Washington isn’t Miffed at Dominican President, May Meet With Obama

A unique opportunityBarack Obama

BREAKING NEWS: Washington. – President Barack Obama plans to speak with his Dominican colleague Leonel Fernandez during the Summit of the Americas slated for Port of Spain, Trinidad & Tobago, between April 17 and 19, and the White House isn’t concerned with the Dominican President’s recent trip to Cuba.

However the meeting won’t be of an official bilateral character rather an informal conversation within the event, said the U.S. chief executive’s special adviser Jeffrey Davidow.

He also denied that the White House was concerned with the Dominican President’s recent trip to Cuba, or of his visit with that nation’s ex leader Fidel Castro.

In that regard, Davidow said to newspaper Listin Diario the impression by some sectors of Fernandez’s visit to Cuba is erroneous and it’s evidenced by the fact that this week vice president Joseph Biden was in a country, Costa Rica, which recently restored diplomatic relations with Havana.

“Most of the presidents have been (lately) in Cuba,” the diplomat said regarding comments on Fernandez’s absence in Biden’s meeting with the Central American presidents, and which certain groups interpreted as a snub by Washington. “That interpretation is incorrect”.

Davidow said Obama’s possible meeting with Fernandez “will be a unique opportunity”, despite that there are no bilateral encounters programmed, but affirmed that there’ll be opportunities for the region’s leaders to speak openly.

Dominican Today, 01.04.09

Minor Quake Shakes Dominican Republic

Hearthquake Dominican Republic
Magnitude 4.3 on the Richter scale

BREAKING NEWS: An earth tremor shook to the Capital and a large part of the country’s north region today and sparked panic among those who felt it Thursday morning.

The U.S Geodetic Survey (USGS) specialized Earthquake Hazard Program detected the quake -magnitude 4.3 on the Richter scale- at 8:20 a.m.

The epicenter of the tremor, felt in Tamboril, Santiago, Espaillat, Santo Domingo and other localities, was located at 19.570 latitude North and 70.574 longitude East, at 10 kilometers in depth.

No injuries or damages have been reported so far.

Dominican Today, 02.04.09

Agencies Prepare for Easter Exodus Starting Thursday

Operation Easter 2009

BREAKING NEWS: The Emergency Operations Center (COE) will begin Operation Easter 2009 on noon Thursday, April 9, with the participation of around 40,000 mostly volunteers, who’ll be scattered throughout the highways, beaches and lakes, to prevent accidents and provide safety for the people who head to the interior.

In a National Palace press conference, COE director Juan Manuel Méndez said it will install 9 regional command centers with 123 ambulances and 2,351 first aid stations on the main highways, as well as three Armed Forces aircraft. It will also have five mobile hospitals and a communications network of first responders.

Metropolitan Transit Authority director Rafael Bencosme Candelier said 1,426 agents will be deployed across the country, and the traditional traffic control escort will begin Easter Domingo, to prevent reckless drivers from endangering the lives of those returning to the major cities.

Dominican Today, 03.04.09

Dominican Maritime Zones

Dominican Republic
Identification of places of interest

BREAKING NEWS: Spanish and Dominican scientists began this Sunday a 20 days study of sea-beds all around the country to identify sectors of economic interest and potentially generator of seism and tidal wave.

In this project named Caribenorte, takes part the Hespérides ship, of the Spanish Armed forces and the Orión, of the Dominican Navy.

Six million euros will be invested in this experience, brought by the Complutense University of Madrid, according to the details revealed to the press.

The Dominican part will be of four million 500 thousand pesos (approximately 130 thousand dollars) in addition to the technicians of the Autonomous University of Santo Domingo (UASD) and of the personnel of the Navy for marking the perforation and other tasks.

The program also includes the evaluation of the presence of hydrocarbon in the marine floor of the Dominican territorial waters.

Dominican Republic Live, 06.04.09

Another Dominican Group Forms to Protect the Environment

Promotion and defense

BREAKING NEWS: Professionals from several disciplines announced a new national organization of volunteers to promote and defend the environment and the natural resources, the second such movement after the creation of the “Pro Cordillera Voluntary Society” last week, which pledged to recover and protect the Central Mountain Range.

