Although there are still no final recommendations, the government is considering a stricter closure to prevent further increases in coronavirus cases, but it would not reach a total closure as implemented in mid-March, according to the Secretary of Health, Lorenzo González.
Governor Wanda Vázquez yesterday held a meeting with representatives of the country's medical and economic sector in La Fortaleza. Today the groups will meet again in the Department of Health to discuss the proposals.
When leaving the meeting yesterday, González let it be known that the next executive order would last 21 days, instead of 15 days as it has been until now. He also indicated that they will evaluate the activities in closed places. He did not rule out that the new restrictions include businesses such as indoor shopping malls and restaurants. The goal is that the projection that the confirmed and probable cases of Covid-19 will reach 30,000 by September 1.
“It will be more restrictive when it comes to closed centers. Restrictive in the context of us as regulators. The other part is to continue the effort to educate the population, working with the media and health educators, ”said González.
Regarding the schools, the official reiterated that the numbers as they are would not allow a face-to-face return of students and teachers on September 17, as planned by the Department of Education.
The spokespersons of the economic sector left the meeting and many preferred not to speak to the press.
Juan Carlos Agosto, president of the Chamber of Commerce , admitted that there is concern among merchants about the impact of a more restrictive closure. He added that there are no longer federal benefits like those that came in the first months of the curfew due to the pandemic.
“I think the government is looking – before publishing the executive order – to see the different proposals it has on the table. . He has concerns about aggressive lockdowns. We agree to continue working on it ”, expressed Agosto. “Without health there is no economy, we are clear on that. We have a meeting tomorrow (today) to see how we can reach an understanding to protect health and the economy, "he said.
Balance between health and economy
Manuel Laboy, secretary of the Department of Economic Development and Trade (DDEC), said for his part that the economy is now in a worse position than it was in March and April.
“We all recognize that the situation of the pandemic is very worrying and the numbers are there ", he claimed. "There is a lot of concern from the public that the economy is very weak and we have to find a way to have both and that was what was discussed," Laboy said.
When asked about shopping centers, he added that “many alternatives are being evaluated. I hope that by tomorrow (today) both the medical and the economic 'task force' can achieve certain consensus. ”
The head of the DDEC admitted that there are no longer the funds that arrived in March to handle the layoffs and assist the businesses that they closed their doors due to the pandemic.
“Neither federal funds exist nor state funds are enough; there is not enough money to fix an economy because they are designed to help and mitigate. But the money that is available cannot prevent a collapse. That is why we must find a balance so that the health and economic sectors feel comfortable, attend to the pandemic and minimize the economic impact, ”Laboy said.
Part of the federal aid went to help private hospitals. The most recent was $ 150 million. González said that the next package will be accompanied by a demand for personnel to be hired and have the necessary equipment to protect health workers.
The current executive order for Covid-19 is in effect until tomorrow. There is currently a curfew between 10:00 p.m. and at 5:00 a.m., the bars are kept closed and the sale of alcohol is prohibited from 7:00 p.m. Gyms and other places like casinos are also closed. The order allows the arrest of people who do not wear a mask.
EL VOCERO requested information on how many people have been arrested for not wearing a mask, but at press time it was not reported.