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The Presidential Decree 298-20 extends the curfew that would have ended on Sunday, 9 August another 25 days. The curfew expires on Wednesday, 2 September. The decree states that the curfew hours are subject to decisions to be made by the new government that takes office on 16 August 2020.

Curfew in the Dominican Republic is from:Monday to Friday from 7pm to 5am and Saturdays and Sundays from 5pm to 5am in:1) Santo Domingo 2) National District 3) Santiago 4) San Cristóbal; 5) La Vega 6) Puerto Plata 7) Duarte 8) San Pedro de Macorís 9) La Romana 10) San Juan de la Maguana 11) La Altagracia 12) Azua 13) Monseñor Nouel 14) Sánchez Ramírez and 15) María Trinidad Sánchez.

It is one hour less, from 8pm to 5am in:1) Espaillat 2) Peravia 3) Barahona 4) Monte Plata 5) Valverde 6) Hermanas Mirabal 7) Monte Cristi 8) Samaná 9) Bahoruco 10) Hato Mayor 11) El Seibo 12) Dajabón 13) Santiago Rodríguez 14) San José de Ocoa 15) Elías Piña 16) Independencia and 17) Pedernales.

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According to Coronavirus Bulletin #142 of the Ministry of Public Health’s Department of Epidemiology, the Dominican Republic has 78,778 confirmed cases, including 1,069 new cases.

The number of confirmed cases depends on the completing of PCR tests. In the Dominican Republic, even the well off have to wait to get tested or get their test results. For a shot at a free PCR test, people queue for hours at the Laboratorio Nacional Dr. Defilló in Santo Domingo and then have to wait for more than 10 days for results.

The average testing over the past 14 days is 3,927 PCR tests. The numbers of diagnostic tests carried out over the past 14 days [the difference between the PCR tests reported since the past bulletin] are: 4,139 (Bulletin #142), 4,202 (Bulletin #141), 3,491 (Bulletin #140), 4,734 (Bulletin #139), 5,172 (Bulletin #138), 1,685 (Bulletin #137), 2,558 (Bulletin #136), 4,115 (Bulletin #135), 4,815 (Bulletin #134), 4,932 (Bulletin #133), 3,471 (Bulletin #132), 2,310...

According to Coronavirus Bulletin #141 of the Ministry of Public Health’s Department of Epidemiology, the Dominican Republic has 77,709 confirmed cases, including 1,173 new cases.

The number of confirmed cases depends on the completing of PCR tests. In the Dominican Republic, even the well off have to wait to get tested or get their test results. For a shot at a free PCR test, people queue for hours at the Laboratorio Nacional Dr. Defilló in Santo Domingo and then have to wait for more than 10 days for results.

The average testing over the past 14 days is 3,962 PCR tests. The numbers of diagnostic tests carried out over the past 14 days [the difference between the PCR tests reported since the past bulletin] are: 4,202 (Bulletin #141), 3,491 (Bulletin #140), 4,734 (Bulletin #139), 5,172 (Bulletin #138), 1,685 (Bulletin #137), 2,558 (Bulletin #136), 4,115 (Bulletin #135), 4,815 (Bulletin #134), 4,932 (Bulletin #133), 3,471 (Bulletin #132), 2,310 (Bulletin #131), 3,867...

Photo: Presidency

The present government order to stay at home expires on Sunday, 9 August 2020. The Medina administration has yet to say whether this will be extended. The curfew began on 21 July and was for 20 days. The Medina administration is still calling the shots until the morning of 16 August 2020.

Dr. Plutarco Arias, named Public Health Minister for the upcoming Abinader administration, has told the press he favors more restrictive measures to control the spread of Covid-19 in the country.

In the Abinader administration, Vice President-elect Raquel Peña will be heading the Health Cabinet.

Curfew in the Dominican Republic is from:Monday to Friday from 7pm to 5am and Saturdays and Sundays from 5pm to 5am in:1) Santo Domingo 2) National District 3) Santiago 4) San Cristóbal; 5) La Vega 6) Puerto Plata 7) Duarte 8) San Pedro de Macorís 9) La Romana 10) San Juan...

Jesús (Chú) Vásquez, the named Minister of Interior & Police in the upcoming Luis Abinader presidency, says the next government will apply the General Migration Law 285-04. He said the law was passed when he presided the Senate in 2004. “Nothing needs to be invented. Just apply the law,” he says. He says Juan Manuel Rosario, who consulted on the law back then, would work with him as Deputy Minister of Interior & Police, responsible for the migratory matters.

Vásquez says that the migration issues worsened because of the delays in the government passing the ruling to apply the law. He said during those limbo years, many more people migrated here. He says there also has not been the political will to confront the situation.

The named Interior & Police minister has been senator for María Trinidad Sánchez province from 1994 to 2010. He was the provincial governor...

Out-going Agriculture Minister Osmar Benítez signed a phytosanitary protocol for the export of Dominican Hass variety avocados to China. People’s Republic of China Ambassador Zhang Run signed the agreement for China.

For years, environmentalists have protested that persons with political influence have been planting Hass variety avocados in the protected areas of Bahoruco National Park. These have been frequently denounced, but the incumbent Environment Minister Angel Estévez has maintained that under his management, a single tree would not be downed. The minister has repeatedly stated that trees are trees and these cannot be bad for the environment. Environmentalists, nevertheless, say that the production of these avocados affects the primary southwestern water source, the Pedernales River.

