Bolivia faces rebound in COVID-19, but with low mortality

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Long lines at vaccination posts and a high demand for care for patients with COVID-19 in hospitals again mark a panorama of concern in Bolivia, where more than 7,000 infections are recorded daily, the highest number in the Department of Santa Cruz.

However, despite the "unusual increase" in positive cases, the Minister of Health, Jeyson Auza, assured that the fatality rate, that is, the number of infected who die from the disease, has dropped to 0.8%.

"Despite having the historical record, the highest number of cases in relation to the entire history of the pandemic in Bolivia, we have also presented the lowest fatality rate so far," said the minister.

What generates more controversy is the obligation to present a vaccination card or PCR test to access public and private places, a measure ordered by the Government of President Luis Arce since January 1.

Various sectors throughout the country have expressed their rejection of the provision in recent days, arguing that it violates constitutional freedoms.

Social organizations in the city of El Alto, in addition to the rural teachers of the Department of La Paz, threatened mobilizations and called for the resignation of the Minister of Health.

"We are giving a few hours for the Government to immediately repeal supreme decrees 4641 and 4640. In addition, the resignation of the minister has been proposed," said the leader of rural teachers, Rudy Callisaya.

Evangelical churches and indigenous unions also disputed the obligation to carry the health pass. “We are not against our government, but that obligation was not consulted with us. Traditional medicine prevails in rural areas ”, said the leader José Luis Chura.

Another thing that worries the health authorities are the infections in health personnel, especially in Santa Cruz. However, the Secretary of Health and Human Development of the Government, Fernando Pacheco affirmed that despite this "no vaccination center has been closed."

About 22 million vaccines, mostly donated, have reached the country of around 12 million inhabitants, but the level of vaccination with two doses is at 38.74%, according to the Our World in Data site.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Health suspended the approval of COVID-19 vaccination cards issued abroad. Now, people who received doses outside the country will not have to do any additional procedures to prove their immunization.

Since the start of the pandemic, Bolivia has suffered 614,941 infections and 19,733 deaths from COVID-19.

[Con reporte de Fabiola Chambi e información adicional de AP]

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