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Jim Bondoux

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Everything posted by Jim Bondoux

  1. Their website (https://www.novey.com.pa) states that they are making deliveries on the MINSA-directed schedule. I assume you can order merchandise on the website and have it delivered by their staff (MINSA requires that deliveries be made via vehicles owned by the retailer). I imagine that one could pickup orders at the store, but that would need to be confirmed with them. Their website covers their nationwide network, so I think a direct verbal contact with the David store(s) would be best, to confirm that they have resumed operations.. Their "Contactenos" button on the website provides for email exchange, and who knows how (un)responsive that might be... I have 775-9343 and 775-9802 as Novey phone numbers in David. FWIW.
  2. The protocol for reopening the economy promised for today has been published, in the form of a 25-page booklet. The main gist of the booklet has been summarized in an article in today's La Prensa, and I offer my translation of the main part of that article: QUOTE ==== The guidelines "for the return to normality of post-Covid-19 companies in Panama", is published on the website of the Ministry of Health (Minsa). Personnel from the Ministry, the Social Security Fund and the Ministry of Commerce and Industries participated in the preparation of the document, with the support of advisers from the Pan American Health Organization and the Ministry of Economy and Finance. The document includes the points that public institutions and private companies must comply with in order to "guarantee" a safe return for workers in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. Companies and entities, to return to operate and serve the public, must meet five points: 1. In each public entity, private company and every economic sector, a special health and hygiene committee must be created for the prevention and care of the new coronavirus, which will be in charge of enforcing the protocols and guides issued by the Minsa. 2. Workers, clients, suppliers and visitors must follow prevention measures and controls, such as frequent hand washing with soap and water (recommended every half hour), use alcohol-based gel and masks, maintain physical distance of at least 2 meters between people and have general protective equipment according to the work activity they carry out. In addition, areas and surfaces must be disinfected and debris must be properly managed. 3. The premises will have to establish special hours and restrict the number of people so that physical distance can be kept. The teleworking modality will help to fulfill this point. 4. Frequent monitoring of the symptoms of employees and clients must be carried out, as well as the taking of temperature. No one will be allowed to enter who sets a temperature of 38 degrees or more. 5. Work stress management and psychological help. The return to work will be "gradual and scheduled", for which reason it is requested to establish special hours and promote modalities such as teleworking. "For face-to-face roles, avoid personnel from vulnerable groups: adults over 60 years of age, workers with comorbidity, pregnant women, etc., for whom teleworking may be considered." UNQUOTE ==========
  3. Interesting article in La Prensa suggesting that Panama may have a bit of a constitutional crisis. Informal translation follows: QUOTE Mayors may not acknowledge the Executive's decision on a dry law? The decision of the Executive to end today the dry law, was not well received by the Association of Municipalities of Panama. However, the mayors cannot ignore the measure. By José Arcia - Updated 05/08/2020 The decision of the Executive to end today the dry law, was not well received by the Association of Municipalities of Panama. However, the mayors cannot ignore the measure. Mayors may be unaware of the Executive's decision on dry law? That is the opinion of the constitutional lawyer Ernesto Cedeño, who explained in his twitter account that Law 38 of 2000 establishes that the decisions of the Executive are above the mayoral decrees and the municipal agreements. "In a state of law, even if you do not like a decision of the Executive, you must abide by it," he said. "The mayors can execute the norms established by the municipal councils that are below what the Executive establishes, the laws and the Constitution," the lawyer noted. As a result of the fact that the Central Government announced last Wednesday, the lifting of the dry law, some mayors such as the one in Santiago, Veraguas, issued a dry law decree. For his part, the mayor of Panama, José Luis Fábrega, said that he will abide by the government's decision. UNQUOTE
  4. The earlier post says "for an unspecified period of time". My reading of mayor Josmar Alvarado's decree says that the ban on alcoholic beverages will continue until the National State of Emergency is lifted. He also set fines for non-compliance (100 Balboas first offense, 500 for the second).
  5. For clarity's sake - machine translation of today's Resolution #395 of Ministry of Health, per machine translation: First: Restrict the mobility of people in the national territory on Saturday, May 2, 2020, during which it will not be possible to circulate, except for health reasons or the exercise of work activity, provided that the necessary safe-conduct is available. . Second: Remain in force the exceptions contained in Executive Decree No. 490 of March 17, 2020 and their modifications introduced through Executive Decrees No. 507 of March 23, 2020, No. 513 of March 27, 2020 and No. 541 of April 21, 2020.
