DR1 Daily News - Friday, 3 April 2020


May 3, 2000
Coronavirus tally in DR: 1,380 cases, 60 deaths
PAHO says Greater Santo Domingo and three provinces are headed for peak in Covid-19
New health department app to share info on the coronavirus
Attorney General orders those who violate curfew to be assigned to pick up garbage
City government builds a common grave for victims of the coronavirus in Santiago
World Bank: US$150 million for Covid-19 response
Rainieri family and Puntacana Group donate RD$100 million to combat Covid-19
Al Horford donates $500,000 to help overcome Covid-19
Three more flights to New York
Vice President Margarita Cedeño: “Vote for experience”
Dominican Republic is paying the price of rampant corruption in hospital renovations
Business as usual: Irregularities in medical supply purchases
Irregularity in Inaipi bid for RD$100 million in food
Demand for fuel collapses as Dominicans stay at home
Merca Santo Domingo fills in void for Mercado Nuevo
San Jose de Ocoa does what it can to avoid the spread of Covid-19

Coronavirus tally in DR: 1,380 cases, 60 deaths
The Ministry of Public Health reports on 1,380 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the Dominican Republic as of 1 April 2020 at 6pm, according to Coronavirus Bulletin #14. The number of cases is 96 more than the previous 1,284. Of these, 179 persons are hospitalized and another 1,125 are monitored while in self-isolation or in isolation shelters. There are 60 deaths now, up from 57 on the previous day.

The concentration of cases by place of residence is 39% in the National District, 14% in the province of Santo Domingo, 12% in Santiago, and 8% in Duarte province.

Provinces with the most new cases are: Santo Domingo province (22), Santiago (21), National District (15), Duarte / San Francisco de Macorís (9), La Vega (4), La Romana (4) and Sánchez Ramírez (4).

The Ministry of Public Health reports the results of 4,018 tests as compiled by the National Epidemiology Surveillance System (SINAVE). Of the tests given, 2,638 were negative. Testing is still very limited in the country, with long waiting lists even in the cases of persons with apparent symptoms. The number of tests, nevertheless, is expected to increase significantly this week as more have arrived to the country and the pace of testing people have been stepped up considerably.

Public Health Minister Dr. Sánchez Cárdenas said that there were six persons discharged on 1 April. These included two Venezuelan women of 20 years old; an 8-year old Ukrainian child; a 70-year old Canadian woman; an 82-year old Dominican and a 56-year old Dominican.

According to Bulletin #14 of the Ministry’s Epidemiology Directorate-General, the evolution of the health crisis nationwide is:

National District: 535 cases, 15 new cases, 11 deaths
Santo Domingo province: 190 cases, 22 new cases, 7 deaths, including 1 new death
Santiago: 159 cases, 21 new cases, 2 deaths
Duarte (San Francisco de Macorís): 110 cases, 9 new cases, 24 deaths
La Vega: 88 cases, 4 new cases, 2 deaths
La Altagracia (Higuey, Veron, Punta Cana): 35 cases, 3 new cases
Puerto Plata: 30 cases, 2 new cases
Espaillat (Moca): 28 cases
Monseñor Nouel (Bonao): 28 cases, 1 new case, 2 deaths
La Romana: 28 cases, 4 new cases
San Cristóbal: 21 cases, 1 death
San Pedro de Macorís: 23 cases, 3 new cases
Hermanas Mirabal: 17 cases, 2 new cases
Samaná: 13 cases, 1 death
Sánchez Ramírez (Cotuí): 17 cases, 4 new cases, 2 deaths
Azua: 7 cases
Valverde: 8 cases
San Juan de la Maguana: 7 cases, 2 deaths
Barahona: 11 cases, 4 new cases
María Trinidad Sánchez (Salcedo): 8 cases, 1 death
Hato Mayor: 3 cases
Monte Plata: 2 cases, 1 death
Dajabón: 1 new case
Independencia: 1 case
Pedernales: 1 case
El Seibo: 1 new case

Provinces with no reported cases of Covid-19 as of 1 April 2020 at 6pm: Bahoruco, Elías Piña, and San José de Ocoa.

