Colombian health authorities Friday reported an increase in the number of COVID-19 cases -both of infections and also of deaths- and announced steps to respond accordingly where needed.
Deputy Health Minister Luis Alexander Moscoso said hospitalizations in Intensive Care Units (ICU) increased by 20% in the last two weeks. Most of the patients admitted into Intermediate Care Units were young, the official also pointed out, “probably associated with the effect of the bridge (holiday from Saturday through Monday) of the children's weekend of October 31, which generated greater interactions. Moscoso also believed the rise in infections could be due to the opening of the border with Venezuela.
In this scenario, Moscoso wondered in fear what can happen to us in December, a month with many more interactions, ahead of the Christmas season, which is the time when thousands of people travel to other cities to spend time with relatives, some of whom may be risk populations and older adults. Colombia has also lifted all capacity restrictions for indoor events as of next week.
The message here is: we have to accelerate the entire vaccination process, we have to reinforce open populations for the third dose, apply those third doses; but we also have to comply with protection measures and focus on the main measure, which is the wearing of a mask, Moscoso stressed.
Health Minister Fernando Ruiz concurred on the need to increase vaccination nationwide, particularly in cities where 70% of immunization has not been reached. About 62.5% of Colombians have already received the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, while only 44% have completed the full scheme, Ruiz said.
The minister also pointed out a total of 77,371 children between the ages of 5 and 11 have already been vaccinated with the first dose. This week has been satisfactory. We have been applying between 350 and 400 thousand daily doses, Ruiz explained as he called on the population not to falter” in the advance of immunization.
Vaccination has reached 70% of the population in cities like Bogotá, Medellín, Barranquilla, Pasto, Leticia and Yopal, at least with a first dose, it was reported. Colombia has already recorded 5,024,263 cases of COVID-19, with 127,680 deaths. A total of 50,537,341 vaccines had been applied by Friday, of which 18,093,274 were second doses, according to health officials.