Dear LCO collaborators,
Yesterday the authorities decreed phase 4 of the health emergency for the Coquimbo region. This means that there is no certainty of the origin of the infection in some cases, i.e. traceability was lost. At this stage, the Ministerio de Salud can propose safeguard measures for the population in the area, such as quarantines and sanitary cordons.
For this reason, it is very important to follow the recommendations to prevent the spread of COVID-19. These are mainly to wash hands for at least 20 seconds, maintain physical distance, avoid crowded places and use a mask if it is not possible to maintain adequate distance between people. I would also like to remind you that in the region there is a restriction of movement until further notice and, throughout the country, a requirement to wear a mask for those who travel on public and private transport, in elevators and in cases where more than 10 people are gathered together.
As we have reported, Las Campanas Observatory will remain closed at least until 19 May, with only reduced shifts to cover critical work. We are currently working on a coordinated plan between areas for the reopening, which will be carried out following the recommendations of the authorities and which does not yet have a definitive date.
In Chile, as of April 30, there are 16,023 confirmed cases -a number that includes, since yesterday, the asymptomatic cases detected- but the COVID-19 pandemic has affected the entire world. The president of the Carnegie Institution of Science, Dr. Eric Isaac, reported that, given the impact of the situation on the financial markets, the institution will take measures to reduce spending and thus continue with its scientific mission. For this reason, from July 2020, the expenditure of funds for fiscal year 2021 will be reduced by approximately 4 percent. One of the measures to achieve this is to freeze salaries and benefits at FY2020 levels and delay most administrative replacements and new hires.
This Monday, April 27th, the collective bargaining with the LCO union ended. Considering both national and international conditions and the situation in Carnegie, an interesting agreement was reached that includes a substantial bonus for everyone. I thank the management, Jonathan Medalla, Rodrigo Condore and Eric Muñoz; the negotiators for the organization, Silvia Muñoz and Daniel Briones; the lawyers on both sides; and all the union members for their proactive attitude for the good of the workers and the organization.
I thank you for the support and participation of all the workers of the Observatory Las Campanas in moments of health emergency. Thanks to you we have been able to operate remotely and maintain exceptional shifts. I thank you for your collaboration in these difficult times and your great willingness to bring out the best in everyone to overcome this situation.
We maintain the request to continue coordinating with your headquarters telecourses and participate in meetings by videoconference, and that all those who present some symptom of COVID-19 contact me or contact the People Manager, Mr. Daniel Briones, to analyze each case. I hope all of you and your families are doing well and staying healthy.
Leopoldo Infante Lira
Director Observatorio Las Campanas