The first case of Covid-19 was detected on 1 March 2020, just two weeks before a municipal election was scheduled and after a month of intense carnival partying.

The government announced on 2 April 2020 that it is extending the curfew for another 15 days, or through 18 April and has requested another 25 days for the State of Emergency that began on 19 March 2020 and expires on 13 April 2020. Congress needs to meet for the approval. The Senate would meet on Monday to review the extension of the State of Emergency.

The Ministry of Public Health continues to urge people to stay at home, keep social distance, exercise maximum hygiene, to not touch faces, and exercise self-isolation when having symptoms or having been in contact with persons who have tested positive or have symptoms. Supermarkets, pharmacies and banks are requiring that persons use facial masks to enter.

Public Health Minister Dr. Sánchez Cárdenas has explained that people who present Covid-19 symptoms (fever, dry cough, shortness of breath) should contact their physician. He says in most cases these patients are stable and don’t need testing or treatment, and are recommended to stay at home until their fever resolves, they stop coughing, and are asymptomatic. Most importantly, he stresses these people need to self-isolate to not spread the disease to family and friends. In general, people are asked to avoid gatherings.

During the press conference on 2 April 2020, Dr. Sánchez Cárdenas said that President Danilo Medina had given orders that all resources that are needed be available for the management of the outbreak. “We are in the process of the rise of the curve, but there are positive elements in its evolution. That is, we have the resources and will be making adjustments to the budget as needed,” he said.

As of 1 April 2020, there were 16 confirmed cases in Haiti of 154 persons tested. On 19 March, the first two cases of the disease were confirmed in the neighboring country. Haiti has also declared a state of emergency and ordered schools, factories, and religious entities to close, established a curfew, and closed the country’s borders after previously suspending air travel from most countries.

Reports are that around 75 Dominicans have died in New York City. New York City is the second-largest Dominican city in numbers of Dominican population. Dominicans that want to return to the country need to contact Dominican consulates and embassies abroad.


PAHO says Greater Santo Domingo and three provinces are headed for peak in Covid-19
In an interview with medical journalist Altagracia Ortíz, Dr. Alma Morales, director of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) office in the Dominican Republic, said it is good news the coronavirus outbreak is concentrated in five provinces. She said this leaves the people in other provinces with the opportunity to take containment measures to restrict the spread of the disease. There are still three provinces without confirmed cases – Elías Piña, San José de Ocoa and Bahoruco.

Nevertheless, she forecast the situation will get worse before it gets better. "This week and next week the pandemic has to peak in areas like the National District, you can see it clearly in the statistics," she said. On the other hand, there are still three provinces without cases. She said it is hard to tell whether the virus is not spreading or if it is just that the people have not been tested or the results are not yet in.

Morales said the statistics indicate that people are not fully complying with the physical distancing measures to prevent the spread of the viral disease.

As a step of advancement, she said is the start of the implementation of the antibody rapid response tests in areas with community spread. The positives need to be confirmed by a PCR test.

The coordinator of the High Commission for the Prevention of the Coronavirus, Gustavo Montalvo said in his address on 2 April 2020 that the PAHO had made available US$2 million for the present health crisis.


New health department app to share info on the coronavirus
The Ministry of Public Health launched a new app that can be consulted for comprehensive information on the Covid-19 outbreak and how to get official help. The Aurora MSP was created so people who suspect they have the coronavirus or those wanting to follow up with their home treatment can connect with 200 physicians. The app was launched on the Show del Mediodia at noon.

The Ministry had already launched coronavirusrd.gob.do website.
The government also has a dedicated hotline *462, but people complain it has not been helpful nor has assisted them in getting tested or contacting medical assistance.


Attorney General orders those who violate curfew to be assigned to pick up garbage
In an attempt to discourage thousands that continue to violate the 5pm to 6am curfew, the Attorney General Office issued an order threatening those in violation with forced labor, including collecting garbage. Attorney General Jean Alain Rodriguez said those that are fined will be ordered to carry out community service, especially collaborating in the collection of garbage with the city governments.