In a statement, the Citizens Environment Defense Alliance (ALAM) said it aims to educate, inform and promote a commitment by men and women of all ages and social condition to defend the main patrimony: ecological balance and biodiversity.

“This idea is part of the conviction to defend the environment which isn’t an exclusive attribute of the public and private institutions dedicated to the tasks preserving it, because until the country’s inhabitants don’t empower themselves regarding their duties, nothing will be sustainable”, said the journalist and member Ramon E. Colombo.

ALAM’s first public activity, the “Open Assembly in Defense of Life” will be held 4 p.m. Wednesday in Santa Ana Cave, located in the park of the National Music Conservatory.

Colombo said Environment minister Jaime David Fernandez Mirabal enthusiastically supports project. “Jaime David has been insistent on that ALAM must preserve its quality as an independent organism of citizens, so it becomes a true incentive for the agencies to enforce Environment Law 64-00.”

ALAM’s members include the singer-songwriters Victor Victor and Jose Antonio Rodriguez; the architect Emilio Jose Brea; the theater producer Mónica Despradel, and the ecologists David Arias, Ramon Narpier, Noris Pimentel, Nelson Cabrera, Carolina Lerebours, the agronomist Angel Ripol; doctor Angel Pichardo; the business leaders Nicolas Hernandez and Jose Manuel Vargas; the student and writer Saima Chahín and Jose Enrique Trinidad.

Dominican Today, 07.04.09

The 2009 Hurricane Season Should Be Less Active than the Preceding One

Thanks to the phenomenon « El Niño »

BREAKING NEWS: Miami. – The 2009 hurricane season 2009 in the the Atlantic will be less active than the one recorded last year, with the formation of 12 tropical storms and 6 cyclones, 2 among tem of great intensity, informed today meteorologists of the United States.

« El Niño » would be one of the factors which would prevent a greater formation of hurricanes, predicted William Gray, called the “Guru of the hurricanes” and his team of the University of Colorado.

One expects that the season which begins on June 1 and which finishes on November 30 is active as an average season.

An average season takes into account the formation of 11 tropical storms and 6 hurricanes, including two of category 3 or more on the Saffir-Simpson scale which goes from 1 to 5.

In 2008, one recorded a very active season with 16 tropical storms and 8 hurricanes, 4 among them of major category, which left behind them at least 800 killed people, the Caribbean having been the most affected zone.

According to the forecasts for this year, there would be 54 percent of probability that there is an impact of a cyclone of force 3, 4 or 5 on the coasts of the United States.

The forecast for thr state of Florida, one of the principal terrestrial places of impact of the hurricanes is of 32 percent and for the coast of the Gulf of Mexico, of 31 percent.

Dominican Republic Live, 08.04.09

The COE Starts its Prevention Action Semana Santa 2009

Semana Reivindicativa 2009
Almost all the population is leaving to touristic zones

BREAKING NEWS: More than 40.000 volunteers, 123 ambulancies, and 2351 first-aid stations will be dispersed from today at midday in the several localities of the country. This is how starts the “Semana Santa Reivindicativa 2009”, which aims to protect the lives of the vacationists.

The “Center of Emercency Operations” (COE), started yesterday the dispensing of support material and the dispersion of the staff who will work on the operation, on the beaches and points of water as well as on the country highways.

Each one of the government institution and security group that form the “National Commission of Emercency” declared that everything was ready to start the plan.

The general Juan Manuel Méndez asked the vacationists to be ready to listen about the possible closing of other beaches and points of water.

On the other hand, the director of the Touristic Police (Politur) informed that he put at the disposal of the population 1000 officers in order guarantee the tranquility and calmness of each vacationist.

The general Henry Gómez Bueno remembered that the touristic police agents will control the music level, and will ensure themselves no jet ski are used in water.

The COE have at its disposal nine regional centers, five hospitals, an helicopter and a communication system that will enable it to be in contact with the first-aid stations.

