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Montevideo, September 23rd 2023 - 17:03 UTC



Paraguay: Foreign Minister cries for US, Taiwan help with Covid-19 vaccines

Wednesday, March 31st 2021 - 06:51 UTC
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 “What is the use of fraternity if now they do not give us an answer?,” Acevedo asked himself. (EFE) “What is the use of fraternity if now they do not give us an answer?,” Acevedo asked himself. (EFE)

Paraguay's Foreign Minister Euclides Acevedo Tuesday cried out to the world, particularly Taiwan and the United States, for anti-covid-19 vaccines to curb the spread of the disease which has killed over 4,000 people so far.

“I want to tell our allies that they have to respond to us,” said Acevedo. “What is the use of fraternity if now they do not give us an answer? Both the United States and Taiwan have to respond,” he added.

The country's top diplomat explained that “we have already lost a lot of time,” as pressure mounts against the administration of President Mario Abdo Benítez for the way the covid-19 has been dealt with.

”I am absorbed by the vaccine issue, I am sleeping with a blister in my ear (...) all efforts have been made, I have already spoken with the Russian foreign minister, the one from the Arab Emirates, the one from Qatar,“ Acevedo said.

Last Sunday Paraguay recorded 60 fatalities and 2,058 new cases, while the total number of deaths rose to 4,003 and the number of infected rose to 280,655. In the first quarter of 2021, Paraguay has recorded 90% as many cases and deaths as in the entire year 2020, health sources explained.

Vaccination began in late February, after receiving 4,000 doses of the Russian-made Sputnik V while the first shipment from the Covax Programme, originally scheduled to arrive sometime in March, is still due in.

Meanwhile, Health Minister Julio Borba launched a new appeal to the population from whom he asked ”more sacrifice“ to reduce infections.

“Our services are currently 100% saturated,” Borba told a news conference. “We ask the people for one more sacrifice in the coming recent days, at least until April 5, in order to be able to reduce the number of positive cases that we have on a daily basis,” he went on.

Borba guaranteed this sacrifice will bring about a prompt return to normal life and recognized that ”what we were able to grow (in hospitals) we have already grown and we will continue to grow as long as we have human resources available,“ but he said a proper assessment of the outcome of the recently-imposed strict lockdown measures will need to wait a few more days.

“Only on Friday or Saturday could we begin to evaluate the number of cases that we are having,” Borba said as he acknowledged a significant increase in positive cases at a rate of 2,000 new detections daily.

Regarding the possibility of extending the restrictions, he was cautious and mentioned that it will depend on the results of the evaluation. “In principle, I would not want to get ahead of myself, but we are not yet thinking of other types of measures,” he said.

He explained that in order to expand the hospital and ICU capacities, additional trained personnel was needed, which was very scarce since other countries in the region are going through similar situations.

“More than 11,000 people have been hired, all hospitals have benefited from human resources, we are hiring and we will continue to hire as long as possible,” he said.

Borba also laid hopes on the promp arrival of a batch of Moderna vaccines, part of which would be a donation from the Government of Qatar and the rest would be a direct purchase on the part of the Government.

“We have the 2 million [doses] from AztraZeneca, in talks with US manufacturers, and well, we have those that we are not yet receiving through the Covax mechanism,“ Borba added.

According to Borba, the world's vaccine output exceeds the global needs. He was also quick to underline that the doses that neighboring countries buy are not enough for their population at risk. ”Argentina acquired 1,200,000 Sputnik V vaccines and 200,000 through Covax. Let's remember that they need about 46 million doses,“ he explained.

The health official also explained Air Force units were involved in the logistics of flying in midazolam and atracurium from neighbouring countries. Consumption of those drugs went up ”10 times,” he stressed.

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