In the signing, Agriculture Minister focused on avocado...

The founder and chancellor of the Santiago Technological University (UTESA) died on Thursday, 6 August 2020 at the Santiago Metropolitan Hospital of complications due to the Covid-19 virus. Priamo Rodríguez Castillo had been in the hospital since the second week of July. Utesa was founded in 1974 and is one of the largest Dominican universities. It was the first university in the Dominican Republic to offer night time studies.

Rodríguez Castillo was also president and owner of La Información newspaper and the Centro Médico Cibao-Utesa, among other businesses in Santiago. He is survived by his wife Ingrid González and children Frank, Lilly, María, Jesús and Melany Rodríguez González.

Through her Twitter account, Vice President-elect Raquel Peña sent her condolences to the family: “We have lost a great human being. Príamo Rodríguez lived to educate the new generations. The...

President-elect Luis Abinader named Ramón Antonio (Tony) Peña Guaba the coordinator of the Presidential Social Policies Cabinet (GCPS), the inter-institutional commission. He will replace Vice President Margarita Cedeño. The department has a budget of RD$20.4 billion for 2020. A professional politician, Peña Guaba is the son of former Dominican Revolutionary Party (PRD) leader. He is a former secretary general of the PRD. He left that party with dissidents that formed the Modern Revolutionary Party (PRM). Peña Guaba is credited with having been who suggested the logo for the PRM, a circle with a “like” thumb. As reported, he returned to the PRD when he was not named secretary general at the PRM, when a restructuring of the party was carried out. He would later again return to the PRM in time for the final months of the Abinader presidential campaign.

Likewise...

The International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, granted US$60 million to BHD León Bank in the Dominican Republic for loans to support small and medium-sized enterprises that are being affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, according to an IFC press release.

IFC indicates this is the first financing agreement signed by IFC in Central America and the Caribbean as part of the global response to combat the economic impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic. Most of IFC’s fast-track financing package targets the BHD León’s clients.

“An important focus for IFC operations in the Caribbean, and particularly in our response to COVID-19, is expanding access to financing for SMEs. By partnering with leading institutions such as Banco BHD León, we also promote financial market resilience and economic stability in the Dominican Republic and the region, accelerating recovery time after...

President-elect Luis Abinader’s choice for Minister of Sports told Diario Libre in his first interview with Diario Libre that he envisions building a new Taekwondo Pavilion during his term at the department. The new government begins 16 August 2020.

Himself a medal-winning Taekwondo athlete, Francisco Camacho says he plans to continue being the president of the Taekwondo Federation. He told Diario Libre the final decision is up to the Dominican Olympic Committee (COD). When Diario Libre asked, COD president Luisín Mejía said this is possible, and that there are cases abroad where this has been permitted. The COD’s highest-ranking officer says there is no legal impediment to Camacho continuing at the helm of the Taekwondo Federation. “There is no impediment for him to be sports minister and president of the Dominican Taekwondo Federation. One is not incompatible...

The Atlantic Hurricane Season began on 1 June, but already records have been broken for the number of named storms. The start of the peak of the season is not until 20 August, and Isaias (letter “I”) has already had a run, causing major damages in between the Caribbean and the Atlantic Ocean. Philip Klotzback of the Colorado State University says that historically about 85% of Atlantic major (Category 3+) hurricane activity doesn’t get going until after 20 August. He said the current forecasts are for a very active season this year.

US government weather agency, the NOAA says there will be 19-25 named storms, 7-11 hurricanes, 3-6 major hurricanes. The highly-reputed Colorado State University forecast is for 24 named storms, 12 hurricanes, 5 major storms. Both NOAA and CSU forecasts take into account the already passed storms. Arthur, Bertha...

According to Coronavirus Bulletin #140 of the Ministry of Public Health’s Department of Epidemiology, the Dominican Republic has 76,536 confirmed cases, including 876 new cases.

The number of confirmed cases depends on the completing of PCR tests. In the Dominican Republic, even the well off have to wait to get tested or get their test results. For a shot at a free PCR test, people queue for hours at the Laboratorio Nacional Dr. Defilló in Santo Domingo and then have to wait for more than 10 days for results.

The average testing over the past 14 days is 3,945 PCR tests. The numbers of diagnostic tests carried out over the past 14 days [the difference between the PCR tests reported since the past bulletin] are: 3,491 (Bulletin #140), 4,734 (Bulletin #139), 5,172 (Bulletin #138), 1,685 (Bulletin #137), 2,558 (Bulletin #136), 4,115 (Bulletin #135), 4,815 (Bulletin...

The president of the Modern Revolutionary Party (PRM), José Ignacio Paliza announced the political party’s board decided on Wednesday, 6 August to propose Eduardo Estrella of Dominicans for Change (DxC) as president of the Senate of the Republic and Alfredo Pacheco, as president of the Chamber of Deputies. DxC was an ally to the PRM in the presidential and congressional election that took place on 5 July 2020. The PRM will have a majority in both houses.