Dominican Republic Live, 09.04.09

Police Collect Tires Preparing for Protests After Holy Week

All over the country

BREAKING NEWS: The announcements by community groups regarding protests and strikes all over the country has put the National Police and the Armed Forces on alert, and with these warning, they have taken the precautions necessary by placing personnel at strategic spots, such as bridgeheads, and by increasing the number of patrols in the main barrios of the capital and in those provinces called « rebellious » , and by other actions such as the collection of old tires along the Duarte Highway.

It should be remembered that in 1984, after Holy Week, groups of « organized persons » started protests in Capotillo that later expanded all over the country because of the announcement of price increases for basic food items and medicines.

Currently, in the face of this situation, the chief of police, Major General Rafael Guillermo Guzmán Fermín, said yesterday that his institution is prepared to face any public manifestation that tries to create chaos and disorder under the allegations of strikes and protests.

Similarly, Rear Admiral Ramon G. Betances Hernández said that the Armed Forces are ready as well to preserve order in the country, but he did add that the troops were not in their barracks on alert.

Meanwhile, the chief of police said that he also felt that many of the community leaders were trapped in the past, using terrorist methods, such as paying criminal elements and drug traffickers to shoot at the police. He repeated, “A situation just like this happened in Salcedo”.

He added, “The police are always ready for any eventuality, but Police Headquarters is not giving a lot of importance to these rumors of strikes.”

Guzmán Fermín reassured reporters that the persons that pay delinquents to create disorder and shoot at the legal authorities “do not believe in democracy” , as he said that democracy is something else, “it is to respect the ideas and the rights of citizens, it is participative.”

He emphasized “that we are calling upon the organizers of these activities to use creative ideas in their methods of protest.”

Diario Libre, 13.04.09

Tragedy of the Easter Week Holiday

COE reports 56 deaths and 348 injured

BREAKING NEWS: DOMINICAN REPUBLIC.- The Center for Emergency Operations (COE) reported yesterday that 56 persons died and 348 were injured over the Easter Week holiday, a total of 404 cases.

General Juan Manuel Mendez Garcia, the director of the COE, explained that within this group, there were 319 persons injured in traffic accidents with 36 dead; 16 person died by drowning; there were 60 persons with alcohol poisoning, nine from food poisoning, among them, four dead, for a total of 56 deceased.

Yesterday the Civil Defense director, retired general Luis Antonio Luna Paulino, said that the number of dead over the weekend was 60, nevertheless, Mendez Garcia reiterated that the official numbers were the ones he was giving reporters.

As he read the final bulletin, number 4, the COE director pointed out that of the 319 persons affected by the 107 accidents that were registered, there were 127 motorcycles involved and 63 motor vehicles.

The Holy Week operation began at noon last Thursday and ended at 8 o’clock on Easter Sunday night brought about a reduction in the total number of traffic accidents, but with a higher number of persons drowned, going from 7 in 2008 to 20 dead this year.

Officials pointed out the role played by the Metropolitan Transit Authority (AMET) during the operation as they detained 164 automobiles, 2,059 motorcycles for a total of 2,223. Motorcyclists had their motorcycles seized by the authorities for not wearing their helmets or not have the proper documents or for drinking alcoholic beverages while driving.

In comparison with 2008, the number of deaths registered in this operation increased by 45%, “but in spite of this we managed to reduce the number of accidents by 27%; the total number of persons injured by 26% and there was a reduction of 9% in the total number of cases,” said the COE director.

At the same time, Mendez Garcia said that the organizations that provided under the COE umbrella “will not cease until they get the people to accept and obey the preventive measures and listen to and accept the education campaigns that are launched during Easter Week and over New Years.”

Diario Libre, 14.04.09

Banks Must Channel Their Money

Dominican Central banker says

BREAKING NEWS: Central banker Héctor Valdez Albizu yesterday said the monetary authorities’ greater challenge is to get the banks to start channeling their funds towards the productive sectors.

According to Valdez, the banks’ current volume of money varies, but estimates it as high as 20 billion pesos.

