Politics

Bolivia lifts Covid health emergency, moves to epidemiological alert status

La Paz, Jul 31 (EFE).- The Bolivian government on Monday officially announced that it is “leaving behind” the Covid-19 health emergency and the country will now enter a phase of national epidemiological alert that will include measures such as the obligatory use of facemasks in health care facilities and educational institutions.

Bolivian President Luis Arce said that “thanks to specific actions” such as “diagnostics and massive vaccination, the team at hospitals, the unity and solidarity of everyone, today Bolivia is leaving behind the international health emergency and is entering a national epidemiological alert (phase).”

In a message on his social network accounts, Arce said that authorities will continue “with epidemiological monitoring and timely diagnosis, as well as strengthening vaccination among the population” against the coronavirus “in all age groups and maintaining the health alert within the health care services network.”

Meanwhile, Health and Sports Minister Maria Renee Castro said that there are 14 recommendations included in the national epidemiological alert designed to prevent the spread of diseases such as Covid-19 and influenza, mainly within educational institutions and health care facilities.

“Starting on July 31, 2023, the national health emergency against Covid-19 is being lifted throughout Bolivia’s (national territory)” and the country is moving to the epidemiological alert, the minister said at a press conference.

The 14 points include making facemask use “obligatory” in health care facilities “for health care personnel and patients,” along with recommending facemask use within closed environments and continuing with biosecurity measures such as washing hands regularly and using methyl alcohol and antibacterial gels to disinfect one’s hands.

Castro stressed that the country’s health care system “cannot relax” and that “Covid-19 is not being forgotten, but rather everyone is remaining on alert” to be able to deal with, diagnose and act in a “timely manner” to handle infections.

In addition, a resolution was issued by the Health and Education Ministries regarding biosecurity protocols to prevent respiratory infections at educational institutions.

Since March 2020, when the first cases were detected in Bolivia, the country has suffered 22,399 Covid-19 deaths and 1,202,450 cases.

The toughest period of the pandemic occurred in Bolivia in 2020 and the first half of 2021 due to the lack of bottled oxygen, the fact that hospitals were overwhelmed with Covid patients and the scarcity of medications to treat them, along with the adverse economic effects of the nationwide lockdown.

In January 2021, the government launched its anti-Covid vaccination campaign and to date 16,013,099 vaccinations have been administered, including initial injections and all booster shots along with the unique vaccinations made available for children under age 5.

EFE

–/bp

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