The leadership vote for the two chambers of Congress will take place on 16 August 2020, along with the change of government place prior to the National Assembly session in which President-elect Luis Abinader of the PRM will be sworn in as President of the Republic.

The PRM also announced that they have chosen senator-elect Faride Raful to be the party’s spokesperson in the Senate. Alexis Victoria...

The price of gold is rising to new highs. In these times, Barrick Pueblo Viejo announces it is seeking government approval for the expansion of its gold and silver mining operations. In an interview with Listin Diario, Barrick Pueblo Viejo president Juana Barceló said the company has prepared an expansion project that would enable production to remain at around 800,000 troy ounces. The expansion would be ready for 2022. It would allow production through 2045. If the expansion is not carried out, production will end in 2031. The company expects an average price of US$1,500 for the troy ounce. This week, the price of gold on international markets has broken the US$2,000 barrier.

As of July 2020, the company has paid US$270 million in direct taxes, including advances, profits and royalties on gold and silver sales and US$14 million in indirect taxes for the first quarter this...

Hotel occupancy is at around 10%. Aerodom, the Las Americas and Puerto Plata international airports operator, says air arrivals in July were 25% of what they were in July 2019, as reported in El Dia. Airports reopened on 1 July 2020 in the Dominican Republic. Most arrivals have been Dominicans and foreign legal residents or those doing business or owning property in the country.

Aerodom reports that air arrivals to Las Americas were 133,305, a drop of 75.4% when compared to the 504,821 tourist arrivals in July 2019.

In the Puerto Plata area in the north coast, hotel occupancy has not exceeded 10%. Only two all-inclusive hotels have opened, Tatty Lahoz De Beard, executive director of the Association of Hotels, Restaurants and Tourist Companies of the North (Ashonorte), told the El Dia reporter.

Asonahores reported that in July only 38 hotels of the...

Abraham Hazoury, chief executive officer at the Iberoamerican University (Unibe), announced the start of operations of the Molecular Biology Laboratory and the National Observatory of Emerging Pandemics and Pathogens.

The new facilities are under the Deanship of Research and Innovation and of the Institute of Tropical Medicine and Global Health (IMTSAG) at the capital city university.

Hazoury said the new facilities are inaugurated after an agreement was reached with the Ministry of Economy, Planning and Development (MEPyD) and the National Health Service (SNS). The initiative has the backing of Seeding Labs.

Hazoury said the new center is a qualitative jump in scientific research in the country. He explained the lab allows for automating the processes of isolation and molecular analysis, placing the institute at the vanguard of studies of emergent...

Lab technicians at the Doctor Defilló National Laboratory say that around 20,000 Covid-19 samples for tests have not been processed because of lack of inputs and staff. The lab is the government’s main Covid-19 testing facility.

The Dominican Association of Bioanalysts (Codobio) denounced that staff at the lab is only 30. These work in two shifts of up to 14 hours, seven days a week, but have not been able to anywhere keep up with the demand for tests.

The spokesperson for Codobio says that the staff is exhausted. Around 3,000 to 3,200 samples daily are received from all over the country, when the center’s processing capacity is only 1,200 samples per day.

Most of the PCR tests in the Dominican Republic are being carried out at private labs. The tests carried out at the Laboratorio Nacional Dr. Defillo are free to the general public.

Read more in...

Fernando Rosa / El Dia

The president of the Patrimonial Fund of the Capitalized State Companies (Fonper), Fernando Rosa, is defending his management of the little-known agency over the past 17 years. Nevertheless, after Nuria Piera denounced several cases of alleged irregularities in procurement tied to close family of President Danilo Medina, the press has continued to reveal more details of the widespread wasteful spending going on at the government agency.

President-elect Luis Abinader has said the division would be closed. Rosa denies corruption at Fonper and says the agency’s finances have been audited by the Chamber of Accounts and international auditing firms, KPMG, HLB and BDO. He said these audits are on the Fonper web page.

The payroll of Fonper is under the spotlight. Director Rosa makes more than half a million a month. Law 105-13 on Government Salaries establishes...

Legendary orchestra conductor Ramon Antonio Molina Pacheco (Papa Molina) died on Wednesday, 5 August 2020, of cancer. He was 94 years old. He is best known for his arrangements that gave a boost to merengue music. He was a trumpet player. The late Papa Molina is the father of the National Symphony Orchestra conductor, Maestro Jose Antonio Molina. He is also survived by his wife, Josefina Miniño, known for her major contributions to Dominican folklore dancing.

The Minister of the Presidency, Gustavo Montalvo, was in Nagua and Salcedo for the ceremonies marking the start of the 911 System 24/7 coverage in the Maria Trinidad Sánchez and Hermanas Mirabal provinces in the northeast. Coverage of the health, security and emergency service is now extended to 21 of the country’s 32 provinces and 101 municipalities, covering almost 9 million inhabitants, nearly 90% of the population. He said advances have been made for the expansion of the service to the provinces of Valverde in the northwest, Hato Mayor and El Seibo in the East, San José de Ocoa in the south, and the municipalities of Jarabacoa and Constanza in La Vega, in the central mountain area.