The State injected part of those funds (RD $3.0 billion), through the Hacienda Ministry.

All told the official said RD $5.8 billion of the RD $10.8 billion the Government announced it made available to make the economy flexible.

Aside from that measure, the Central Banker said it sustains a policy to lower interest rates “so that investors can access those funds. It seems to me that that’s the most orthodox manner to promote growth and therefore, generate jobs.”

According to the official, the country has lost 40, 000 jobs, mostly in the free zone sector, and that it could’ve been more.

Valdez Albizu said he feels positive about the Dominican economy’s future performance because of sustained stability, based on 3% growth and 5% inflation, as estimated.

Regarding the handling of the crisis, the official affirms that the country has obtained good qualifications. “We who are a small country, I feel that we’ve managed the crisis successfully.”

Dominican Today, 15.04.09

Leonel Will Travel on Friday to Trinidad and Tobago

To attend the Summit of Americas

BREAKING NEWS: President Leonel Fernández will travel this Friday to Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, to attend the 5th Summit of Americas where he will have bilateral meetings with some of the chiefs of state and of government present at the conclave.

Saturday 18, preliminary to the first plenary session, president Fernández will hold bilateral meetings to strengthen the relations with other nations of the sector. This same day, he will take part in two work sessions of the Summit of Americas.

The conclusion of the event is programmed for Sunday 19 with a closing ceremony and a press conference, during which the details of the agreements subscribed during the Summit, will be disclosed.

The central subject of the regional event will be “To ensure the future of our citizens by promoting human prosperity, energy security and aptitude to support sustainable environmental operations”.

The work of the 34 agents will be an opportunity to analyze, in a regional prospect, the current international financial crisis and possible measures to mitigate and reverse its effects.

Dominican Republic Live, 16.04.09

The U.S. asks Dominican Republic to Help Haiti

Hillary Clinton
To invest in the construction of resorts

BREAKING NEWS: U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton Thursday asked the Dominican hoteliers to invest in Haiti and that her government is interested in installing twin plants between that country and Dominican Republic to contribute to create jobs, according to Foreign Relations minister Carlos Morales.

He said Clinton asked the country’s tourism industry leaders to invest in the construction of resorts in Haiti, affirming that that country has all the conditions required in that area.

He said the United States government is very interested that the and Haiti Dominican Republic jointly develop free zone, tourism and financial services projects, as occurred in the 1970s and 1980s.

The Secretary of State, who arrived at 6:35 p.m. yesterday from Port au Prince, Haiti, described herself through Morales, as a great ally and friend of the Dominican people and that her interest is the nation’s development.

“She said the United States is a great friend and ally of this nation and it’s a great honor for her to be here on an official visit now as an official of the United States Government.” Morales said.

He said Clinton noted that the installation and construction of twin plants in the border zone and in Haiti would significantly help to create thousands of jobs, which her government’s interest.
Prepares a report

The Foreign Relations Minister, who received Clinton in the Las Americas Airport, said he’ll prepare a report on the areas the United States can help Dominican Republic and Haiti jointly. “For example a law was passed that allowed the creation of 3,000 jobs by the Group M which installed twin plants in the border and also in Port au Prince.”
Today’s agenda

Hillary Clinton will begin her intense agenda at 7 a.m. Friday the Rosa Duarte school in the National District, where the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) conducts cooperation programs. At 9:50 a.m. president Leonel Fernandez and Clinton will meet in the National Palace, activity which only the official press will have access to.

It’s been reported that Clinton and the chief executive will talk about drug trafficking, bilateral relations, the Summit of the Americas and the global economic crisis.

Dominican Today, 17.04.09

War on Drugs Was Dominican President’s Main Pitch to Obama

Barack Obama Leonel Fernandez
Fifth Summit of the Americas

BREAKING NEWS : President Leonel Fernandez said the Dominican Republic, Panama and the countries in the Central American Integration System (SICA) yesterday raised to their U.S. par Barack Obama the need for that country to increase its sea and air surveillance to fight drug trafficking in the region.