  6. I have been watching for clues about when the lockdown measures might be lifted. Today for the first time I have found a discussion of the issue in Mi Diario. The link is here: https://www.midiario.com/salud/saez-llorens-revela-fecha-probable-para-pensar-en-levantar-cuarentena-tiene-una-autocritica/ and machine translation of the key part of the article is this: The infectologist Xavier Sáez Llorens, from the Advisory Committee in the Ministry of Health in the fight against Covid-19, stated that without the quarantine the situation was chaotic in Panama, he explained that the measure has given results and that the crucial moment will be the next weeks two weeks, because it will determine if the confinement measure can be gradually lifted. Although the deadly virus will not be eradicated apparently in the remainder of the year, according to Sáez Llorens, lifting the quarantine will be possible soon if the population follows the measures with strict compliance these two weeks. However, he complained that just this Wednesday, April 29, he noticed many people on the street. "Eye; many people on the street, "he said. What was endorsed by Dr. Miguel Mayo. (MY NOTE: I believe Dr. Mayo was Minister of Health under President Varela) "Too many people. It must be more energetic in quarantine measures, but support for the vulnerable is essential and must be done in an articulated way to be effective, with the help of the population, "said Mayo. For Dr. Sáez Llorens, we must not lower our guard, since the quarantine has had a favorable impact, "because it flattened the epidemiological curve from the week of April 5-11 and turned the" peak "into a prolonged flat plateau, displaced to the right (May) ”. He mentioned the following indications that suggest that the descent of that mountain of cases will come soon: “Data on beds in hospital-Intensive Care Unit (ICU); Rt around 1 (with its margin of error or confidence intervals) and Rt = 1 based on deaths (hard data, less subject to biases and uncertainties); number of recovered exceeding the number of active cases ”. He announced that the drop in cases "could occur in the week of May 4 or 11, at which time it could be decided to suspend the quarantine and move to planned, gradual, staggered and perhaps localized mitigation measures." He stressed that this could happen as long as these days the population remains at home to achieve the desired mitigation and to be able to lift the quarantine. In that sense, the minister, Rosario Turner, warned on Tuesday night that the reproductive number of cases (Rt) is 1.15 for the country, but that in Colón, Coclé and Veraguas the Rt is still greater than 1 , while in Chiriquí the behavior has improved, which will be taken into account at the time it is decided to suspend the quarantine. The minister explained that "this opening will be done gradually, and will take into account the Rt of each province, the risk of economic activity and the ability to respond." Sáez Llorens highlighted as vital that the health system has not exceeded 60% of its capacity, “although danger was visualized if the Rt of 1.7-1.8 (number of people infected by a positive) had remained stable; that is the mattress that we will have to monitor when lifting quarantine, remembering that influenza season is also coming, "he warned. He said that "countries that apparently have not been much affected by now, could have a worse time than us the rest of the year: endurance race, not speed."
  7. I am linking to a transcript of an interview with two emergency medicine doctors in the US. Not directly related to Panama, nevertheless it should be of great interest locally. They predict a surge in disease and other public health problems as quarantine is lifted. Their bottom line is that you quarantine sick people, not healthy people. The quarantine is impairing everyone's auto-immune system, and we will suffer the consequences. https://www.aier.org/article/open-up-society-now-say-dr-dan-erickson-and-dr-artin-massihi/
  8. Subject to obtaining the required approvals, COPA's tentative plan is to restart flying on June 1, with 50 destinations served at the outset. The preliminary weekly schedule was published today by La Prensa: the table notes destination cities and the number of weekly flights planned for each.
  9. Perhaps someone can track down and publish the numbers for the overall mortality rate in Panama. They must be available, since we have daily figures for the COVID-19 fatalities. Keep in mind that the average mortality rate in Panama from all causes in previous years hovers around 50 per day.
  10. BEWARE OF FAKE NEWS. A neighbor was in an uproar over the announcement that all supermarkets and pharmacies were to be closed for two weeks, with the country on total lockdown. This was some kind of broadcast made on social networks. About an hour ago the National Police put out a communique, saying that the information was false.
  11. My gardener got a pass a couple of days ago. It's essentially a "Safe Conduct" certificate. SALVO CONDUCTO DE CIRCULACION DE PRODUCTOR. It was issued by the Ministry of Agricultural Development, and is valid for 60 days.