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President Danilo Medina handed over the Malpaso Interagency Base, on the border with Haiti. This is the eighth border post that serves as base for joint operations by Dominican agencies in security, intelligence, and border surveillance, strengthening migratory and customs controls, and combatting the trafficking of weapons, people, and goods. Agents at the post also seek to provide assistance to prevent diseases, establish controls on animal and plant health.

The Presidency announced that the center is equipped with state-of-the-art technological resources and is intended to facilitate the interagency actions led by the Ministry of Defense through the Command and Control, Communication, Intelligence and Cybersecurity Center (C5i).

With these facilities, the total number of interagency posts built from 2017 to date is eight. A ninth, at Vicente Noble, is...

Santo Domingo East Mayor Manuel Jiménez envisions a new use for the bus terminal the Ministry of Public Works built on the Las Americas Expressway. He speaks of fitting it to be a municipal school of fine arts and the “Caribbean Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship.” The focus would be on young people and entrepreneurs from all over the country and the region.

The public work was erected despite much community opposition. Three court rulings ordered the stop to construction. Nevertheless, the Ministry of Public Works continued to build the facility. As reported in El Nuevo Diario, the bus stop is being readied to be inaugurated before the government’s change on 16 August.

Major Jiménez recalled that a ruling by the Constitutional Court ordered the project to be stopped until the land use permit and the environmental impact study were presented...

Covid-19 and the low expectations of economic recovery have resulted in gold surpassing the record high of US$2,000 per ounce in New York trading on 4 August 2020. Global economic recovery is not expected for at least another two years.

Demand for gold has increased dramatically, making it the highest-paying commodity. The price of gold has surged 35% so far this year. The good news is that the Dominican Republic is a major gold producer. The good news is that the DR shares in profits when the price rises.

Factors supporting the gold price include the weak US economy causing depreciation of the dollar, resulting in other countries shifting their reserves to gold. Data shows that in the second quarter the US economy has suffered its harshest blow since the Great Depression due to the pandemic, while investors also geared up for an uncertain political situation in the country...

The Solid Waste Bill (General Bill for the Comprehensive Management and Co-Processing of Solid Wastes) was approved by the Chamber of Deputies on 23 July 2020 and sent to the Executive Branch six days later. President Danilo Medina has not yet enacted the bill.

The bill had lingered for 10 years in Congress. Most of the deputies and senators passing the bill were not voted to continue in the next government that starts 16 August 2020.

As reported in Diario Libre, the legislation has 176 articles, which include most of the considerations that affect the timely management of waste, including regulatory, operational, financial, educational, institutional, logistical and even punitive aspects.

Nevertheless, the Diario Libre feature says that the bill was soft on the use of foam and plastics by local companies. The original bill had given companies two...

Lots of speculation still on the whereabouts of Emeritus King Juan Carlos I after he announced he would be leaving Spain. Yet, he did not say where he was going. Queen Sophia is staying in her abode at the Zarzuela Palace.The latest on his whereabouts is that he may yet be in Portugal where he has long time friends.

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At least for the next week or so, the Dominican Republic will be experiencing piercing hot temperatures and foggy skies as the Sahara Dust clouds move east across the country. The extra dust is a potential respiratory irritation hazard. On the positive side, it is known to create brilliant sunsets for those who take the time to notice.

For weather updates, follow the 2020 Hurricane Season thread on DR1 Forums: DR1 Forums

NASA

5 August 2020

According to Coronavirus Bulletin #139 of the Ministry of Public Health’s Department of Epidemiology, the Dominican Republic has 75,660 confirmed cases, including 1,365 new cases.

The number of confirmed cases depends on the availability of PCR tests that continues to be very scarce, especially in the provinces. In the Dominican Republic, even the well off have to wait to get tested. For a shot at a free PCR test, people queue for hours at the Laboratorio Nacional Dr. Defilló in Santo Domingo.

The average testing over the past 14 days is 3,989 PCR tests. The numbers of diagnostic tests carried out over the past 14 days [the difference between the PCR tests reported since the past bulletin] are: 4,734 (Bulletin #139), 5,172 (Bulletin #138), 1,685 (Bulletin #137), 2,558 (Bulletin #136), 4,115 (Bulletin #135), 4,815 (Bulletin #134), 4,932 (Bulletin #133), 3,471...

La Piña Dam / Presidency

President Danilo Medina wasn’t in Hato Mayor, where the most damages of Tropical Storm Isaias occurred, but he is traveling all around the country to formally inaugurate many of the latest public works of his government. The Medina government ends on 16 August 2020.

The Presidency reported Medina inaugurated the La Piña Dam in northwestern Dajabón under torrential rain. Complementary waterworks and a bridge were also inaugurated. The infrastructure was built to impede flooding from damaging crops and the countryside and facilitate irrigation of the crops.

In his keynote speech at the La Piña Dam, Olgo Fernández, director of the National Institute of Hydraulic Resources (Indrhi), highlighted the great benefits these infrastructures will bring to Dajabón.

The Reformed Project La Piña Dam will guarantee water to irrigate rice, banana, cassava...

Juan Alexis Medina / El Caribe

Investigative journalist Nuria Piera aired a segment in her Saturday, 1 August 2020 TV show pinpointing irregularities in procurement benefiting Juan Alexis Medina, brother of President Danilo Medina. Mentioned in the show was the contracting approved at the Patrimonial Fund of the Capitalized Companies (Fonper) that benefited the Medina family.

