Paraguay's Health Minister Julio Borba Tuesday said a total quarantine was likely to be imposed nationwide starting this coming weekend as covid-19 cases are on the rise.
“We met with various unions and there was good acceptance. There was no general consensus, considering that many people are affected, but there was an understanding of which measures to take and what we should do,” Borba said in a radio interview. The idea is to discuss it with the president, but I think ... probably by Saturday, we will have news, he added.
“Last week we had 12% more positives and that would imply that 15% require medical attention, which will hit the system much more despite the growth in therapies and human resources. We have a long waiting list and it is very worrying,” the minister went on.
Asked about the economic impact should the measure be imposed, Borba explained that the Ministry of Finance was working on the issue and other possibilities were to be announced in the coming days.
The Paraguayan Circle of Physicians has recommended a total quarantine by Easter in order to slow down the rate of Covid-19 infections given the critical situation.
Borba also announced the country is to receive multiple supplies of anti-covid-19 vaccines in the near future. “We are seeing the purchase of vaccines through the Foreign Ministry and we already have made progress with India, the United States and Qatar. There are confidentiality agreements on the negotiations and progress means that we are signing documents to access the vaccines,” he explained.
According to Borba, Paraguay will buy a batch of 2 million doses of Covaxin vaccines, while another 200,000 was part of a donation of AstraZeneca vaccines. “This proposal was based on a conversation between the Indian Ambassador and President Mario Abdo. Later, we had a meeting and negotiations began. Now we are reaching a good port,” added Borba.
The Covaxin vaccine is manufactured by the Bharat Biotech company and offers 81% effectiveness against Covid-19. However, it does not yet have authorization from a high health surveillance authority for emergency use. On the other hand, Borba once again denied having received any proposal from the Paraguay-China Chamber of Commerce for the acquisition of a large number of doses of the Sinovac vaccine.
“What we did receive was a note from a private company, which meets all the requirements and an order note for Sinovac was signed. We are not closed to any alternative,” he added.
“I have about 35 intermediaries who say they can bring the vaccine at the moment, but we have to be responsible in studying each offer and who it comes from.”
Paraguay received 4,000 doses of Sputnik V, out of 1 million that were purchased outside the Covax mechanism. The country has also received 20,000 doses of the CoronaVac vaccine donated by Chile, 3,000 doses of Sinopharm donated by the United Arab Emirates and 36,000 doses of AstraZeneca through the Covax mechanism. Another 200,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine are due in from India and Qatar will send 400,000 doses of Moderna, according to Borba.