Roundup: Glacier Regions Coronavirus Update From Italy, Ecuador, and Pakistan

In Italy…

The worst of the coronavirus outbreak appears to be over, for now. Last week The New York Times reported that thanks to the nationwide lockdown, the number of I.C.U. patients had dropped to 2,812 by Friday, and coronavirus hospitalizations had fallen from a high of 29,010 patients on April 4 to 25,786. Those figures reflect “a steady decline in one of the world’s hardest-hit countries.” GlacierHub has kept up with dispatches from South Tyrol, one of the most impacted glacier regions in the world. A post in Sepp Laner’s fourth corona diary, “Horses Rather Than Guests,” was published in the Schlanders-based media outlet der Vinschger, in the Italian Alps. The stirring post (translated from German) reads:

Everything will be fine? Yes, everything will be fine. “Alles wird gut.”
The only question is when. Nobody knows the exact answer yet. But we hope and believe that it is clear that everything will be fine again.
The message hangs from balconies of houses and apartments, on the social support agency, at the community center and in many other places. Besides saying that everything is fine, the colors of the posters also stand out. There are bright and happy colors that convey hope. There is silence in the air.
Quiet, that actually fits well with today’s Holy Saturday, the day of the Lord’s rest in His grave.  And when it gets quiet all around, we listen and we can observe things that otherwise almost always go unnoticed. On the meadow in front of the local hotel that I see from the balcony, it was always teeming with children who were playing there, taking part in their Easter vacation brimming with holiday kids playing. Now it’s the horses of the nature-based riding school, who graze there and chase flies away with their tails.

Lake Garda, where thousands of vacationers, including some from our province, rush around each year at this time, there is nothing. Also the international three-country race at Schöneben (a ski race right at the point where Italy, Austria and Switzerland meet, with a route that includes all three countries), which is always takes place on Easter Monday has been, swallowed by the coronavirus, like the Haflinger horse race in Meran and countless other fixed events. Social, sporting, cultural, religious and economic life has had a veil put over it. Everything is covered. Almost nothing is fixed. Everything flows, said Heraclitus. What will flow after this year and beyond, nobody can say. It will be years, if not decades, until the
material and spiritual wounds that the virus is tearing open around the world will heal.  I can’t give up the hope that we have a better world. “Everything will be fine,” old Max calls out from the top floor of the civic center. He holds up four fingers up, and with this gesture  says, “We’ve been ‘locked up’ here for 4 weeks.” Nobody is allowed in, nobody out. It is certain is that this time will find its end. In this sense, every day we allow to pass in a disciplined and “well-behaved” way is a small success. The countdown is running.

In Ecuador…

As of April 19, reported cases are concentrated in the Pacific Coast region. In the highlands, where there are a number of glaciated peaks, cases are primarily in the larger towns. Only two largest cities have more than 100 cases––the capital city of Quito with 757, and Cuenca, with a population of 1.6 million, has 193 confirmed cases. The coastal city of Guayaquil, by comparison, has 4,822 out of a population of 2.3 million––Ecuador’s largest city.

Lack of tests and challenges to organizations that report deaths show significant undercounting and large demand at funeral homes in Ecuador. Preference of some families to bury their dead in hometown ceremonies has challenged lockdown efforts. Police checkpoints on roads to limit movement have complicated efforts of families to bring the bodies of relatives home for burial. In the tweet below, police inspect a truck transporting hidden bodies of people from Guayaquil home to mountain provinces of Chimborazo and Tungurahua.

In Riobamba, the situation in hospitals is difficult. Below, a tweet reports a patient with suspected coronavirus symptoms fled the government hospital and police tracked him back to his house.

The Ecuadorean government is conducting food deliveries to elderly people facing food insecurity, where proximity to paved roads and accessibility is a determinant of aid.

In Pakistan…

In the tweet by the deputy commissioner of Nagar, in the northern part of Gilgit–Baltistan, the community is commended for their resolve to maintain social distancing:

“India give us food, Imran is killing us,” said the chief minister of Gilgit-Baltistan, referring to the prime minister of Pakistan. Food shortages have resulted in runaway prices in the region.

Though Gilgit-Baltistan is the second-most tested province in the country, the chart below indicates disproportionate rates of testing. “Islamabad maintains its crown of ensuring it comes first,” one Twitter user said.

Read More on GlacierHub:

Roundup: Covid-19 Reports From Glacier Regions

Photo Friday: Coronavirus Shutdown Brings Clean Air, Clear Mountain Views

The Covid-19 Pandemic Complicates Tourism in the Everest Region

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