From when the curfew began on 19 March 2020 through 2 April, some 23,943 personas had been detained by the Police and the military when in violation of the curfew.


City government builds common grave for victims of the coronavirus in Santiago
The Mayor's Office of Santiago said on Thursday, 2 April that the city government has already secured approval from the Ministry of Public Works for the construction at the Cristo Vivo Cemetery in El Ingenio, Santiago. The construction would be ready in a week, starting on 3 April. The grave will be 24 meters x 7.5 meters with two rows of ten units for 20 or 30 corpses each. Each row will have capacity for 200 or 300 bodies.

Mayor Abel Rodriguez said that the cemeteries in Santiago do not have space available for the overwhelming number of people who may die from the terrible disease. The mayor said construction will start on a first phase with capacity for 200-300 bodies, and if necessary, a second phase will be built with capacity for another 200-300 bodies.

"With deep regret, we make it known to the public that the Santiago City Hall has begun the construction of a common grave, to be prepared for the threat of the coronavirus Covid-19, but we have hope and faith in God that there is no need to use it," said Martínez.

In the Dominican Republic corpse cremation facilities are only available in Santo Domingo.


World Bank: US$150 million for Covid-19 response
The World Bank is making available US$150 million for disaster relief in the Dominican Republic. The funds are disbursed from a contingent credit line, better known as the Catastrophe Deferred Drawdown Option (Cat-DDO), effective since 2018.

Following a request from the Dominican government, the World Bank released the funds to support the country’s efforts to implement emergency measures to contain the spread of Covid-19 and manage the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

“In recent years, the Dominican Republic has been making progress in strengthening its capacity to respond to emergencies, including for public health-related events,” said Alessandro Legrottaglie, country manager for the World Bank. “This rapid financing demonstrates the World Bank’s commitment to support the Dominican Republic’s efforts to respond to the immediate health and social needs of the people in the face of an extraordinary challenge.”

On 19 March 2020, the Dominican Republic declared a state of emergency for 25 days. On 2 April 2020, the government extended this for another 15 days.

The US$150 million is part of an overall US$14 billion fast-track package to strengthen the Covid-19 response in developing countries and shorten the time to recovery.


Rainieri family and Puntacana Group donate RD$100 million to combat Covid-19
The Rainieri family and the Puntacana Group announced a RD$100 million donation to support actions to contain the spread of the coronavirus in the country. The province of La Altagracia has 35 confirmed cases of the Covid-19 virus as of 1 April 2020 at 6pm.

"During these 50 years we have been in solidarity with our country, our province, our people and the communities around us," said Puntacana Group President Frank Rainieri in a statement.

The Puntacana Group wants to tackle the pace of the spread and address the economic impact of the crisis on the population. The Puntacana Group was one of the first in the tourism industry to announce all its employees will receive their pay on time.

The group manages the Punta Cana International Airport, country’s leading airport, which at present is operating at a minimum with the shutdown of international flights. The airport serves the resorts in the Punta Cana area that have closed due to the spread of the virus.


Al Horford donates $500,000 to help overcome Covid-19
Dominican-born Al Horford announced he is donating US$500,000 to support coronavirus relief in the Dominican Republic, as well as in each region of the United States where he's played for a team. Horford has played for the Dominican national basketball team. His father is the first Dominican-born NBA player. The first notice does not give details on how the donation would be channeled in the Dominican Republic.

Al Horford plays for the Philadelphia Sixers. Other teammates have made similar donations to the Covid-19 medical relief efforts.


Three more flights to New York
Delta and JetBlue continue to operate one-way flights to the United States. The flights are landing at the Las Americas International Airport. The United States has promoted that its citizens take the flights back to their home country, or prepare to spend months in the DR.

Listin Diario shares the flight schedule for the next ferry flights:
Three flights to New York. Friday, 3 April 2020, Saturday, 4 April 2020, Sunday, 6 April Jet Blue flight 6119/410 arrival and departure to New York (JFK). Departure time 2:30pm
One flight to Puerto Rico: Sunday, 5 April, JetBlue flight 6147/1938 to San Juan, Puerto Rico (SJU), departing at 2:01pm.

