The additional restrictions to combat the COVID-19 pandemic included in the new executive order issued today by Governor Wanda Vázquez were seen by various sectors as sufficiently balanced to ensure the well-being of the people and affect the already battered economy as little as possible, although a representative of the medical community warned that great concern remains about the rebound of the dangerous virus and will have to be closely monitored if these new restrictions really have a positive impact.
Shortly before After announcing the changes to the executive order, the governor met with a group of people that included members of her cabinet, mayors, as well as representatives of the medical advisory council and the economic advisory council, among others, to talk to them about the measures that would announce.
The mayor of Villalba, Luis Javier Hernández interim president of the Association of Mayor des, said that the measures impose more supervision and more rigor for those who do not comply with the measures of distancing and use of a mask.
“We had raised several things with the governor during the conversation. Number one is a massive education campaign in the country, and I think they are going to start working on it "Hernández said.
He added that they also stated that the campaign, beyond promoting the use of masks and distancing, “Which also promotes the use of the municipal tracking system. We have cases in which people are not calling the system, and we are receiving the results late, and the person has already had contacts with too many people. ”
Hernández said that the governor made a commitment to transfer additional funds from the federal law known as CARES to municipalities so that they can join the implementation and supervision of these measures together with the state police.
The mayor of Arecibo and president of the Federation of Mayors, Carlos Molina, He argued that the measures adopted by the governor group together the recommendations of the economic team and the medical team and added that "he emphasized that the Puerto Rico Police will be enforcing the executive order."
"So I think that we all take care of ourselves. This is a great reality, COVID is a great reality that we are living. And every time we go out into the street, if we don't take the measures, then we have this situation that causes damage to our population. So everyone has to do their part, to enforce the law and take care of our people too ”said Molina.
Iván Báez who belongs to the economic advisory council, He said that "our message was heard" and considered that the order "achieved a good agreement between both 'task forces' (advisory councils), the doctor and the private sector, to ensure that the pandemic is controlled but at the same time not the economy is impacted more. ”
He assured that the economic council“ presented scientific evidence of how our businesses operate, and at the same time the self-monitoring measures that we are going to present soon, certainly there are some statistics and trade at These are not necessarily the sources of a pandemic. ”
Manuel Laboy Secretary of Economic Development and Commerce, explained that the recommendation of the medical advisory team had been to go to a total closure as was done in March, “and that alternative from the economic point of view, we understood that it was not feasible, although we agree that we have to take measures to address the situation of the rise in infections. "
" We cannot see health and economy as something that is necessarily colliding. Quite the opposite. Without health there is no life and there is no economy, but without economy there is no health either. So I think today what the governor announced is the art of what could be achieved. It is a balance where it allows the commercial sector, the private sector, to continue ”he said.
“ All this is the result of a negotiation between the working groups and that the governor accepted as a recommendation, it does not remove the fact that there is a responsibility of the rest of the citizenry. So these next 21, it does not mean that there is no economic impact, there will be anyway, but we understand that it is the balance that was being sought. And now we have to redouble efforts in the educational campaign, contact tracing, everything that has to do with educating and supervising. That person or that business that does not comply will have to bear the consequences. But this came to a point when if not all of us row to the same side, it is more difficult for us to attend to this crisis ”added Laboy.
But doctor Juan Carlos Reyes Epidemiologist and member of the medical advisory team, said they are still concerned.
“There are some measures that should definitely help. Now, we are waiting to see how this audit will be carried out on the part of the economic part, business, industry, and how much of this is going to be carried out also in the inspection of open sectors , where the Puerto Rico police, together with other media, will be able to use their resources so that people begin to respect more the question of masks and everything that has to do with crowds outside closed places ”
Reyes insisted that the situation "is worrying" and reviewed that "we are seeing a rebound in cases, an average of weekly cases that continues to increase, we are seeing more cases of mortality." He argued that they did an exercise to model a projection of how the cases would be by the end of August, based on current figures from the Department of Health and assuming that no action was taken to control infections, and found that we would have more than 17,500 confirmed cases and more than 500 deaths.
“We know that the economy is devastated and we know that these measures increasingly destroy these businesses and increase unemployment in the country, but everything that has to do with restrictions on places Wherever people are locked up, these are places that we definitely have to avoid. People should not visit places where the air is recirculating because, if they remove their masks, they are at risk there ”the doctor insisted.