DR1 Daily News - Monday, 30 March 2020


May 3, 2000
859 persons test positive in the Dominican Republic, deaths climb to 39
Coronavirus forces military takeover of San Francisco de Macoris
Santiago mayor requests total shutdown for Santiago city
Medical Association calls for total lockdown
Sanitizing Greater Santo Domingo
Police call citizens to stay home
Grupo Ramos steps up safety measures in its stores
Frank Rainieri says Puntacana Group is paying wages of employees sent home
Manzanillo Port does not allow sailboat to dock
Government eases pressure on electric bills
Government establishes breather time to pay farm loans
Business coalition announces RD$263 million to fight coronavirus
Breaking COVID-19 rules, Kalil Haché gets burial honors at cemetery
DIGECOOM director, Antonio Vargas is a victim of COVID-19
Cieguito de Nagua dies in New York
Johnny Ventura and his daughter catch Covid-19
Fello Suberví tests positive for Covid-19, is self-isolated
NYT publishes tribute to designer Jenny Polanco
UASD urges more research to be used medicinal plants to fight Covid-19
Food delivery entrepreneurs offer services
Drugs reported found in the bushes in San Cristobal
Watching Dominican movies online

859 persons test positive in the Dominican Republic; deaths climb to 39
In the Sunday, 29 March 2020 bulletin No. 10, the Ministry of Public Health reported that as of Saturday, 28 March at 6 pm, 859 persons have tested positive for the new coronavirus, and 39 have died, for a 5% mortality rate in the Dominican Republic. Of the deaths, 21 died in San Francisco de Macoris. Of those testing positive, 131 are hospitalized and another 686 have been authorized to remain isolated at home. The Public Health Minister said that three patients have tested negative and are authorized to leave the hospital. The Ministry of Public Health says that of the 2,590 persons tested so far, 1,731 were negative. The number of cases is expected to increase now that the Ministry of Public Health and private laboratories are making more testing available.

Recent statistics:

27 March: 581 cases, 20 deaths (Bulletin No. 8)
28 March: 719 cases, 28 deaths (Bulletin No. 9)

29 March: 859 cases, 39 deaths (Bulletin No. 10)

Bulletin No. 10 of the Ministry of Public Health, which compiles cases up to Saturday, 28 March at 6 pm, says the positive cases of Covid-19 were located in:

National District: 376 cases, 5 deaths, 1% mortality
Santo Domingo Province: 101, 5 deaths, 5% mortality
Santiago: 97, 2 deaths, 2% mortality
Duarte (San Francisco de Macoris): 83, 21 deaths, 25% mortality
La Vega: 48 cases, 1 death, 2%
La Altagracia (Higuey, Veron, Punta Cana): 21 cases
San Pedro de Macorís: 16, 2 deaths, 1% mortality
Samaná: 9, 1 death, 11% mortality
Sánchez Ramírez (Cotuí): 7 cases
Espaillat (Moca): 10, up from 5
La Romana: 15 cases
Puerto Plata: 16 cases
San Cristóbal: 98 cases
María Trinidad Sánchez (Salcedo): 4 cases
Monseñor Nouel (Bonao): 11 cases, 1 death, 9%
Hato Mayor: 2 cases
San Juan de la Maguana: 3, 1 death, 33% mortality
Barahona: 2 cases
Monte Plata: 1 case
Azua: 6 cases
Independencia: 1 case
Valverde: 2 cases

Provinces with no reported cases of COVID-19:
Bahoruco, Dajabón, Elías Piña, El Seibo, Pedernales, and San José de Ocoa.


Coronavirus forces military takeover of San Francisco de Macoris
Duarte province, and specifically its provincial capital, San Francisco de Macoris, has been named a model for extended efforts to combat the new coronavirus. Depending on the results in the province, the High Commission for the Prevention of Coronavirus could declare more extreme measures.

The province has the fourth largest number of cases and the most deaths per infected person. Public Health Minister Rafael Sánchez Cárdenas said during his briefing on Saturday, 28 March that it was the combination of the 2020 political campaign rallies and gatherings, the celebration of carnival in February, and private parties that triggered the spread of the disease. He said in the 28 March press conference that those factors had greater influence than the case of a Dominican woman who visited from Italy, tested positive, was ordered to self-isolate at home, and did not meet the protocols, spreading the disease.

The governor Luis Francisco Nunez Pantaleon, bishop Monsignor Fausto Mejia Vallejo, mayor Alex Diaz and mayor-elect Siquió Ng, the provincial public health director and others have tested positive with the disease.

