The latest Covid-19 statistics, for the week ending 4 March, have been released. I can’t help thinking they show a Carnivale effect, as they show a small, but significant increase. There are 458 new cases (compared to 259 the week before, and slightly more than the total for 3 weeks ago). There were also 5 new fatalities – the highest weekly total since mid-January. The good news is that the numbers in hospital wards, 31, are down, and just 1 patient remains in ICU. On the other hand, the number of active cases has risen by 73 to 598.
In other news, former President Martín Torrijos has announced his candidacy for the 2024 Presidential elections. He was the President 2004-2009. In Panama, Presidents can only serve one 5-year term at a time. The odd thing, perhaps, is that he will not be the candidate for the PRD party, whose candidate he was in 2004.
Meanwhile, the latest opinion poll shows that former President Martinelli is still ahead, just, on 31%, with a current Vice-President just behand on 27%.
In other news, it is reported that Brazilian Odebrecht – the company that was mired in the “Car Wash” corruption scandals – has not paid its fine for 2022, and is so in breach of its agreement with Panama. The fine agreed in 2017 was $220 million, payable over 12 years, to which has been added default interest. For 2022, with a 5% surcharge for late/non-payment, it owes $19.2 million.
7 MARCH 2023