  12. Just to get some context for the statistics, I looked up Panama on the World Health Organization website. The most recent year available at WHO is 2015 (MINSA probably has more recent), but this is what they have for that year: Total deaths, all causes, in Panama in 2015: 18,182 Deaths in Panama from Influenza, Pneumonia and Chronic Lower Respiratory Disease in 2015: 1,053
  13. This is the website I monitor - it is updated continuously around the clock. Apparently put together by a teenager... https://ncov2019.live/data
  14. This is a follow-on to my earlier post about the potential consequences of economic hardship caused by the lockdown measures. Yesterday a food market looting attempt was recorded in one of the poorer neighborhoods of Panama province. My loose translation of the news item: People are spiraling out of control. They attempted to loot a mini-super in Santa Marta. They were arrested. In the midst of the national health crisis due to the coronavirus in Panama, several individuals entered a mini-super located in the Santa Marta sector of the San Miguelito district, in a group, supposedly in a looting attempt. The National Police was alerted and reacted promptly and managed to capture the alleged perpetrators committing the crime. The criminal act was thwarted and the subjects were transferred to the Santa Marta barracks. The police confirmed that they captured eight people in the flagrant crime within the mini-supermarket. Here is the link to the article: https://www.midiario.com/policiales/la-gente-se-esta-saliendo-de-control-ingresaron-a-saquear-minisuper-en-santa-marta-los-capturan/
  15. The economic consequences of the lockdown are starting to bite. Yesterday's TVN Noticias (March 20, 2020) carried an article about the desperation of casual employees of the food service businesses in Chiriqui. There is a hint at the end of the article that desperate people are driven to act. My rough translation follows: March 20, 2020 on TVN Noticias Merchants in Chiriqui concerned about situation and lack of resources A group of women and casual workers in bars, canteens, barbecues and other establishments in the province of Chiriqui, who have been closed for more than seven days, assured that they are desperate, because they are unable to provide a livelihood to their homes. They assure that they were employed in the sale of food, utensils and other articles in the night establishments, from which they could subsist, but now they are unable to do it. “We do not have a salary, but what we do day by day, that is why for several days we have been left with nothing and are unable to go seek it, because they are still closed and there is a curfew,” they highlighted. They hope that the government will give them help soon, because some said, "their children do not understand about crisis, virus or restrictive measures." They explained that they are humble people, who live in neighborhoods and populous places, where they have to figure out how to bring in food. "The help must be quick, to avoid that the desperation of the parents leads them to carry out inappropriate actions," they asserted.
  16. Received today from Price Smart - Machine translated - apparently applies to all of their locations: Dear partner, To ensure your health and safety and that of our employees, please take the following measures into account: From our side: We are continually instructing our employees to ensure compliance with regulatory health and safety procedures. We are doing extensive cleanings of all surfaces and spaces, and will supply hand sanitizer throughout the club. We may limit the quantity of certain products that are low in inventory in purchases. We will continue to restock our merchandise as soon as possible, which may mean changes in brand and product sizes compared to what we normally provide in clubs. We are limiting the number of members who can access the club simultaneously, to avoid crowds. Given the exceptional nature of the situation, the Optics, Tires and Food Area services will remain closed. We appreciate your collaboration: We recommend keeping a minimum distance of 1 meter with other members while you are in the club. If possible, only one member per family should enter the club so that other members can make their purchase. As much as possible, avoid bringing children to the club. Avoid making cash payments; prioritize card payment to avoid contact. In some clubs we are modifying the hours of attention to the members to have an extended shopping schedule. In other clubs we have had to reduce hours to comply with the regulation. Visit PriceSmart.com or our social media for recent information on our services and hours. To ensure a better shopping experience, follow the recommendations of our club employees. WE APPRECIATE COOPERATION AS WE STRIVE TO MEET YOUR NEEDS IN A SAFE AND RESPONSIBLE MANNER.
  17. A BUNCH OF VISITORS HAVE BEEN QUARANTINED, SENT HOME My translation of news item from TVN Noticias: A group of foreigners are kept inside a sanitary enclosure on the upper coast of colon. It is a group of tourists who had come to Panama to participate in the Tribal Challenge, a festival with electronic music in which people mainly from Europe, the United States and South America participate. The festival has been held for several years in the Cuango sector. Authorities have established a quarantine, testing COVID-19 on people with respiratory symptoms. The people tested were negative for COVID-19. "We are surprised that people who had this festival were given permission," said Iracema de Dale, governor of Colon. "The Ministry of Health has taken precautions. All those people who are there and have more than 14, 15 days, we have escorted them to the airport to leave. Those who do not have the 14 days have to remain protected until they complete that period of isolation", she added. The governor detailed that some of these visitors contacted the Tocumen International Airport and were escorted by the Aeronaval Service and the National Police to leave the country after complying with the corresponding sanitary measures. "We must accept that Colon is a vulnerable province. We have a coast, fewer ports, so many tourists who come from cruise ships. So we are taking the measures, following the instructions of the Ministry of Health", emphasized the Governor.