After Nuria’s show, the media began following up. On Tuesday, President-elect Luis Abinader said Fonper would be one of the entities that would be eliminated. Fonper was born after former President Leonel Fernández privatized several government entities.

“Fonper receives the resources generated by the capitalized companies and they are used at the discretion of its board of directors and president. This has generated innumerable cases of corruption. In the new government, we will eliminate this...

The Modern Revolutionary Party (PRM) and the Dominican Liberation Party (PLD) would be getting the lion’s share of the taxpayer funding to political organizations, according to an analysis by Juan Bolivar Díaz in Hoy. The law establishes that 80% of the funds be distributed to political parties winning at least 5% of the vote. Only the PRM and the PLD received that level of votes. In 2016, the Dominican Revolutionary Party (PRD) and the Social Christian Reformist Party (PRSC) had reached the cut, too.

The feature in Hoy reports that the decision is based on a 21 May 2020 ruling by the Superior Administrative Court (TSA) and resolutions by the Central Electoral Board (JCE) on guidelines for determining the percentage of votes.

For the 2016 election, the calculation for ballot order and financing was based on the presidential level voting. In resolutions 34-2019 and 35-2019 of...

Manuel Rivas / Diario Libre

Two high-profile defendants were authorized to present bail yesterday, less than two weeks before the government’s change on 16 August. Major changes are expected in the judicial system in the new government.

The defendants are the former director of the OMSA government bus organization, Manuel Rivas, and Kelvin Francisco Núñez Morel (“Kanqui, the clown”). Rivas had been tied to the murder of lawyer Juniol Ramírez, who had been denouncing corruption at the OMSA. Rivas’ defense lawyer Carlos Salcedo was able to get the murder charges dropped and have his client only be tried for corruption. The judge then authorized bail for RD$4 million. In practice, this means a cash guarantee of RD$400,000, with the rest covered by insurance.

In the case of Kanqui, who had a popular children’s TV production, the court authorized a RD$5 million bail, or...

The Spanish, European and Dominican press are speculating on the whereabouts of 82-year old Emeritus King Juan Carlos I. Some Spanish news reports are suggesting he may be in the Dominican Republic. He has a very good friend in Pepe Fanjul, the owner of Casa de Campo. La Vanguardia, the Spanish newspaper, says Juan Carlos is staying with the Fanjuls. Nevertheless, the Dominican Republic Migration Department says it has no registry of the royal person entering, as reported in Diario Libre. Spanish media report that Juan Carlos has agreed to be available for the ongoing probe into alleged past financial deals.

Read More:

Jean Alain Rodriguez / Listín Diario

Attorney General Jean Alain Rodriguez said on Tuesday, 4 August that he is free of the coronavirus (Covid-19) after more than 20 days of being infected with the disease.  

“After 23 days I have been diagnosed negative to #COVID19 twice. I also recovered from pneumonia caused by the virus that has also been overcome, thanks to God. I am very grateful to those who prayed for my recovery,” the official said through his twitter account.

In the same message, Rodríguez urged people to be “responsible” and to respect the prevention measures imposed by the authorities.

Read more in Spanish:

The Ministry of Public Health sent 500 PCR test kits to the public hospital in Nagua, in the northeastern province of María Trinidad Sánchez, where there is an outbreak in Covid-19 infections. Recently, a local hospital carried out 100 tests and 90 came back positive. Public Health Minister Rafael Sánchez Cárdenas said in his press briefing on Tuesday, 4 August that the Ministry would make an intervention in the province. “With these new tests we will know the magnitude of the existing outbreak in Nagua,” he said.

Over the weekend, health authorities carried out 100 PCR tests, 45 of which were administered to health personnel at the Hospital Doctor Antonio Yaport Heded, with 42 positive results. The rest were administered to Nagua residents. Of 55 tests, 48 were diagnosed with the disease, but were all without symptoms.

Dr. Sánchez Cárdenas believes the high level...

According to Coronavirus Bulletin #138 of the Ministry of Public Health’s Department of Epidemiology, the Dominican Republic has 74,295 confirmed cases, including 1,178 new cases.

The number of confirmed cases depends on the availability of PCR tests that continues to be very scarce, especially in the provinces. In the Dominican Republic, even the well off have to wait to get tested. For a shot at a free PCR test, people queue for hours at the Laboratorio Nacional Dr. Defilló in Santo Domingo.

The average testing over the past 14 days is 3,920 PCR tests. The numbers of diagnostic tests carried out over the past 14 days [the difference between the PCR tests reported since the past bulletin] are: 5,172 (Bulletin #138), 1,685 (Bulletin #137), 2,558 (Bulletin #136), 4,115 (Bulletin #135), 4,815 (Bulletin #134), 4,932 (Bulletin #133), 3,471 (Bulletin #132), 2,310...

The civil society organization, Citizen Participación (Participación Ciudadana), in its final report on the 5 July presidential and congressional election warns that cash continues to play an overwhelming role in election campaigns and political activity. Nevertheless, the civic watchdog group stresses that the past presidential and congressional elections are a clear defeat for clientelism as a way of winning elections. They added that the results are a signal to political parties that money does not buy everything and that they should abandon these practices.

