America starts the year between new quarantines and advances in vaccination

Concern over the rise in contagion in several Latin American countries

PHOTO/AP  -   Travellers with protective masks on the outskirts of Buenos Aires, Argentina

After the end of the year festivities, America returns to “normality” this Monday, which it faces with new measures to contain the coronavirus, such as local quarantines or for visitors, while the vaccination in some countries.

In Colombia (1.67 million cases and almost 45,000 deaths), the inhabitants of three of the largest towns in Bogotá will have to comply with a quarantine from Tuesday until January 18 that will affect 2.5 of the 7, 5 million inhabitants of the capital, who are experiencing the second wave of the pandemic, with an occupation of the intensive care units (ICU) of 77.7%, according to the authorities.

This strict confinement is similar to the one already experienced in a staggered manner in Bogotá between last March and August and includes restriction of mobility and total prohibition of activities between 8 at night and 5 in the morning and the closure of all shops non-essential.

AFP/RAUL ARBOLEDA - Citizens with face masks in Bogotá

Added to this is the return of the requirement of the PCR test with a negative result for those who enter Colombia, although “those who arrive in the country without it, will be able to practice it and keep isolation until the result is known,” according to the Vice Minister of Health, Luis Alexander Moscoso.

More closure measures

Since this same Monday, a new quarantine also governs the provinces of Panama, where the capital is located, and in Panama Oeste, the most populated areas and most affected by the pandemic, which has a vertiginous rebound.

The restrictions, although less severe than those experienced throughout the country on weekends and at Christmas and which will apply until January 14, include mobility by gender and identity number, with the working day suspended, and may only circulate , with safe conduct, workers in essential sectors.

Panama, with 253,736 cases, 4,140 deaths, is the Central American country with the most infections and has presented record numbers of new infections and deaths for two months.

Meanwhile, Venezuelans this day complied with the new “radical quarantine” order to curb infections, after the slight increase in cases that was reported during December.

The restrictions are applied in a system that the Government calls “7 + 7” and that combines a closing week with another of permits for specific activities, a scheme that was used between June 1 and November 30, 2020 to make way to a relaxation for the holidays.

Traveler Restrictions

Peru applies from this day a quarantine of 14 days for those who enter the country, which is added to the obligation to present a negative PCR with a maximum age of 72 hours.

A decision made in the face of the rapid outbreak of the coronavirus, whose second wave has already arrived in regions such as Lambayeque and Piura, where the ICUs are collapsed, according to the dean of the Peruvian Medical College, Miguel Palacios Celi.

Atalayar_Covid19 América Latina
AFP/RAUL ARBOLEDA - A man washes his hands in Bogotá

In this country, with more than a million cases and 37,830 deaths, the scenario will be “worse” at the end of January, as a consequence of the end of the year celebrations, Celi added.

Something similar happens in Chile, where after a second case of the new British strain of covid-19, the authorities announced that those who enter the country as of next Thursday must carry a negative PCR.

The new measure comes amid an increase in the positivity rate to 9.61%, the highest since July. “Infections have increased by 32% in 7 days, this should attract our attention and concern all citizens very much,” said the Minister of Health, Enrique Paris.

Summer, Rival of Self-Care

On the contrary, Uruguayans are waiting for some restrictions established on December 16 to end next Sunday, such as the closing of borders or the prohibition of public shows, waiting for an official announcement about the purchase of vaccines.

Days ago the epidemiologist Julio Medina said on Twitter that it took the country “277 days to reach 10,000 cases of # SARSCoV2 and only 19 days to add the other 10,000”, which raises concern after the Christmas celebrations and in the middle of the southern summer .

The summer situation in the south of the continent is also leading a large part of the Argentine population to neglect sanitary measures, with clandestine parties and crowded beaches, such as on the weekend when images of an agglomeration of young people were known, without any distancing or masks, on a beach in Pinamar, which had to be dispersed by the Police.

President Alberto Fernández insists that the “problem persists” despite the fact that health personnel began to be vaccinated since last Tuesday, with the first 300,000 doses received of the Russian Sputnik-V vaccine.

AFP/ARGENTINE PRESIDENCY - Argentine President Alberto Fernández, flanked by Cabinet Chief Santiago Cafiero and Interior Minister Eduardo de Pedro
Pending Vaccination

The issue of vaccines has remained crucial since the application days ago of the first doses in nations such as Costa Rica, Chile and Mexico, a country that ranks first in Latin America and thirteenth in the world in the immunization process with almost 40,000 doses applied. until now, as reported by President Andrés Manuel López Obrador.

The 53,625 doses of the Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine received will be joined by another 50,000 that will arrive on Tuesday, the first of several deliveries that this month will allow access to 1.4 million units to vaccinate all health personnel.

For their part, private clinics in Brazil are negotiating with India the purchase of 5 million doses of the Bharat Biotech vaccine; Meanwhile, the national government hopes to begin vaccinating in the public health system between January 20 and February 10.

AP/MARCO UGARTE - Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador

Thus, the vaccination process continues and while Sandra Lindsay, a nurse from New York who was the first person vaccinated in the United States, received the second dose today, the laboratories continue to work, like the Modern American, who announced that she is waiting produce at least 600 million doses during 2021, 100 million more than expected.

However, the pandemic continues unstoppable in America after almost 900,000 deaths and 36 million infections, as demonstrated by Cuba, which marked a new daily maximum of positives, with 316, and New York, which confirmed the first case of the new British strain of the coronavirus.