Wednesday 31st August 2022.

August 31, 2022


The Epidemiology Department of the Ministry of Health (Minsa) confirmed this Tuesday, August 30, 2022, the tenth case of monkey pox. This tenth case corresponds to a 29-year-old man, a foreigner residing in Panama. According to the Minsa, the source of contagion in this case is related to one already detected in Panama and with which he had close contact on August 14. Subsequently, this 29-year-old patient presented symptoms, with fever, malaise, and joint pain. On August 28, vesicular lesions appeared on his skin, so he went to the Parque Lefevre polycenter a day later. There the samples are taken and sent to the Gorgas Commemorative Institute for Health Studies, resulting positive for monkeypox. The patient is stable, in home isolation, the Minsa specified in a report. After confirming the tenth case of monkeypox in the country, the head of Health, Luis Francisco Sucre, reiterated that there is already community transmission of monkeypox in the country. Sucre said that steps are being taken with the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) for the acquisition of a thousand vaccines to combat the disease and that anyone who is at risk can apply it.   The official explained that the monkeypox vaccine has been approved for emergency use by the United States Food and Drug Administration and that Panama is among the first countries to receive it.  The transmission of monkeypox, from person to person, can occur through skin lesions, from one infected person to another, respiratory and body fluids; and also through infected clothing or any surface that has had contact with the lesions. Since last May 24, Panama declared a health alert throughout the country and epidemiological surveillance was redoubled in all health regions and entry points into the national territory. Worldwide, data reported by the World Health Organization (WHO) indicate that the majority of cases are men. 93% of cases are between 25 and 45 years of age, one of the main routes of transmission being contact made during sexual intercourse.

Denise Vega de Murzi , one of those charged in the case of clandestine vaccination against covid-19, reached an effective collaboration agreement and sentence of 48 months in prison on August 30. The agreement was validated by a judge during an approval hearing, held on Tuesday. The anti-corruption prosecutor Marina García said during the hearing that Vega provided extensive information that has helped clarify the investigation. However, the agreement is not yet in force, since it will be executed once the accused appears and declares in court that, for this reason, two other people are being followed: Matías Pérez Escudero and Celine Gazal de Esses. The first is preventively detained, while Gazzal de Esses has a precautionary measure preventing him from leaving the country and periodic notification. There is one person under investigation who is on the run. Vega de Murzi and Celine Gazal de Esses organized clandestine vaccinations against covid-19, in buildings in Coco del Mar and Punta Pacifica, in June 2021, violating the protocols of the Ministry of Health (Minsa) in force at that time. In Coco del Mar, the crime took place in a commercial premises in Vega de Murzi and, in Punta Pacifica, in the residence of Gazal de Esses. Pérez Escudero, meanwhile, was identified as the person transporting the vaccines. The anti-corruption prosecutor Itzel Koo said that in the investigations it was possible to establish that in the days organized by the two accused, the vaccine against covid-19 was not supplied but “another type of medication”. In addition, the vaccination cards given to those vaccinated were also false.

It must be remembered that this case arose as a result of a report by La Prensa , signed by the journalist Flor Mizrachi, on June 8, 2021, which reported on these activities carried out in Coco del Mar and Punta Pacifica. During these clandestine days, a total of 16 people were vaccinated on June 1 in Punta Pacifica, while another 16 were vaccinated on June 7 in Coco del Mar. That same day, the Minsa filed a complaint with the Public ministry. After Tuesday’s hearing, prosecutor Koo reported that, despite the different procedures carried out in conjunction with the National Police, it has not yet been possible to locate a fourth person allegedly linked to this crime.

Between this August 29 and 30 Richard Fifer, former governor of the province of Coclé, is tried for his alleged commission of the crime of improper withholding of employee-employer contributions to the detriment of the Social Security Fund, for an amount of more than 6 million dollars. The oral trial court is held in the facilities of the accusatory penal system, in the district of Penonomé, province of Coclé. It began on the morning of this Monday. According to the Judicial Branch, the trial court is made up of judges Virginia Rodríguez, who presides over it; Florelia Bonilla and Amarelis Sucre. The hearing began with the opening arguments by the Public Prosecutor’s Office and the private technical defense and later the evidentiary presentation by the interveners began. The presentation of 25 pieces of evidence is planned, including testimonials, expert opinions and documents. The Public Ministry is represented by the superior Anticorruption prosecutor, Mahmad Daud Hasan, and the deputy prosecutor Olmedo Gómez, while the private technical defense is in charge of Julio Pinzón Cossio. This investigation was initiated by the alleged withholding of contributions from the Social Security Fund at the end of 2013 until January 2015, through the companies Petaquilla Gold, SA and Panamá Desarrollo e Infraestructura, SA, of which the former governor was the legal representative. of Cocle.

