Salvadorans flock to Covid-19 testing site as cases surge

San Salvador, Jan 18 (EFE).- Hundreds of people made their way Tuesday to the heart of the Salvadoran capital to be tested for Covid-19 after daily case numbers increased by more than a factor of 10.

The health ministry set up a testing site in San Salvador’s Plaza Morazan and Efe watched as people waited in line for hours to get the test.

Nationwide, the number of tests carried out fluctuates between 250 and 500 a day, though Health Minister Francisco Alabi said that El Salvador has the capacity to test up to 2,500 people every day.

From 27 on Jan. 1, the number of new infections soared to 307 on Jan. 13, the latest day for which information is available, amounting to 1,566 in less than two weeks.

That figure is comparable to the three previous peaks of Covid-19 – in August 2020 and January and October 2021 – yet public health authorities have so far declined to describe the situation as a fourth wave of the pandemic.

The government plans to send 100 test samples to a laboratory in Panama to determine whether the Omicron variant of Covid-19 is present in El Salvador, Alabi said Tuesday.

“After we send the tests we will have to wait two or three weeks to know the result,” he said in a television interview.

Despite the “significant” increase in cases, “there is no increase in the number of hospitalizations nor fatalities,” the health minister said. EFE sa/dr

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