The chief executive said that in a meeting with Obama, prior to the close of the Fifth Summit of the Americas, in Port of Spain, his Central American pars also requested an increase in the contribution of technological equipment and training for the personnel of those nations.

He affirmed that in the meeting they identified the topics which affect the region such as the economic crisis, the need to recapitalize the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and flexibility in the payment of the debt owed to the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Fernandez said president Obama was very receptive and expressed his disposition to follow up on the topics discussed, such as the economic crisis, drug trafficking, security, immigration and prosperity. “There’ll be new gathering and the doors and a communication channel were left open so that it’s possible to call him directly to the White House and to deal with the topics of the region and bilateral topics.”

The Head of State spoke to journalists after participating in the closing of the Summit, held since Friday in the Trinidad and Tobago capital, with the participation of 34 chief executives of the region.

Leonel Fernandez said he was satisfied with meeting with Barack Obama and the entire Summit, because initially there was a perception of tension, that didn’t occur, and contrary to these predictions there was an attitude of camaraderie.

Dominican Today, 20.04.09

Government Discusses Electricity With WB and IDB

A high-level commission from the two banks

BREAKING NEWS : DOMINICAN REPUBLIC.- The government, with the support of the World Bank (WB) and the Inter American Development Bank (IDB) is working on a new plan to “definitely” free the electricity sector from the problems that have been affecting it for the last 50 years.

Vicente Bengoa, the Minister of the Hacienda, and Radhames Segura, the vice president of the Dominican Corporation of State-owned Electricity Enterprises (CDEEE), made the announcement yesterday at the Presidential Palace, after taking part in a meeting that lasted for more than four hours with President Leonel Fernandez and a high-level commission from the two banks.

Bengoa reported that next week a commission made up of himself, the CDEEE vice president and the president of the National Council of Private Enterprise (CONEP), would travel to Washington, D.C. to take part in interviews with officials of the World Bank. During the visit they would iron out the details of the program.

According to Gina Montalvo, the general manager of the IDB for Belize, Central America, Mexico, the Dominican Republic and Panama, the plan would include a program to better the efficiency and the recovery of losses from distribution.

“It was agreed that we were going to increase the investment in these networks, and in another area, we are beginning to study the elements of the plan,” said the official during her part of the press conference.

By government invitation, the representatives of the WB and the IDB evaluated the situation of the electric sector in the Dominican Republic for more than a week.

Besides the technical support, the collaboration of the two banks includes monetary support. In the budget for this year there is US $350 million from the World Bank and US $700 million from the IDB, including US $360 million that would be injected into the local banks to better their liquidity.

Over the past few days, the electricity system has suffered a setback with the marked increase in the blackouts, attributed to the hundreds of millions of dollars in debts accumulated by the energy distributors with the generators. Yesterday, the vice president of the CDEEE said that he did not have an exact figure for the amount of the debt, and therefore he was not going to say.

A commission will provide permanent follow up on the plan, while the President will do it periodically, said Bengoa. The members of this commission have yet to be revealed.

Diario Libre,21.04.09

IMF: Dominican Economy to Grow in the Next 2 Years, Despite Pressures

Fmi Imf
A 2.0 percent growth in 209

BREAKING NEWS: WASHINGTON.- Dominican Republic’s economy will grow for the next two years despite the current pressures on the economies of the Caribbean region’s countries, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said today.

In its economic perspective report the organism said the Caribbean region is suffering from falling prices on its raw materials, which reduces the value of its exports.

As to the Dominican Republic it said weakening tourism and the fall of remittances from emigrants in the United States and Europe are the other negative factors affecting it.

In spite of it, the IMF predicts Dominican Republic’s Product Gross Domestic will grow 0.5 percent in 2009 and 2.0 percent in 2010, down from its 4.8 percent growth last year. It expects 1.7 percent inflation in 2009, down from 10.6 percent in 2008, and 5.8 percent in 2010.

Moreover, the IMF said the country’s current account will post a 6.8 percent deficit in 2009 and 6.9 percent in 2010.

