Honduras marks 1 year of epidemic with case surge, slow vaccination

Tegucigalpa, Mar 11 (efe-epa).- One year after the confirmation of the first two Covid-19 cases in Honduras, the country is nearing 180,000 infections including 4,500 deaths as the vaccination process crawls along.

“Honduras is currently in a critical situation of the pandemic due to the increase in cases that have been registered in the last three months, with an increase in mortality and incidence of cases,” scientist Marco Tulio Medina told Efe in Tegucigalpa.

The expert said the situation is “very difficult” for the country because not enough PCR tests are being carried out and the health system has not been strengthened, especially with regard to hospitalization.

Of seven mobile hospitals purchased in Turkey between March and April 2020 – on which reports of alleged corruption in their acquisition hang – as well as other medical equipment and supplies, only two are operating, Medina added.

He said “the country’s hospital capacity is weak” and a big concern is the “many intra-hospital diseases, which are the cause of the death of patients with Covid-19,” which has been analyzed with the National Autonomous University of Honduras.

In addition, there is contamination in intensive care units and in the testing laboratories, which has caused “enormous problems.”

Added to this is the slow vaccination process, which began at the end of February with the inoculation of 2,684 people with a batch of Moderna doses donated by Israel.

Another 48,000 vaccines donated through the Covax facility will be received on Saturday, from a batch of 424,800 that will arrive in the country between March and May, to immunize 20 percent of the Honduran population that needs to be vaccinated. Around 4.2 million doses of the Russian Sputnik V have also been purchased.

The country is also suffering the effects of a population that does not wear masks or practice biosecurity measures, including social distancing, to the extent required.

The first two Covid-19 infections detected in Honduras were confirmed on Mar. 11, 2020, in two women who arrived in the country on the 4th and 5th of that same month, from Spain and Switzerland.

The government imposed a curfew the next day, which remains in force, although total confinement was in place until mid-July, when a slow process of economic recovery began.

In a year of pandemic, many micro, small and medium-sized companies went into total or partial bankruptcy, while in others there were drastic cuts in personnel to avoid closing operations, according to statements by their owners.

The Honduran Council of Private Enterprise estimates that around 1 million people were unemployed in 2020 due to the virus.

Analysts believe that the country will begin to recover economically from 2022.

The Covid-19 epidemic is the worst health disaster that Honduras has suffered in its entire history. EFE-EPA


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