“Political party and candidate spending remain a dark, unchecked area susceptible to penetration by resources from corruption, drug trafficking or other illicit businesses,” says the spokespeople for the civic group. They asked the Central Electoral Board to post the financial reports submitted by the...

The management at Punta Catalina, the newly inaugurated coal-fired 752MW power plant, signed a nine-year software service agreement with General Electric Steam Power. The power plant is providing one-third of the Dominican Republic’s total generation capacity. The deal is described as GE’s most comprehensive digital deal in Latin America with first-of-its-kind software implementation currently underway to improve performance over the plant’s lifetime.

In a press release issued in Switzerland, GE announces it is providing the Dominican Public Electricity Corporation (CDEEE) with a combined software and services package at the Central Termoeléctrica Punta Catalina (CTPC) power plant. This includes a multi-year agreement to provide maintenance and repair services for the plant’s existing steam turbine generators, combined with GE software to help CDEEE operate the plant...

Drivers Elvis Angel Joaquín and Jose Veloz will be tried for reckless driving. The two truck drivers crashed into a toll booth on Duarte Highway on Saturday. They will also be penalized for causing damages to public property. The trucks are the property of Unipollo and Transporte Express. The event occurred around 6pm at the toll booth entering Santo Domingo. The photo of the two trucks in a tied photo finish went viral over the weekend. Other photos surfaced, showing several drivers of private cars in the same situation.

Read more in Spanish:

Emeritus King of Spain, Juan Carlos I is in the Dominican Republic. Spanish media say that he will be staying in Casa de Campo in La Romana. The new avenue of the entrance to the tourism and residential community was named Avenida Juan Carlos I to honor the Spanish king. The retired king has close ties with the owner of the complex.

El Pais of Spain reports that the former monarch had told his son, Felipe VI of his “well-considered decision” to leave Spain after Swiss and Spanish prosecutors opened an investigation into allegations of financial irregularities. Juan Carlos I had lived for the last 58 years at the Zarzuela Palace in Madrid. El Pais reports the decision comes after Swiss and Spanish prosecutors opened an investigation into bank accounts allegedly held by Juan Carlos in tax havens.

Juan Carlos’ lawyer has said that although his client will no longer be in Spain...

A poll carried out by the Ministry of Industry & Commerce and the Technological Institute of Santo Domingo (Intec) reveals that 52% of Dominican companies that closed due to the Covid-19 pandemic will not reopen. The deciding factor is that the companies are concerned that their clients will not return and have serious cash flow problems.

The Ministry of Industry & Commerce expects it to take small business more than 10 months to recover from the shutdown. But the poll showed there are also optimistic. A third of the companies had expectations they would recover in six months.

Read more in Spanish:

President-elect Luis Abinader tweeted on Monday, 3 August 2020 that he is choosing economist Limber Cruz for Minister of Agriculture starting 16 August 2020. Limber is a graduate in economy from the Pontifical Catholic University Madre y Maestra with post-graduate studies in international management in a Mexican university.

In government, he has experience working in the Economic Studies Department of the Central Bank and the Center for Promotion of Exports (Cedopex). He is one of the founders of Grupo M, the large free zone manufacturing conglomerate. He is highly regarded for his excellent organizational ability. He is recognized for his contributions to the development of the Codevi, the Grupo M binational project located on the border between Dajabón and Ouanaminthe in Haiti.

At the time of his naming, he was dedicated to the plantain and yuca farms in La...

President-elect Luis Abinader tweeted on Monday that he chose Yadhira Henríquez to be his new director of the Social Plan of the Presidency starting 16 August.

She has been a councilwoman and deputy to the National Congress for the National District (1994-2000). She was the Dominican Republic’s first Women’s Minister in 2000 under the President Hipólito Mejía government.

She has a doctorate in law from the Universidad Autónoma de Santo Domingo (UASD), where she also obtained a postgraduate degree in Diplomacy and International Relations and another in Criminal Procedural Law.

She is the wife of a former president of the Dominican Revolutionary Party (PRD), Vicente Sánchez Baret. Sánchez Baret is a former senator for Sanchez Ramírez. The PRM was formed when the party split between the followers of Hipolito Mejía and Luis Abinader and those following...

The National Committee for the Fight Against Climate Change (CNLCC) and the Institute of Lawyers for the Protection of the Environment (INSAPORMA) report that the mountains of toxic ash in Punta Catalina have doubled in size, despite the high risk that the area will be affected by a tropical storm or hurricane this hurricane season.

The entities published photographs and a video taken Friday, 31 July 2020. The images of the mountains of these ashes appear twice as high as the first photographs taken two months ago, on Sunday, 31 May.

The entities warn about the threat the fly ash represents for health, production and the environment. Around 100,000 people are in danger of being impacted by this toxic waste and the other sources of contamination of this thermoelectric plant.

The document denouncing the increasing stocks of fly ash warns that we are now in the...

Nuria Piera dedicated a section of her Saturday evening investigative journalism TV show on Channel 9 to give evidence of what she describes as intertwining companies leading to close relatives of President Danilo Medina that have irregularly benefited from government procurement.