Dominican Today, 22.04.09

Dominican Republic Gets its 1st Ttsunami Detector

It will manage the coasts and study the climate

BREAKING NEWS: Dominican Republic has installed its first tsunameter to detect the occurrence of tsunamis, and is part of the Marigraph Network which operates in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.

The equipment will make it easier to monitor the approaching phenomena, because the country has very active beaches.

The « Tsunami Read », located in the Caucedo multimodal port, has an operational cost of US $100,000, and will detect and warn of coastal dangers by monitoring the sea to predict changes in water levels, storm surges and swells, aid navigation safety, manage the coasts and study the climate.

Dominican Today, 23.04.09

The Public Health is Ready for the Hurricane Season

Strategic National Plan of Emergencies and Catastrophes Management

BREAKING NEWS: The Minister of Public health and Social assistance (SESPAS) ensured this Thursday that this institution was in condition of answering adequately to the possibilities which could occur during the next hurricane season.

Doctor Bautista Rojas Gómez said that the health authorities learned a lot since the floods of 2007, this is why they were prepared in logistic terms and with the necessary human resources. Rojas Gómez emitted these considerations after having received from the Panamerican Health Organization (OPS) a donation of 50 units of radio of communication for the 40 hospitals of the zones prone to the floods and for the ambulance network of the ministry.

He said that the preparation was not limited to the equipment, but that it was extended to the development of a National Strategic Plan of Emergencies and Catastrophes and to the qualification of human resources.

He added that the most recent actions took place on last Saturday with the creation of a diploma with a training of more than 50 health professionals, among them physicians, nurses, technicians, epidemiologists and environmentalists in « Management of Health hazard » with an aim of reinforcing the knowledge for the application of prevention measures, preparation and of mitigation in case of catastrophes.

The coordination of the activity is under the responsibility of the Prevention and Preparation of Catastrophes Program of the SESPAS, which has the financing of the European Union and which is coordinated by the DIGECOOM and the Program of the United Nations for Development (UNDP).

Dominican Republic Live, 24.04.09

Dominican Republic on Alert for Swine Flu

Controls were put into place at the airports, ports and along the frontier

BREAKING NEWS : DOMINICAN REPUBLIC.- The Dominican Republic has declared an epidemiological alert and watch in the face of the possibility of a pandemic spread of the swine flu that is spreading fear throughout the world after 1,410 cases and 86 deaths had been registered as of yesterday. All of the deaths were in Mexico.

Given this worrisome panorama, all the public and private medical centers were ordered to report any and all flu symptoms that they receive.

Minister of Public Health Bautista Rojas Gomez told reporters that he had ordered the hospitals and clinics to notify the ministry about any cases of viral infection as well as those cases that present symptoms similar to the grippe, with the idea of taking samples and sending them to the Center for Disease Control in Atlanta, Georgia.

The minister reported that controls were put into place at the airports, ports and along the frontier, and that equipment to monitor the temperature of those who enter Dominican territory.

Added to the preventive work by Public Health, both the ministries of Tourism and Agriculture have also taken steps.

According to the authorities, for the moment there have been no cases of swine flu reported in the country. The illness is not spread by eating pork; it is transmitted by direct contact with persons with a cough.

The National Commission that will work with the control of the virus has been convened for tomorrow in order to review the condition of the country and take step in the eventuality of a pandemic outbreak.

All over the world, passengers coming from Mexico are checked. China Russia and Taiwan are planning to place in quarantine any person that shows signs of the illness. Hong Kong, South Korea, Italy, Poland and Venezuela recommended to their citizens not to travel to Mexico or the United States.

The World Bank announced that it was lending US $205 million to Mexico in order to fight the disease.

Diario Libre, 27.04.09

Swine Flu Moves Government

National System of Epidemiological Vigilance

BREAKING NEWS: DOMINICAN REPUBLIC.- President Leonel Fernandez convened the National Influenza Commission today in order to know the details of the preventive measures that have been adopted by the entity in the face of the 149 deaths for the swine flu virus that have been reported in Mexico, where the World Health Organization raised the alert level to 4 on a scale of 6.