On 2 April 2020, President Danilo Medina issued Decree 142-20 ordering another 15 days of the shutdown of air, sea and land border operations.

The Dominican Civil Aviation Institute (IDAC) says that Dominicans that want to return to the Dominican Republic should contact Dominican consulates and embassies abroad to learn of the coordination of special flights.

There are significant restrictions to the transit and transport through land crossings, seaport and airports to the Dominican Republic and abroad.


Vice President Margarita Cedeño: “Vote for experience”
Vice President Margarita Cedeño called for Dominicans to vote for experience so that the social and economic impacts of the coronavirus outbreak be less. She said that once the country overcomes the health crisis, the nation needs to embark again on a path of progress.

She said that this world crisis should be seen as an opportunity to restructure the Dominican economy. She urged all who want to make donations to do so through the Ministry of Public Health. She urged Dominicans stay at home throughout the duration of the outbreak.

Cedeño is the running mate for Gonzalo Castillo, the two-term former Minister of Public Works, who is running on the ruling Dominican Liberation Party (PLD) ticket.


Dominican Republic is paying the price of rampant corruption in hospital renovations
A report in Acento looks into a major remodeling project of 56 hospitals announced by President Danilo Medina in 2013, in the first year of his first government. Among the hospitals is the San Francisco de Macoris Regional Hospital, the San Vicente de Paul. An investigative news story by Alicia Ortega recently aired showing how little had been done on that hospital despite millions having been spent.

During the report, Acento focuses on how engineering and architectural firms were given but two weeks to bid, and then even those who had won the bids were asked to turn these over to another that did not participate in the bid, in violation of the National Procurement Law.

The story also looks into how the cost of renovating these hospitals increased severalfold.

What is most sad is that now when they are most needed, to care for patients with the coronavirus, the nation gets to see their real status.

President Danilo Medina had announced in his 27 February final account to the nation that 13 hospitals would be inaugurated before the end of his term. He included in that list the San Vicente de Paul in San Francisco, which Alicia Ortega’s footage in her “El Informe con Alicia Ortega” on 30 March 2020 shows almost everything seems to be missing to offer adequate health services at the hospital. Also included in the hospitals to be soon inaugurated by the President is the José Maria Cabral y Baez hospital in Santiago, the country’s largest. Instead, to cater to the demand for hospital beds due to the Covid-19 outbreak, the government has found itself preferring to rent private clinics in Santiago.

Probably the saddest note, though, is that no date is being given to start moving patients into the 600-bed Luis Eduardo Aybar medical complex in the National District. President Danilo Medina had announced to the nation on 27 February that the hospital would be inaugurated on 10 March 2020.


Business as usual: Irregularities in medical supply purchases
Social media and investigative journalists have been on the case of millionaire purchases of supplies under the State of Emergency scheme due to the Covid-19 virus crisis. Investigative journalists Nuria Piera and Altagracia Salazar have been sharing details on these cases.
Investigative journalist Nuria Piera presents several cases of calls for orders lasting just hours and resulting in many times over price increases in the eventual purchases. Among the cases she points out how Tools Resources Toreen SRL is a big winner in bids to supply the Ministry of Public Health.

Journalist Altagracia Salazar also looks into the successful bid for RD$1.5 billion by a government supplier named Tools & Resources Enterprises Toreen, S. R. L. In her investigation, Salazar establishes that the company appears in Google searches associated with Ecocisa for the purchase of medical supplies. Ecocisa is the same company that has appeared associated with Grupo Asimra. Grupo Asimra has been in the news after it appeared as beneficiary of billions in asphalt work from the Ministry of Public Works under today ruling Dominican Liberation Party (PLD) presidential candidate Gonzalo Castillo.