She presented evidence of a long trail of possible corruption in government procurement that she ties to President Danilo Medina’s brothers and sisters, especially to his younger brother Juan Alexis Medina Sánchez.

Aired with less than two weeks of the Medina administration remaining, the report reveals how allegedly Medina’s brother is part of many companies that won tenders for government procurement. She reveals that overpriced wins of government contracts occurred even during the Covid National State of Emergency.

She also focuses on how companies related to Medina benefited from government...

President Danilo Medina was present for the inauguration of the new storage tanks of the Dominican Petroleum Refinery PDV (Refidomsa). These increase the country’s storage capacity for diesel by 65%, premium gasoline by 49% and Jet A-1 by 85%.

The Presidency of the Republic reported that Refidomsa also put into operation two tanks for service of Gasoline/Gasoline with a nominal capacity of 150,274 barrels (23,890 m3) each, and a tank for aviation fuel, Jet A-1 with a capacity of 107,590 barrels (17,105.25 M3).

The President’s twitter account highlights that Refidomsa PDV is an ISO 14001 certified company that complies with all environmental regulations.

Félix Jiménez, president of the Board of Directors of Refidomsa PDV, explained that the Dominican Republic, in these eight years of the Refidomsa alliance with Petróleos de Venezuela, S.A. (PDVSA), have increased the...

An outbreak of Covid-19 infections is affecting the staff of the Dr. Antonio Yapor Heded hospital in northeastern Nagua, Maria Trinidad Sánchez province. The hospital director, Dr. Emmanuel Oscar Pérez, expressed his alarm that out of 45 tests carried out on 20 July at the hospital, 42 came back positive (7 doctors, 18 nurses, 16 administrative employees and one lab technician). He said what most concerns him is that most of the medical staff had no symptoms. They were tested because they had had contact with people who had tested positive.

Dr. Perez said since the beginning of the pandemic they have had 57 health care workers test positive. He said the hospital is not authorized for Covid-19 patients, but people show up at the emergency room and are attended to and referred to other centers.

Another 55 persons were tested on the same day. Of these 48 came...

According to Coronavirus Bulletin #137 of the Ministry of Public Health’s Department of Epidemiology, the Dominican Republic has 73,117 confirmed cases, including 828 new cases. The lull in cases is related to the passing of Tropical Storm Isaias. Bulletin #137 indicates that 42% of the reported cases are persons in the 20-39 years range.

The number of confirmed cases depends on the availability of PCR tests that continues to be very scarce, especially in the provinces. In the Dominican Republic, even the well off have to wait to get tested. For a shot at a free PCR test, people queue for hours at the Laboratorio Nacional Dr. Defilló in Santo Domingo.

The average testing over the past 14 days is 3,718 PCR tests. The numbers of diagnostic tests carried out over the past 14 days [the difference between the PCR tests reported since the past bulletin] are: 1,685...

During the inauguration on Wednesday, 29 July 2020 of the Punta Catalina Thermoelectrical Central, the 752 MW coal-fired power plant was described as the most important infrastructure built over the two terms of the Medina government (2012-2020). The consortium made up by Odebrecht-Technimont-Estrella built the power plant that has twin plants of 376 MW each.

Economist Jaime Aristy Escuder, its general manager for the past three years, has been on several talk shows to defend the power plant and highlight the contributions it has already made and will be making to the country.

Critics point to corruption in the tender and contracting process and irregularities in the construction. Aristy Escuder says: “Sooner or later, people will recognize the contributions of Punta Catalina to the country.” He made the remark during an interview with Rumbo de la Tarde. He...

The capital city (the National District) was practically unaffected. Nevertheless, Isaias, the tropical storm that crossed over the Dominican Republic on Thursday-Friday (30-31 July 2020), forced thousands to evacuate.

Most of the major damages occurred in the eastern part of the country. Hato Mayor was the most hardest hit province. Samaná also saw a lot of damage.

General Juan Manuel Mendez, director of the Center for Emergency Operations, said Tropical Storm Isaias isolated 28 communities and more than a thousand homes damaged. Some 5,210 people were evacuated.

General Mendez explained the damages were from flooding. “There are many rivers that have risen in the east, northeast and the Cibao,” he said. There was flood damages in Puerto Plata and Samaná, But the most damages were caused by flooding rivers in Hato Mayor and San Francisco de Macoris...

In the eastern province of Hato Mayor, hundreds of houses were damaged and thousands left without a place to sleep. Over five thousand persons were evacuated in the town, to the north of La Romana and San Pedro de Macoris and west of El Seibo.

“Terrifying” was the word most used by residents in Hato Mayor when describing the storm’s passing. Winds were up to 95 km/h and rains of over 10 inches were registered. Both nearby rivers, the Magua and the Paña-Paña, overflowed their banks, causing historic flooding in this small city, founded in the early 16th century.

One elderly resident told reporters that many hurricanes had passed by Hato Mayor, and she named David, Georges and Maria, but she said, “none were as terrifying and damaging as this one.” Isaias caused all the damage it did despite not reaching hurricane category while passing...

Barahona got the better part of the Tropical Storm Isaias. The province was desperately in need of rain to improve the water levels of the Yaque del Sur River. For people in this province, Tropical Storm Isaias was a blessing.

