Roundup: Coronavirus Update from Peru, Tajikistan

Despite coronavirus cases in the US approaching 1.2 million this week, the governors of many American states allowed stay-at-home orders to expire. Protests incited by quarantine-fatigue, economic hardship, and in some cases, encouraged by the president, have ratcheted up pressure on governors to reopen economies. Meanwhile, many nations are seeing a steep upward trajectory in the virus’ exponential spread, including the glacier nations of Peru and Tajikistan.

In Peru, a mother carried her three-year-old child, who died in her arms. She had brought him to Lima to seek medical treatment, but then returned to the highlands in the country’s interior.

According to Johns Hopkins University, there are more than 45,000 confirmed cases in Peru, with more than 1,200 dead. People who return to the highlands from Lima have to quarantine.

El Informante Perú reports 47 prisoners and four employees tested positive for coronavirus in the prison in Huaraz, in the Cordillera Blanca.

Tajikistan, a mountainous country in the Pamirs of Central Asia, had seemed to largely avoid coronavirus impacts until reports of cases recently surfaced. Though Johns Hopkins University reports just 230 cases and three deaths there, some of the tweets below suggest a more complicated picture emerging.

On April 30, the Daily Sabah reported Tajikistan detected its first 15 cases.

Overcrowding was reported at the country’s National Medical Center (Karobolo hospital). On May 2, one Twitter user reported the mother of a popular Tajik activist was denied care.

A tweet by Tajik Culture on May 2 reports “Unfortunately, the pandemic situation in Tajikistan is getting worse.”

On May 3, a medical student in Dushanbe, the capital city and the country’s largest population center, reported a rapid spread of coronavirus.

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COVID-19 in Glacier Regions Update: Latin America Responds, Italy Uses Drones to Enforce Quarantine, and the US Copes

For the past two weeks GlacierHub has made space in the usual Monday news roundup for coverage of the coronavirus pandemic as it impacts glacier regions. In continuing that reporting, the following is an aggregation of coronavirus news stories from global glacier regions:

SOUTH AMERICA

Though the novel coronavirus has yet to infect Latin America on the same scale as other regions, governments there have learned from the failings elsewhere and acted swiftly to mitigate the virus’ impact with military roadblocks, curfews, and border closures.

Economist Eduardo Zegarra wrote in Noticias SER.PE: The Peasant Federation of the Department of Puno (FDCP) is a major branch of the Peruvian Peasant Federation, representing the mountainous region of the Peruvian altiplano.  On March 27, the FDCP issued a declaration about the pandemic. It stated that peasant communities, often seen as a backward element in Peru, and as a sign of rural poverty, are a fundamental part of the “social and economic fabric to face the crisis.”  However, in reality the communities are a “very important local governance space,” with well-demarcated territories, and  Indigenous knowledge to manage their lands and natural resources. The FDCP declares that it is “urgent to bring the rural areas closer to the national defense system against COVID-19 in rural areas, to strengthen territorial control measures that (already) are being successfully implemented by local communities and governments.” They state that it is important to “maintain virus-free territories, extending control and surveillance systems in all provinces and districts, and establish a rigid protocol of entry and exit to those areas. ” In other words, the peasant communities claim a position for themselves as key actors in the territorial control that is needed to managed the pandemic in the vast rural areas of Peru.

In Peru, the crisis has also brought the issue of access to clean water to the fore. The well-known sociologist Maria Teresa Oré, of the Peruvian Catholic University, published a post on 23 March in PuntoEdu, the web portal of that university. She stated, “Washing your hands with soap and water for twenty seconds, a number of times a day: this is the first measure recommended worldwide to combat COVID-19. Water has returned to take center stage in times of pandemic. However, who in Peru has access to drinking water 24 hours a day, in cities and in rural areas? A family from Carabayllo or the Lima district of Surco? The peasant families of the Apurímac or Puno regions? Having access to drinking water is a right that is not shared by all Peruvian families…What lesson have we learned in the wake of March 22, International Water Day, in the time of coronavirus? The pandemic opens a window of opportunity to draw attention to the need for transparent public water management that provides water security, and access to drinking water and sanitation for all Peruvians. This is the way to protect and guarantee the health of the entire population, understanding that access to drinking water is a human right and water is a common good.”

While Latin American governments are acting early, enforcement of quarantine regulations has exceeded that of most Western nations. In the video tweet below, more than 50 people have been detained in the early hours of the stay-at-home order in the northern cities of Chimbote, Huaraz, and Coischco.

In a protective measure, indigenous communities in the Ecuadorean Andes used available resources to physically block a road:

EUROPE

In South Tyrol, a glaciated region in the Italian Alps, drones are being used to enforce stay-at-home regulations:

In a tweet, the French mountaineering society said, “don’t come to the mountains, let health care professionals focus on coronavirus.”

CENTRAL ASIA

The coronavirus pandemic has brought joyful moments, like this scene outside of an isolation center in Pakistani Karakoram, a region with one of the world’s densest concentrations of glaciers.

NORTH AMERICA

In the US, shelter in place orders have been issued unevenly across states and municipalities. The half measures have left many people to opt outside, where they have congregated in outdoor recreation areas, including Glacier National Park, which has since closed as of March 27. Mount Rainier National Park also made the decision to shut down operations.

In Bellingham, Washington, residents hosted community based socially distancing with a “Lawn Chair Happy Hour.” Mount Baker makes an appearance at the end of the video.

Read More on GlacierHub:

Roundup: COVID-19 Glacier Regions Update, Some US National Parks Close, Mines in the Peruvian Andes, and 2020 Research Put On Ice

Roundup: COVID-19 in Glacier Regions

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