Yesterday, the authorities that make up the commission met to propose an agreement on preventive measures.

The ministers of Public Health, Bautista Rojas Gomez, and Agriculture, Salvador, Chio, Jimenez, after the end of the meeting were called by Fernandez into his office, where they told the President about the activation of the National System of Epidemiological Vigilance.

As he called upon the population to be calm, the head of Public Health, Rojas Gomez, said that they are prepared for any news of the sickness and that they are following up on passengers that come into the country, since this is one way for the disease to be spread.

Likewise, he ordered a message to be sent to all of the airlines that asked them to collaborate with the notification of any symptoms of high fevers in order to place that person under observation for 10 days as required by international protocols.

And in view of the fact that there are not sufficient thermographs to determine high temperatures, portable apparatus will be on hand at immigration check points, and the inspectors will check for fevers.

There are also restrictions in place in the ports and along the Haitian frontier.

With the idea of the danger that the swine flu represents for humanity, the official called on all the sectors of the country to join together with intelligence and commitment in order to deal with any eventuality that could become a world catastrophic event.

Diario Libre, 28.04.09

President Orders RD $50 Million for Vaccines

Protocol of the Pan American Health Organization

BREAKING NEWS: DOMINICAN REPUBLIC.- The National Commission on Avian and Swine Influenza decided last night to reinforce the contingency plan to prevent the propagation of the swine flu and announced that the government would invest RD $50 million for the purchase of 500,000 doses of an antiviral medicine that is effective against the virus as well as the additional purchase of thousands of surgical masks and three thermographs to be installed at the nation’s principal airports.

At the end of the meeting of the commission that is chaired by President Fernandez, and that was held in the Ambassadors Salon of the Presidential Palace, the minister said that starting with the epidemiological alert, the institutions that make up the commission have been following the Protocol of the Pan American Health Organization (OPS).

He said that two thermographs arrived in country last night, and they will be installed today in the Las Americas and Puerto Plata airports, since there is already one working at the Punta Cana airport, since it is the one with the greatest number of passengers.

He explained that these apparatus have infrared cameras that can detect body temperature higher than 38 degrees and permit the identification of any person with such a high fever.

Another measure put into place by the institutions that make up the commission is that the passengers are welcomed and they are asked if they have a fever or a cough, or if they have been in contact with a person with these symptoms, and they are asked to supply the information necessary to locate them and provide follow-up should the need arise during their stay in the country.

Rojas Gomez confirmed that the OPS approved yesterday that the virus is sensitive to two medications, which gives some sort of tranquility to the local authorities, and they will go into the market and make a large purchase of the anti-virals even though there is a small supply in the country.

Likewise, at the Autonomous University of Santo Domingo (UASD), the Health Risk Management Commission was activated. This commission is made up of the School of Public Health of the Health Sciences Faculty, the Risk and Disaster Management Unit and the Medical Dispensary.

Diario Libre, 29.04.09

Swine Flu Has Not Reached the Dominican Republic

WHO recommended unlimited travel to the country

BREAKING NEWS: DOMINICAN REPUBLIC.- The Dominican Republic does not have sufficient material to carry out the clinical tests for the swine flu virus, a pandemic that the World Health Organization (WHO) has raised to a level 5 of 6.

In view of this situation, the head of Public Health reported that they are acquiring more samples in order to carry out the tests for the virus in case it is necessary, and that they have an important amount of these (He did not give any numbers) ready to be used.

Along this line of thinking, the minister called the reporter’s attention to the fact that the tests for the virus must follow the international protocol, and carried out on those who have been in contact with infected persons and that present the symptoms of the illness.

Rojas Gomez also referred to the use of masks, and said that if the virus is not going around there is no reason to use them.
He reported that the WHO recommended unlimited travel to the country.

Yesterday, the president of the National Association of Hotel and Restaurants, Haydee Kuret de Rainieri, said that as a result of the swine flu in Mexico, the country is going to benefit, with 10 flights that were going to Mexico but were rerouted to the Dominican Republic.

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