Latin America says goodbye to 2021 with new records of COVID-19 cases, although not many of omicron

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Several Latin American countries are taking action by the end of the year due to the increase in COVID-19 cases, although some governments have not confirmed the presence of the omicron variant.

Others, like Colombia, did notice the presence of omicron, but they will not announce new restrictions.

Colombian health authorities reported on December 20 three cases of omicron in travelers from Spain and the United States.

“Ómicron is 5 to 10 times more contagious (than the delta variant), however, there seems to be suggestive evidence that it is less severe,” Health Minister Fernando Ruiz said in a statement to the press.

On Tuesday, 4,306 new cases of COVID-19 were registered nationwide, the highest number since August. The greatest increase in contagion has been registered by four main cities: Bogotá, Medellín, Cali and Barranquilla.

Argentina

Argentina announced on Wednesday a new isolation scheme for those infected and contacts after registering the highest record of daily cases of coronavirus since the pandemic began.

The Ministry of Health reported 42,032 new cases in the last 24 hours, a figure that exceeded the 41,080 registered in May of this year.

Health authorities are urging people who have not yet completed their vaccination to do so, especially young people, who are more reluctant to receive the second dose.

Vaccinations against COVID-19 in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on August 6, 2021.

Peru

Peru announced on Wednesday that the use of the beaches will not be allowed on December 31 and January 1 to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

The Minister of Health, Hernando Cevallos, warned that assistance to lakes, rivers, lagoons and public swimming pools will not be allowed either.

Cevallos said that the delta variant continues to be the predominant one in Peru, but omicron cases have already started to increase. So far there are 116 confirmed cases, the majority in Lima, but also in Sullana, a city near Ecuador.

Bolivia

In Bolivia, the mayors of major cities suspended parties and social events for the New Year after registering the highest daily number of COVID-19 infections since the pandemic began.

The authorities of La Paz, Cochabamba and El Alto annulled a rule that allowed celebrations to reactivate the economy.

“The pandemic is escalating; Life comes first and it is preferable to be safe than sorry ”, said the mayor of La Paz, Iván Arias, at a press conference. His Cochabamba counterpart, Manfred Reyes Villa, warned that “there is an explosion of infections and it would be irresponsible to allow parties.”

In Bolivia, the presence of the omicron variant has not yet been confirmed.

A line of people wait at a COVID-19 testing center in Santa Cruz, Bolivia, on December 29, 2021.

A line of people wait at a COVID-19 testing center in Santa Cruz, Bolivia, on December 29, 2021.

Travel bans

In related news, the US embassy issued a travel alert to El Salvador on Wednesday, citing a high level of COVID-19 cases and also violent crime.

In contrast, the Salvadoran health authorities maintain that the cases of infection and deaths have dropped considerably.

Similarly, Israel included Mexico in a red list of countries that are prohibited from entering, which also includes the United States, the United Kingdom and Canada.

In its most recent report, the World Health Organization reported that COVID-19 cases increased globally by 11% last week, but the increase in the Americas was 39%.

[Contiene información de AP]

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