San Francisco de Macoris is the first Dominican city to be militarized to ensure the fulfillment of the provincial lockdown and curfew, now from 5 pm to 6 am. The army has ordered to close off the city from every direction. Persons can no longer enter or leave the city.

The government also arranged for a new isolation center. A government housing complex is being used to isolate persons with mild symptoms or for persons who have been in contact with those who have tested positive and do not have conditions at home to self-isolate. The government says it has delivered food, mosquito nets to those that will be lodged in the complex. Public Health Minister Rafael Sánchez said that the apartments have been sanitized.

The Ministry of Public Works and Ministry of Public Health have been spraying public buildings and markets, as well as the houses of confirmed patients, with approved products in an attempt to avoid or at least delay further spreading of the disease.

As of Saturday, in the Duarte province there were 59 cases and 13 fatalities, according to Bulletin 10.

The Ministry of Public Health Rafael Sánchez Cárdenas says that all 75% of the fatalities are persons over 60 years of age.

Also related to San Francisco de Macorís, the government appointed General Jorge Mancebo Bautista as the new regional director for the National Police for Duarte province. He replaces General Albert Then. Hoy newspaper says it has received reports that General Then had symptoms of coronavirus and was ordered to self-isolate.

Public Health Minister Rafael Sánchez Cárdenas admitted that the San Francisco public hospital is under renovation and has not been sufficient to serve the population. He said that many cases that would have been treated in San Francisco cases have been relocated to Santiago. Thousands of persons who have needed medical attention have not been able to receive this.

A video with Mildred Sanchez, regional director for the Social Plan of the Presidency, has gone viral with her complaint that the government has not given the town the support it needs. Sanchez is running for deputy for the ruling Dominican Liberation Party (PLD) in the province.


Santiago mayor requests total shutdown for Santiago city
The Mayor of Santiago, Abel Martínez has requested authorization from the High Commission for the Prevention of Coronavirus to increase isolation actions in the city of Santiago. He wants only food, medical and fuel suppliers to enter the city. After Greater Santo Domingo, Santiago has been the most affected by the spread of the virus.

The largest private hospital, the Metropolitan Santiago Hospital (Homs), announced that it cannot receive any more patients. The government recently announced it is habilitating a new private clinic, Las Colinas, for the care of patients with mild cases of coronavirus and persons that need to be in isolation and for whom conditions are not adequate at their home. The hospital has 92 beds, plus another 20 in the Emergency Room. It has five medical ventilators. Hospitals in Santiago are serving patients from several provinces in the central Cibao region.

Abel Martínez was reelected for four more years in the position in the municipal election that took place on 15 March 2020.

The business community of Santiago announced that The Santiago Development Association (Apedi) has coordinated a donation from members of RD$30 million to purchase hotel supplies to deal with the pandemic. The donation is part of contributions to help the city fight the disease.


Medical Association calls for total lockdown
The president of the Dominican Medical Association (CMD), Dr. Waldo Ariel Suero called for a 14-day total lockdown for the entire country. Suero said only a 24-hour quarantine would be able to stop the spreading of the virus. The president of the Dominican Medical Association (CMD) criticized that Dominican hospital physicians and nurses are working without the adequate protective equipment and this means they may be infected and then spread the disease.

Suero said that the worse is yet to come if drastic measures are not taken. He said the association estimates that around 50 physicians have tested positive. He said most have caught the disease when working in hospitals.

Infectologist Clemente Terrero, who is the coordinator for infectious diseases of the CMD, said the disease is extremely lethal. "We have to tell people that whoever is infected could die, but if they don't die, a relative, a son, their father, their mother, their grandfather, their neighbor, or their friend can die, and that's why we have to take preventive and precautionary measures, that is, raise awareness," he explained.


Sanitizing Greater Santo Domingo
The Ministry of Public Health is carrying out extensive sanitization actions in Greater Santo Domingo as part of actions to combat Covid-19. Brigades are combing neighborhoods in the Poligono Central and Evaristo Morales districts to fumigate streets, sidewalks, and garbage containers in the area where around 40,000 people live. The area has a large concentration of hotels and businesses.

The sanitization brigades were also driving through the highly populated area of “Pintura” in Herrera and Av. 27 de Febrero intersection with Av. Isabel Aguiar until Km. 9 of the Duarte highway. The brigades also have disinfected the pedestrian bridges on John F. Kennedy and 27 Febrero avenues, and the areas of Nicolás de Ovando, Tiradentes, Duarte, and Mexico avenues.

