Lima, May 23 (EFE).- Peru’s government has issued an epidemiological alert to public and private health entities nationwide after detecting an increase in Omicron coronavirus infections in the Lima metropolitan area.
The Health Ministry’s National Center for Epidemiology, Prevention and Disease Control (CDC) sounded the alarm bells due to an uptick in cases of the Omicron subvariant BA.2.12.1 in the Peruvian capital, which is home to a third of the country’s population.
Dated May 19, that document said a nationwide rise in the coronavirus test positivity rate and in symptomatic Covid-19 cases began to be observed in the 16th week of 2022.
It said those increases were triggered by a higher case load in the capital, initially in three upscale districts of the Lima metropolitan area – Miraflores, San Isidro and Santiago de Surco – and shortly thereafter in Cercado de Lima (historic center), La Molina, Magdalena del Mar, Jesus Maria, San Borja, San Miguel and San Juan de Lurigancho.
But even though the number of daily cases as much as doubled in some capital districts, Peruvian health authorities have not observed any increase in Covid-19-related hospitalizations or deaths.
The CDC’s executive director of public health surveillance, Cesar Munayco, said the alert was issued due to concerns surrounding the start of winter in Lima and the potential for an increase in cases and outbreaks of both the novel coronavirus and other respiratory diseases, state-run news agency Andina reported.
That center says the Omicron variant, which arrived in Peru in December, now accounts for more than 90 percent of the coronavirus cases sequenced by the National Health Institute.
The measure, whose purpose is to ensure a timely response that helps bring the cases under control, urges health centers nationwide to strengthen their epidemiological surveillance, better organize their services and strictly comply with prevention protocols.
To date, the Andean nation has administered an initial two-dose series of Covid-19 vaccine to 83 percent of the population five years and older and a booster shot to 60 percent of those 12 years and older.
Among those 50 years and older, more than 630,000 have received a second booster dose.
Peru has been one of the countries hardest hit by the pandemic, registering more than 3.5 million confirmed symptomatic coronavirus cases and more than 213,000 deaths. With 6,298 deaths per 1 million people, that Andean nation has the world’s highest Covid-19 mortality rate.
The country reported four deaths and 279 new confirmed coronavirus cases over the most recent 24-hour period, while 709 patients remain hospitalized, 189 of whom are on mechanical ventilation in intensive care units.