One person died as a result of a fire registered this Tuesday in the Torre El Cangrejo building, located on Vía Argentina. The victim corresponds to a 90-year-old woman, who lived alone and could not leave the building on time, reported Luis Jaramillo, of the Panama Fire Department. As a result of this event, the Homicide and Femicide Section of the Metropolitan Prosecutor’s Office reported that it opened an investigation. Residents of the area indicated that, before 6:00 am, they heard a loud explosion. “At 5:45 am I heard a fairly loud noise that woke me up,” said one of the residents of a building diagonal to Torre del Cangrejo. He narrated that he later heard a person in a nearby building who shouted “Fire” and it was then that he was able to observe the emergency that arose on the penultimate floor of the affected building. “The firefighters arrived in 10 minutes, quite quickly, and at once they began to work,” he said. “The two roads were closed so that the other firefighters could enter, it helped that at that time there is not much traffic,” he added. Preliminarily it has been announced that three floors (11, 12 and 13) were damaged. Firefighters realized that the explosion began on the 12th floor and then spread to the 11th and 13th floors. Similarly, an adjoining building was affected by the debris. Meanwhile, about 120 people were evacuated by rescue personnel. At least eight people received assistance due to nervous breakdowns, it was learned. Officials from three stations of the Panama Fire Department moved to the emergency area. The entity reported on its social networks that, after 6:30 am, the fire had already been controlled. Personnel from the Fire Safety, Prevention and Investigation Directorate arrived at the site to initiate the corresponding investigation. Officials from SUME 911 and the National Police were also at the scene.

On July 18, the preliminary hearing in the case of the bribes that Odebrecht paid in Panama was postponed until September 12. The reason? The absence of various defense attorneys with various excuses, some medical. The suspension once again delayed a judicial process, a frequent practice in high-profile cases. The independent deputy Gabriel Silva presented before the National Assembly on August 10 a preliminary bill that prohibits “judicial abuse.” In the explanatory memorandum, Silva defines abuse of law as “the use of resources and/or legal mechanisms in judicial proceedings with the intention of delaying or hindering the judicial process for the benefit of a client.” He argues that the current procedural laws “do not contemplate the appropriate mechanisms to ensure that the substance of the process does not yield to the form.” He considers it “fundamental” to have a law of this type. The draft law, which must be debated in the first debate in the Government, Justice and Constitutional Affairs Commission, establishes, for example, the prohibition of the presentation of false medical disabilities. It also provides mechanisms to prohibit the substitution of a judiciary for the purpose of postponing a proceeding. The draft has an article that refers directly to doctors who issue false or inaccurate disability certificates and proposes to remove their license to operate. The other component of the proposal is the empowerment of judges in the processes to fine legal representatives who enter into an abuse of rights. They may also be unaware of the legal resources that are made by abusing legal norms. The initiative states that judges must base their decisions on substantive issues. The aim is to avoid the prescription of the processes due to the absence of the investigated party. Article 285 of the Criminal Procedure Code would be modified to develop the concept of “absence of the investigated party” and allow him to be charged when he is summoned and does not appear. For the former magistrate of the Supreme Court of Justice, Harry Díaz, the Accusatory Penal System must allow charges and hearings despite the absence of the investigated or if his lawyer does not give a valid excuse. It also advocates the non-prescription of serious crimes or corruption. On the other hand, the president of the Court of Honor of the National Bar Association, Antonio Loaiza, sees with “concern” that they seek to “criminalize the practice of law.” In his opinion, the way should be prevention. He stressed that the Code of Ethics for lawyers contemplates offenses for hindering or delaying justice.

The Institute of National Aqueducts and Sewers (Idaan) reported on the afternoon of this Tuesday, August 30, that in the districts of Panama and San Miguelito there will be a lack of water and low pressure at high points due to the fact that the Chilibre water treatment plant decreased its production. According to the entity, the plant decreased its production to 80% of its capacity due to an internal failure, which was not detailed by Idaan in its statement. However, he clarified that the technical personnel carry out the evaluations of the system to recover the production of drinking water for the so-called metropolitan area. Generally, when this mishap occurs, the places that are affected are Bella Vista, La Cresta, Perejil, Betania, Miraflores, Altos de Miraflores, La Locería, Tumba Muerto and Clayton. Customers in the areas of San Francisco, Río Abajo, Hato Pintado, Obarrio, October 12, El Dorado, Limajo, Dos Mares, Villa de las Fuentes 1 and 2, Santa María, and Altos de Panamá were also affected. In addition, sectors of the district of San Miguelito and areas far from the network, which range from Pedregal to La Siesta de Tocumen, may see their water service interrupted.

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