Navy Captain Luis Manuel Feliz José said the plan initiated by the government has no end in sight and that they will be continuously working in all areas that need to be disinfected, mainly pedestrian crossings, hospitals, the points with the greatest agglomeration of people such as bus stops, passenger terminals, and parks.



Police call citizens to stay home
National Police director Ney Aldrin Bautista said that 2,404 people were detained on Saturday, 28 March in the evening for not complying with the curfew. The areas with the most arrests are the National District, Santiago, San Francisco de Macorís, Baní and La Romana. Bautista said it is everyone’s duty to comply with the curfew that is for the safety of all.

"Once again, we call on our police officers and members of the armed forces to continue to carry out this difficult and important work, to become aware of the situation we are experiencing, for the good of all," Bautista said.

The Police acknowledged the death of Police Colonel Jimmy Torres Dotel on Sunday, 29 March, as a result of a heart attack at the National Police General Teaching Hospital. Torres had been admitted after testing positive for Covid-19. The agent was the brother of General Javier Torres Dotel, director of the Community Police.

The director of the Police has not said the number of police that have tested positive for the virus.

Lockdown was called for the Dominican Republic as of 21 March 2020. The curfew was set from 8pm to 6am, and then lowered to 5pm to 6am. People are asked not to leave their home but for essential outings.


Grupo Ramos steps up safety measures in its stores
Grupo Ramos announced the installation of acrylic screens in the checkout areas of its La Sirena and Pola stores to protect the health and safety of its employees and customers. The screens help reduce contact between cashiers and customers when queuing to pay for purchases.

This measure complements others adopted by the company to promote social distancing during the health emergency, such as controlling the number of people inside the stores at the same time and placing signs so that visitors maintain a distance of at least one meter from others.

The company reported that it is giving priority to the elderly and pregnant women to do their shopping. It will also give preference to employees of health centers and those employed in the 911 system, members of defense and security agencies, such as the National Police, who present their identification at the entrances to the stores.

The company announces that it has increased the number of times it thoroughly disinfects the stores and is making available sanitizing gel available in offices and stores. Employees are using masks and gloves to avoid the risk of contamination.

The company announces that its 70 stores nationwide are open from 8:30am to 3pm so that employees can get home in time for the 5pm curfew. The company says that 90% of the administrative staff is working remotely.


Frank Rainieri says Puntacana Group is paying wages of employees sent home
Grupo Puntacana announced that all employees will be paid regularly. The president of the Puntacana Group, Frank Rainieri, said in a press release that most of the employees were sent home on vacation time, or with vacation time pay advances. He said all employees would receive their wages on 30 March as usual via bank deposit.


Manzanillo Port does not allow sailboat to dock
All Dominican ports and airports are closed due to the new coronavirus. The executive director of the Port Authority, Víctor Gómez Casanova, said that there will not be an exception to the ban in the case of a vessel that had requested authorization to dock in the country with several foreigners at the port of Manzanillo. Social media had carried reports of a sailing boat with an Italian crew off the coast of Montecristi province. So far, Montecristi does not have any positive cases of Covid-19 reported. Casanova said the sailboat did not have permission to dock in local ports. He said the provincial governor and police should take the appropriate measures.


Government eases pressure on electric bills
The Superintendence of Electricity ordered electricity utilities to not cut off power to customers that may fall in arrears during the 25-day established duration of the National State of Emergency declared by President Danilo Medina as of 20 March 2020. The resolution bans the government power utilities, as well as owners of private networks operating in Samaná and Punta Cana, from suspending the service for lack of payment.


Government establishes breather time to pay farm loans
Presidency Minister Gustavo Montalvo announced that the High Commission for the Prevention of Coronavirus has reached an agreement with the Agriculture Bank (Bagricola) for an up to three- month grace periods for farm loan repayments.


Business coalition announces RD$263 million to fight coronavirus
Dominican big business announced the formation of a coalition “Heal a Nation” in an alliance with the international non-profit, CitiHope Relief & Development, with the National Business Council (Conep) and raising around US$5 million to fight Covid-19.

Business groups that are part of “Heal a Nation” include: the country’s largest private employer, the Ramos Group; the largest bank, Popular; the major milk and juice provider, Rica; the largest insurer, Universal; and one of the largest health maintenance organization (HMOs), Humana. Conep represents other businesses in the coalition.

The money is being used to purchase medical supplies and equipment need to prevent the disease and save lives.