Altagracia Salazar points out that the sales prices for medical supplies by Tools & Resources Enterprises Toreen, S. R. L is more than four times the market prices. She mentions in the case of surgical masks, these are 4.5 times more expensive. She compares the prices of the purchase by the supplier with the purchases made at the same time by the National Business Council. Furthermore, she asks why has the government had to purchase these supplies through a costly intermediary when through its relations with the People’s Republic of China it could buy directly from the suppliers.

Gustavo Montalvo, coordinator for the High Commission for the Prevention of Coronavirus said this week that only the government is authorized to channel the supplies.


Irregularity in Inaipi bid for RD$100 million in food
Somos Pueblo online portal reports that the National Institute of Integrated Care for Early Childhood (Inaipi), published a call for bids for RD$100 million for the purchase of 40,000 raw food kits. The media says that the bid was posted at 6pm and closed by 9am the next day. In the Dominican Republic there is a curfew from 5pm to 6am.

Hostos Rizik Lugo of the Modern Revolutionary Party (PRD) complained about the irregularity in the bid. “Someone explain to me… How I start… Public opening at 6:00pm on an order of ONE HUNDRED MILLION PESOS = 100,000,000 RD to purchase a total of 40,000 Food Kits and at 9:00am the next day closes the order. ¿?", he wrote in his Twitter account.

Inaipi justified the bid saying the provisions would be used to benefit families affected by the state of national emergency.


Demand for fuel collapses as Dominicans stay at home
As reported in Listin Diario, the president of the board of directors of the Dominican Oil Refinery (Refidomsa), Felix Jimenez (Felucho), says that local demand has dropped from an average of 2.1 million barrels per month to 700,000 42-gallon barrels. He said this is a third of what it was in the past.

Jimenez said the refinery has sufficient inventory to supply the demand. He said the inventory had been purchased at around US$60 the barrel, more than a month ago, so the Refinery would not be benefiting from the crash in fuel prices worldwide. He said Refidomsa supplies 48% of the total hydrocarbon consumption in the country. "We sell 26 million barrels annually, an average of 8.7 million per month," said Jimenez.


Merca Santo Domingo fills in void for Mercado Nuevo
The shutdown of the Mercado Nuevo of Av. Duarte has left the Merca Santo Domingo as the leading fresh produce market in the country. Reports are that customers have doubled. Deputy Administrator José Armando Bencosme and chief of operations Arcadio Taveras say that protocols to avoid the spread of the Covid-19 virus are being kept.

"Customers are required to wear gloves, masks and keep their distance," explained the officials. They guaranteed that there will be no shortage of products, especially of eggs, as has been said.

They explained that the only products that have risen in prices these days are limes and ginger. They attributed this to the great demand as these items are popular for making tea. They mentioned limes now cost RD$70 per pound and ginger sells for RD$130 per pound.

The Mercado Nuevo, a sprawling open market, was closed for lack of hygienic conditions to operate during the coronavirus outbreak.

Diario Libre reports that vendors of the Mercado Nuevo market are offering their goods on sidewalks in the Villas Agrícolas area. Traffic is at a minimum and the vendors have located at Av. Nicolas de Ovando corner Moca. Many vendors are wearing protective masks.


San José de Ocoa does what it can to avoid the spread of Covid-19
San José de Ocoa is one of three provinces where as of yet no case of the new coronavirus has been confirmed. Its authorities hope to keep it that way. The landlocked province can be accessed from five provinces. The authorities are fumigating and disinfecting all vehicles that are allowed to enter. They are questioning the reasons for entry of the vehicles, and say they have denied entry to all who do not have an essential reason to visit, including domestic travelers interested in mountain or river treks.



Active member
Nov 17, 2015
Furthermore, she asks why has the government had to purchase these supplies through a costly intermediary when through its relations with the People’s Republic of China it could buy directly from the suppliers.

Somebody needs to make money during the crisis


Active member
Sep 5, 2014
On the coronavirus tally one important indicator, known to the authorities, is being hidden from the rest of the population: the percentage of the tested persons who tuned out positive.

Only by comparing this indicator of yesterday with it's value two days ago could we get an idea how and how fast the situation develops.

This trick is being played in many countries, not just in the DR