Wednesday 19th January 2022.

January 19, 2022

The Ministry of Health (Minsa) reported this Tuesday, January 18, that in the last 24 hours 13 people died from Covid-19 and updates four deaths from previous dates, so the accumulated number of deaths rises to 7,545. Meanwhile, 11,519 new infections are registered. They applied 34,739 tests for a positivity of 33.2%. Active cases total 62,918 to date, of which 62,311 are in home isolation and 607 hospitalized. Those in isolation are divided into 61,808 at home and 503 in hotels. Those hospitalized are 552 in the ward and 55 in the intensive care units.

The Comptroller General Gerardo Solís reported this Tuesday, that he issued instructions to the National Directorate of General Audit to carry out an evaluation of the salaries, representation expenses, mobilization and per diems of the mayors and corregimiento representatives. He indicated that “the very spirit” of the Decentralization Law allows the current budget allocation in the line of mobilization expenses. “Therefore, each allocation must have a basis that we will review thoroughly,” he stressed.

The mayor of the capital, José Luis Fábrega , justified this Tuesday the mobilization cost that accrues in the position and assured that it is contemplated in the law. When asked by journalists if he would be willing to reduce that item, Fábrega said: “The truth is that we have walked during the pandemic, at the most critical moments of the pandemic, and they have not asked us that question.” Fábrega is the highest paid mayor in the country: he receives $12,250 monthly, according to data from the Comptroller General of the Republic. However, Fabrega tried on Tuesday to minimize the issue with an explanation of the concept of salary. “The income of all officials is made up in different ways. The issue of salary in our case is not 12,000 dollars, it is 7,000 dollars,” he said. He added that he does not have to support the mobilization expenses. “The law does not contemplate it,” he remarked, and pointed out that the Office of the Comptroller General of the Republic is responsible for ensuring the proper use of these public funds.

A complaint for the alleged commission of the crime of abuse of authority and infringement of the duties of public servants was filed this Tuesday, before the Supreme Court of Justice against the 71 deputies of the National Assembly. The legal action is filed by a group of lawyers reference the approval in November 2021 of three laws that are related to fiscal and tax issues.

The Government gave a term, which seemed like an ultimatum, for Minera Panama to accept its last economic proposal to establish an increase in the payment of royalties through a new payment scheme. The period established since last Thursday, January 13, expired yesterday, January 17, and Minera Panama responded with an acceptance, without showing resistance, despite the fact that days before it had stated that it was surprised by the change in methodology to calculate the payment of royalties. With the current system, the 2% payment is not influenced by the production costs incurred by the company, but the new proposal establishes a payment between 12% and 16%, on the profit after deducting expenses. In other words, the Government accepts new variables that may affect its percentage of royalties, but in exchange for a higher payment. With this formula and with the collection of Income Tax, the Government bets on receiving a minimum annual payment of $375 million.

The cabinet council approved, on the night of this Monday, purchase of tests to detect Covid-19 and antiviral drugs for the treatment of the disease, through an exceptional procedure via an online quote through the PanamaCompra portal.

The coach of the Panamanian soccer team, Thomas Christiansen , tested positive for Covid-19 and is complying with the respective isolation, confirmed this Tuesday, January 18, by the Panamanian Soccer Federation (Fepafut). The federation specified that Christiansen tested positive after the last test carried out this Monday, January 17, on the delegation that returned from Peru after a friendly match last Sunday.

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