The BHD León Financial Center and the Mapfre Foundation announced the donation to the Ministry of Public Health of 28,800 PCR diagnostic tests for the detection of Covid-19. The donation of RD$50 million for the purchase of the tests is made so that the tests can be applied free of charge.



Breaking Covid-19 rules, Kalil Haché gets burial honors at cemetery
Even when the authorities have banned funeral ceremonies of those who have died from Covid-19, General Kalil Haché was buried with honors corresponding to his rank at the Christ the Redeemer Cemetery in Santo Domingo.

The Ministry of Public Health has ordered that only the closest family members be present for funerals of those dying from the disease and recommends cremation. Haché would have been 89 years old in April.

Haché died at the Ramón de Lara Hospital in the San Isidro Air Force Base, where he had been admitted a week earlier after testing positive for COVID-19. His wife Elsy Barinas also caught the disease and died on Saturday at the same hospital. She suffered from complications with cancer. She was 82 years old.


Digecoom director, Antonio Vargas is a victim of Covid-19
Ambassador Antonio Vargas Hernández, director general of Multilateral Cooperation (Digecoom), on Friday, 27 March became the first high-level government official to die of the Covid-19 disease. He was in charge of the European Development Fund that handles European Union cooperation funds since 2012. He was a member of the Central Committee of the ruling Dominican Liberation Party (PLD). Public Health Minister Rafael Sánchez Cárdenas reported in his Saturday morning briefing that Vargas died of a heart attack when receiving medical attention at the Ramón de Lara Hospital.

A daughter of the couple complained that she learned of the passing of her father when it was reported by the Public Health Minister during his Saturday briefing.


Cieguito de Nagua dies in New York
The musical world of grassroots merengue music lost one of its iconic personages over the weekend with the passing of Bartolo Alvarado, known as the Cieguito de Nagua. He was 73. Alvarado passed away in Brookdale Hospital in Brooklyn, New York from issues most likely related to kidney, hypertension and diabetes issues. He was a dialysis patient. The medical reports do not indicate if he had caught the new coronavirus. Alvarado was from Los Llanos de Gurabo in Santiago but spent most of his time in New York with his children.


Johnny Ventura and his daughter catch Covid-19
Merengue band-leader Johnny Ventura is hospitalized in Cedimat. As reported, he had been hospitalized after suffering a fall. He was suffering from congestion and was tested for COVID-19. He tested positive and is now at Cedimat in an intermediate level intensive care unit. He said he has not needed oxygen. On Sunday, 29 March, the media reported that Ventura was no longer in the ICU unit and had been switched to a normal room with the adequate precautions.

His daughter, Euridice Ventura, also tested positive for the virus. She resides in Fort Lauderdale, Florida where she says she is recovering.

Ventura ran for mayor for the National District in the 15 March municipal election for the Social Christian Reformist Party (PRSC) and the People’s Force of former President Leonel Fernández. Ventura came in third in the election.


Fello Suberví tests positive for Covid-19, is self-isolated
Former Santo Domingo mayor Rafael (Fello) Suberví has tested positive for Covid-19. He joins the list of Dominican Revolutionary Party (PRD) politicians infected with the disease. Other high-ranking government officers are PRD president and Foreign Relations Minister Miguel Vargas Maldonado and deputy Foreign Minister Peggy Cabral. Suberví held the position of president of the board of directors of the Dominican Hydroelectric Generation Company (Empresa de Generación Hidroeléctrica Dominicana - EgeHID). As reported, his case is mild so far. He is 77 years old and is being kept in isolation at home.


NYT publishes tribute to designer Jenny Polanco
The New York Times has dedicated an obituary in its Sunday, 29 March 2020, issue to Dominican fashion designer Jenny Polanco, in the collection of stories on “Those We’ve Lost” in the media. Polanco is one of the first to die of the Covid-19 epidemic in the Dominican Republic. She had picked up the virus in a trip to Spain in early March. She died when hospitalized at the Ramon de Lara Hospital in the San Isidro Air Base.

Over the weekend, her daughter and son, Carla and Luis Carlos Quiñones shared a document with details on the illness and death of their mother and her life. They expressed their appreciation for the many expressions of solidarity and tributes to their mother. They clarified that their mother was in good health until the trip to Madrid. They explained that their mother had never smoked, nor had diabetes nor hypertension that were listed among the pre-conditions suffered by those who had died on the same day as their mother, as mentioned by the Ministry of Public Health.