  18. Major Correction to earlier information. The Ministry of Health published an interesting addendum to the closure order. It seems that restaurants may remain open as long as they don't have more than 50 people in the place at one time. MY informal translation: QUOTE Clarification We regret the confusion that has been generated, we reiterate the are the establishments that will remain closed from Monday March 16, 2020. Bars, discotheques, canteens, barbecues, party rooms, circuses, billiards, theaters, cinemas, swimming pools, sports fields, gyms, playgrounds, working hours, casinos, convention centers (including convention centers within hotels), motorcycle racetracks and sports centers. In addition, establishments that concentrate 50 or more people at the same time will be subject to sanctions. UNQUOTE
  19. This email from my doctor in David, this evening: Hello Jim The government has mandated that we start applying severe measures of isolation and contention. In other areas of the country both private and public health centers will cancel Outpatient visits, elective procedures and such. We have been instructed to start closing private medical offices as well starting tomorrow. We had dinner at The Rock. The owner was notified this evening that all restaurants are to close, indefinitely. The country is headed for total lockdown - only groceries, pharmacies, and gas stations to be open. Inbound foreigners to be blocked at the entry point. No more than fifty people in any retail establishment at one time, people to wait in line outside separated by at least one meter... yada yada
  20. If you wish to access the most reliable statistics concerning the coronavirus spread, there is a website that is updated every few seconds. It displays the number of confirmed cases, the fatalities, the recoveries, and the number of cases considered serious. You have to scroll pretty far down to find Panama, which as of this writing has 8 confirmed cases and one fatality (The 50-year old female principal of the big high school in San Miguelito who had just returned from a trip to Spain). The website link is: https://ncov2019.live/data
  21. The Mayor of Boquete is requesting a health inspection all visitors to Boquete. Here is my loose translation of his letter of yesterday to the Ministry of Health. I am attaching an image of the original for reference.
  22. New cases reported Saturday, March 7 in China: 99. Reminiscent of the 2009 Swine Flu (H1N1) panic. Big gains for Merck, Novartis, Pfizer, et al. This morning, US stocks open with a huge drop (1500 points on the Dow, 5.5%). Practically only gainer is Wal-Mart. Strongest stocks (i.e. least weak): Pfizer, Merck, Lilly. Interesting.
  23. From the Center for Disease Control in the US, the 2017-2018 flu season saw 959,000 hospitalizations for the flu in the US, with 61,099 deaths. Last year, 2018-2019 season, the numbers were 490,000 and 34,200. Of the 100+ deaths so far in Italy, the average age was 81 (42% aged between 80 and 89, 14% aged 90 and older, 73% male). My next birthday will be my 81st. My perspective is that a healthy immune system is what protects a person from the consequences of having the virus. I am assuming that I will unknowingly have the virus at some point. I am boosting my immune system with vitamin C and Zinc supplements (the latter to get those T-cells going) and Curcumin to have a defense against inflammation, which is how pneumonia kills. Speaking on “America’s Newsroom” this week, Dr. James Phillips, operational medicine fellowship director at George Washington University, said that most people who contract the coronavirus will “do just fine.” “Most of us are going to get this virus. It’s undeniable,” said Phillips. “You won’t find a single expert out there who is saying that this is going to be contained. “And, the more we learn about it, the more we see that the spread is going to be global and, for the most part, that’s OK because the data we know from China shows that roughly 98 to 99 percent of us are going to do very, very well.” Here's a link to the good doctor's interview if you want more (he's an emergency room specialist): https://www.foxnews.com/media/james-phillips-americans-must-live-their-lives-99-of-people-who-get-cv-will-be-fine
  24. In general, it seems that the symptoms for the coronavirus infection are somewhat different from the "common" flu. The common flu symptoms include fever, sinus congestion and runny nose. The coronavirus symptoms include the fever, but not the upper respiratory symptoms. It comes through with lower respiratory symptoms, such as coughing and difficulty breathing (i.e. closer to pneumonia). Nothing says you can't have both, for that matter.
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