Amid a threat from the second wave of Covid-19 infections, the Government announced new sanitary measures that will be in force from January 15 to 31 and that they aim to stop the increase in numbers that has been observed in recent weeks.
To opt for these new rules, the president recalled that, in our country, the pandemic it is heterogeneous, so each region has different indicators. Based on this, three levels of alert have been established: moderate, high and very high.
At the moderate level of contagion are Amazonas, Ayacucho, Huancavelica, Loreto, San Martín, Ucayali. In those regions, the curfew will continue from 11 p.m. to 4 a.m.
Meanwhile, on high alert are Metropolitan Lima, Arequipa, Apurímac, Cajamarca, Callao, Cusco, Huánuco, La Libertad, Madre de Dios, Moquegua, Pasco, Puno and Tumbes. In those cities, the vehicle restriction will be implemented on Sundays and the immobilization will be from 9 pm to 4 am
As for the regions with very high alert – such as Áncash, Ica, Junín, Lambayeque, Lima provinces, Piura and Tacna – the measures will be the vehicular and pedestrian restriction on Sundays. And his curfew will be in effect from 7 p.m. to 4 a.m.
Among other points, the ban on access to the beaches will continue and with the restriction of flights from Europe until January 31. Likewise, people entering the country must comply with mandatory quarantine and undergo a discard test on the sixth day of confinement.
But what do the specialists think about these measures? Will they serve to slow the advance of Covid-19? According to the national dean of the Peruvian Medical College (CMP), Miguel Palacios, in general the measures have been “timid.” ”We believe that when you enter a wave it is time to cut from the root, but for that you need practicality. Then we would have liked to hear more drastic measures. ”
Along the same lines, former minister Patricia García recalls that two cities in China reported, after time, 6 cases of Covid-19 and they were immediately closed. ” No one has the right formula, but China closed 20 million people to stop the problem. Yes, it is another reality, but I believe that this type of action is appropriate ”, so for her, the measures could have been more drastic.
Another important aspect that specialists mention is that it should not have been separated only by regions, but within them. “In areas, be they districts, avenues, where the R factor (average number of people who are infected by an infected person) is greater than 1, there should be a confinement,” suggests the dean of the CMP.
Meanwhile, Ernesto Gozzer, a health care physician, mentions another key point: the indicators that have been taken to dictate these measures are not enough, especially because not enough molecular tests have been taken to know what the reality of the cases is. “To have a true value you should take between 30,000 and 50,000 tests a day. This is the only way to define the R factor and the percentage of positivity, but that does not happen. One day they take more, others less, ” he explains.
Likewise, it suggests that other indicators such as the percentage of hospital beds and ICUs are also taken into account. “In general, it is not clear what criteria they have taken to separate the regions by moderate, high and very high risk.”
On the other hand, the former head of the Minsa Víctor Zamora adds that “it is good that the Government has developed a matrix of indicators in which there is communication between the social health sector and the productive economic one.”
Regarding the curfew, for various specialists, this measure is questionable.
While for Miguel Palacios the curfew should have been more drastic, for Gozzer this measure is “absurd”, since, for example, shopping centers will have to close earlier, which means that more people will concentrate earlier ; that is, the crowding will be worse. “The curfew must exist, but from 11 pm or 12 am you cannot put curfews earlier in the regions that are most critical,” he adds.
According to Zamora, the curfew has been taken a bit late, since he considers that the idea would have been to announce it in December, when there was still talk of outbreaks and not a second wave. Meanwhile, the infectologist Camille Webb believes that it can help, because “it is a message that the situation is getting worse.” However, the population is already exhausted of the restrictions, so it is possible that these changes do not affect its behavior much.
Reduction of capacity
The specialists consider that before thinking about reducing capacity, it is better to close the premises. “I think that in places where there is really high risk, the capacity should be much lower and some activities should be closed, such as gyms,” adds Gozzer.
Webb points out that despite having a smaller capacity – as in department stores, supermarkets, stores – the risk of going to these places is still high due to the new variant. She states that, for example, in shopping malls, people go in and out, while touching different objects.
One issue that should be mentioned was what will happen to the first level of care, which, as has already been warned, is the key to preventing the hospital system from collapsing. However, for the dean of the CMP, what the minister mentioned was “lukewarm.” For Dr. Elmer Huerta, “the health system remains closed” in the face of the beginning of a second wave.
The other absence from the presidential message has been the use of molecular tests. At this point, Gozzer assures that these not only serve to extract figures, but to locate where the cases come from. “Right now doing a trace will not have an impact like months before, but it is important to search for contacts.” Meanwhile, García assures that it is necessary to purchase antigenic tests, which do not cost a lot and provide results in a few minutes.
Finally, a question from the dean of the CMP was that the Minister of Health mentioned the purchase of 160 ventilators, but there are still no intensivist doctors who can handle them.
It should be noted that for all specialists the measures should not be analyzed every 15 days, but in a shorter period of time.
“We hope to have vaccines at the end of the month”
President Sagasti made it clear that the Government’s commitment is to ensure universal vaccination, free and “without discrimination through the public health system.” This after the supreme decree, which approves the Conditional Health Registry of Medicines and Biological Products, it was established that private companies could also commercialize the Covid-19 vaccines.
“At this moment it is the Peruvian government that is negotiating with the vaccine suppliers. We have no information on any private company that is doing it, “he added.
Meanwhile, he assured that the first batch of vaccines would arrive before the end of the month. “The commitment we have with Sinopharm is that they arrive before the end of January. We are working so that this is fulfilled ”, he said.
Until yesterday, 87% of ICU beds were occupied in the country.
“We have already distributed 5,000 oxygen cylinders and 350,000 oximeters to first level centers. And we are taking 2,000 additional oxygen cylinders that are going to be distributed among them, ”said Minister Mazzetti.
Patricia García, former Minister of Health
“The hope is that what we are seeing is the product of the end of the year parties and that all of this will pass. But it is not like that. The new variant is here. I think this could get out of control ”.
Víctor Zamora, former head of the Minsa
“We do not know the specific weight of each criterion that was taken into account for the restrictive measures. It is striking that Lima, where there are few beds, is classified only as high risk ”.
Miguel Palacios, dean of the CMP
“Another measure that should have been announced was the creation of a commission to deal with the medical strike. In one way or another, it will harm the health system. Greater sensitivity is lacking ”.
Ernesto Gozzer, health doctor
“Molecular tests are not just to get numbers, but to locate where the cases are coming from. Doing a contact tracing will not have the impact of before, but it is still important. “
Camille Webb, infectóloga
“The main impact that worries us of the new variant is that situations that previously did not seem so dangerous to us, perhaps now we should consider them more risky. Behavior matters. “
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