puerto Rico to carry out the tests, which was criticized by the mayor of San Juan, Carmen Yulin Cruz Soto, of the opposition Popular Democratic Party (PPD), whom she hopes to lead in the elections of next November.

Meanwhile, the Port Authority will not allow crew members of cargo ships, regardless of point of origin, to go ashore while they remain on the island, as announced its executive director, Joel Piza Batiz.

President Laurentino Cortizo has declared a national emergency for coronavirus in Panama, and informed on a national TV network the use of telework and called on the population to stay calm.

In his Thursday speech, he referred to a series of measures to avoid speculation, hoarding and the rise in the price of basic products such as hygiene articles, whose acquisition will be regulated along with food, and in support of these supplies, the State will buy $20 million in meats and grains to complement the national productions.

The president also ordered to establish agile mechanisms to obtain the sanitary records of the medical products that require it and the importation exempt from tariffs of medicines and supplies necessary to face the epidemic.

Cortizo explained that he asked Labor Minister Doris Zapata to ease labor regulations so that companies can adapt the sessions to the nature of each establishment and said that he asked private companies to use telework to keep largest number of people home.

Another measure announced by the president was that the Ministry of Economy defer tax payments for those who avail themselves of such benefits, with the aim of keeping all workers currently hired.

Then, during a press briefing led by Health Minister Rosario Turner, the epidemiological situation was updated, which until 16:00 local time, about 27 confirmed cases with the virus were reported.

Of those patients, one died on March 8, two are in an intensive care unit, another three remain hospitalized and the rest are in home isolation; while 3,800 people are being monitored due to the possibility of contacts with infested people or travelers who come from countries hardest hit by the coronavirus.

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