Media reports are that the river has returned Laguna Rincón in Cabral to adequate levels. A long-running drought had been affecting communities in the area that lived off fishing in the lagoon.

The water corporation for the capital city (CAASD) reports that the heavy rains filled up the water sources for the National District. As of Monday, city residents will have better water service.

Francisco Camacho / Diario Libre

President-elect Luis Abinader tweeted over the weekend to name his choices for Minister of Women, the Minister of Sports, and the Minister of Industry and Commerce. These are:

Minister of Women: Mayra JiménezJiménez is a lawyer, with a masters in economic regulations from the Pontifical Catholic University Madre y Maestra. She is member of the Economic and Social Council, a public-private advisory body. For years she has been active in consultations and consensus-building on social, economic, labor and gender issues. She replaces Janet Camilo.

Minister of Sports: Francisco CamachoFrancisco Camacho has been the president of the Taekwondo Federation since 2007. He is a 6th Dan Kukkiwon Black Belt. He is also part of the Dominican Olympic Committee COD), with close ties to the president of the COD, Luisín Mejía. He is a civil...

In an interview with Jose Monegro, editor of El Dia, President-elect Luis Abinader speaks of first tackling the challenges of the health crisis, creating jobs, the recovery of the economy, maintaining macroeconomic stability and kickstarting the school year. In the interview, Abinader shares many insights of what is to come.

[b]Getting straight to work[/b]There will be no inaugural celebrations. At most a luncheon with international visitors will be held at the Presidential Palace on 16 August 2020. The traditional military parade and celebration at the Presidential Palace is cancelled.

[b]Strategic Economic and Sanitary Plan[/b]His team had been working on the plan to turn around the Dominican economy for years. It now has been adjusted to be carried out in the present health crisis. The government will present a supplementary budget to be approved by Congress...

A report in Listin Diario reminds Dominicans about the classy Dominican Vice President-elect Raquel Peña. Peña previously was the vice rector of the largest private university, the Pontifical Catholic University Madre y Maestra, when chosen by Luis Abinader to be his running mate for the 5 July presidential election.

In addition to her role as Vice President, President-elect Abinader has chosen her to lead the Health Cabinet in these times of Covid-19 epidemic and the recent spike in cases.

A recent feature in Listin Diario by Celeste Pérez describes Peña as a woman “with her own ideas and lots of style.” The Vice President-elect is assisted by Dominican stylist Reading Pantaleón. “Peña projects a style with which she feels comfortable, and even in the most casual environments she maintains her ladylike essence,” writes the journalist.

Read more in...

Minority political parties are “expensive franchises,” says the Institutionalism and Justice Foundation (Finjus). Finjus expects legislators will give these a hard look as the country immerses itself into a process of reforms after the opposition party swept the Executive Branch, Legislative Branch and the municipalities. The Abinader government team has announced the new proposals seek to make government more efficient and transparent.

Finjus says that the minority parties don’t act as people meeting to resolve local issues. Instead, they are franchises that cost the country a lot of money.

Finjus remarks that if it were not for the political patronage of the majority parties, many of these groups, which lack real leaders, would have disappeared long ago.

Looking at the recent 5 July presidential and congressional elections, Finjus is calling for an assessment of the role...

Diario Libre gave a recent headline to how the US magazine, Variety has given attention to film making in the Dominican Republic. Variety expects more films to be made in the country, despite the pandemic.

Last year, 27 Dominican films were theatrically released, a dramatic leap from just six in 2011, reports Variety. The feature makes the point that many of these have scored well at the local box office, outpacing even blockbusters from Hollywood. The market share of Dominican films, 21% in 2018, ranks highest in Latin America, even beating that of the largest country in the region, Brazil (15.1%) or, in the Spanish-speaking world, even Spain (15%).

Films in the Dominican Republic receive tax incentives under Law Law 108-10.

Read More:

The Dominican permanent delegation to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) received the official certificate that Dominican “bachata” music and dance is inscribed in its Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity List. The ceremony was carried out partially in person in Paris and partially via a Zoom conference. Dominican ambassador before the UNESCO, Jose Antonio Rodríguez received the certificate. Participating were Foreign Minister Miguel Vargas Maldonado, UNESCO officials and many friends of the recently deceased brilliant exponent of the music, Victor Victor (José Victor Rojas), who has top credits for recreating the genre and enriched it and making it international.

During the ceremony, Ernesto Ottone, a deputy director general of UNESCO for Culture, noted the very special occasion. He praised the singer and...

According to Coronavirus Bulletin #136 of the Ministry of Public Health’s Department of Epidemiology, the Dominican Republic has 72,243 confirmed cases, including 828 new cases. The lull in cases is due to the passing of Tropical Storm Isaias. Bulletin #136 indicates that 42% of the reported cases are persons in the 20-39 years range.

The number of confirmed cases depends on the availability of PCR tests that continues to be very scarce, especially in the provinces. In the Dominican Republic, even the well off have to wait to get tested. For a shot at a free PCR test, people queue for hours at the Laboratorio Nacional Dr. Defilló in Santo Domingo.

The average testing over the past 14 days is 3,840 PCR tests. The numbers of diagnostic tests carried out over the past 14 days [the difference between the PCR tests reported since the past bulletin] are: 2,558 (Bulletin...

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