Jenny Polanco’s children said that the Jenny Polanco company and boutiques will continue. “It will be a huge challenge to follow the artistic standards and creativity of our dear mother. But we will do so and we have a responsibility to honor her great legacy and tradition. For years we have shared her creation and keen sensitivity,” said the statement.


UASD urges more research to be used medicinal plants to fight Covid-19
State university, UASD professors propose more research to determine local plants that could combat the Covid-19. The scientists say there is enormous potential for nutrition and immunological value of the medicinal plants that are commonly used in Dominican cooking. The multidisciplinary group said already there is much research that confirms the properties of many plants that are at our disposal and that are in regular use by the population. They say what is needed is to establish clear information on the best uses and adequate doses for the medicinal plants.

Professor Angel Pichardo Almonte, who has developed an "immunological formula", of preventive character, composed by açaí, activated turmeric, ginkgo biloba, maca and moringa, says this has already been distributed free of charge to elderly people and many in situation of vulnerability in Greater Santo Domingo.

The proposal is endorsed by the president Federation of Teachers of the UASD, Wagner Aquino Gomera; Carlos Martínez Castro, Dorka Alcántara, Esteban Patrick Sánchez, Faustino Collado, Gerardo Pieter, Juan José Arias Dipré, Luis Fermín Morel, Mercedes Abreu, Pedro Hernández, Silvio Genao Chalas, Carolina Puello, Rosa Luis Paulino, Carlos Mesa, Giovanni Matos, Mayra Matos, Pastor de la Rosa, Juan Serrano, Evangelista Ramírez, Juan Montero, Juana Baré, Serafino de la Cruz, Antonio Ciriaco, Altagracia Balcarcel, Daniel Dilon, Luesmil Castor, Odonel Gómez, Fernando González, Bautista López García, Reynaldo Parra, Ángel Erich Cedano, Rafael Arias, Luis Mena, Hugo Cedeño and Pichardo Almonte.

They pointed out that instead of waiting for solutions to come from elsewhere, the UASD could take the lead in finding collective immunity solutions that could also be offered to other countries.


Food delivery entrepreneurs offer services
Those living in the National District can access several food delivery services that have established Whatsapp groups to stay in touch with their old and new customers. These are vendors that are offering their services. The list has not been tested and is circulating in social media. DR1 shares this list for each person to see if it can be helpful for their own needs.

Mascaro market. Vegetables. +1 (809) 350-8011

Green Co. Fruits and vegetables. Some miscellaneous items. +1 (829) 933-5385

Víveres Valle Verde. Peeled and vacuum packed food at home. +1 (829) 213-7449

Terraverde. Fruits. Vegetables. Orders by Whatsapp and take out 849-354-1860

Carnetto. Meat, cold cuts, wine. Delivery, takeout and Pedidos Ya delivery service.809-227-2493

Meat Depot. Meat and more supermarket items. Delivery and take out. WhatsApp 809-876-7515

Carne y Co. Prepared dishes and packaged meat. Take out and delivery. WhatsApp +1 (809) 923-6464

Supermercado Nacional. Shop online. Take out and delivery.

Sirena Market. Shop onlike. Take out and delivery.

Supermercado Bravo. Online. Delivery and pick up.

La Placita. Whatsapp and pick up.

Supermercado Amigo. Whatsapp and pick up.

App Pedidos Ya.

App Mercadito Dominicano. Delivery

Antojos. @cucinaroberto. Sauces, soups, Italian and Lebanese cooking. Uber y Hugo app. Take out.

@Chindeto. Take out food (tacos, cielito lindo, lasaña, pastelones, chillibeans, etc). Delivery y take out

Drugs reported found in the bushes in San Cristobal
In these days of quarantine and curfew, the National Drug Control Agency (DNCD) announced the finding of 333 packages of what is suspect to be cocaine or heroin hidden in some bushes in Nigua, San Cristobal province, about half an hour from the capital city of Santo Domingo. The DNCD reports the drugs were found near the site of where another 700 drug packages were seized on 17 March. So far, no arrests have been reported. The DNCD says the packages were taken into custody and were sent to the National Institute of Forensic Sciences (Inacif) for determination of the contents. The operation was carried out in coordination with the Dominican Navy.


Watching Dominican movies online
Starting Saturday, 28 March 2020 and for the next 30 days, the public will be able to watch for free Dominican films in the Pelidom.com online platform. Owner of the service, Alfonso Rodriguez said the opening of the site for free viewing for the next 30 days is a way of contributing to entertain the people of the Dominican Republic during the quarantine due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Check out the site at https://www.pelidom.com/orders/customer_info?o=26941