The Government of Bolivia Wednesday declared a nationwide sanitary emergency due to an increase in the number of covid-19 cases, Health Minister Jeyson Auza announced.
After a National Strategic Council meeting, Auza conveyed the body's decision: This declaration of national health emergency has a social security nature so that the Government and local governments have access to the necessary supplies and take extraordinary measures to meet the needs.
Among the main aspectcs of Wednesday's resolution was a cap on the prices of medicines and a ban on the interruption of health services. Regarding medicines and supplies, domesting producers and local importers of pharmaceutical items need to submit a list of maximum prices for the sale of medicines.
”The Agemed (State Agency for Medicines and Health Technology) is going to approve and publish the updated list of maximum prices for said medicines and medical devices, said Auza.
Regarding health records, there will be an abbreviated procedure for issuing such records. Auza also explained that for no reason may the services of the national health system be interrupted while the declaration of a health emergency lasts, while medical services at privately-owned facilities, the minister pointed out no prior deposits, guarantees or any type of advance payment may be required as per the new decision, due to which the population will be able to turn to traditional medicine for the prevention and containment of diseases.
Auza also made it clear autonomous territorial entities -or any other entity- has been henceforth cleared to carry out direct deals for goods and services at national and international level, to speed up a timely attention to the people's needs. Regarding the hiring of medical personnel, deadlines may be shortened and requirements and procedures for hiring professional and technical health personnel may be simplified,” he said.
The minister added customs clearances will be carried out within a maximum period of 24 hours in the case of supplies, drugs, devices, equipment and chemicals, while most of these items have been exempted from paying customs taxes.
Bolivia's Health Ministry has reported 6,149 new COVID-19 infections in one single day, thus setting a new record since the start of the pandemic. The number of active cases in Bolivia has reached 47,150 after 1,194 patients recovered Wednesday and 28 of them passed away. According to official figures, the fatality rate of the fourth wave stands at 0.9%. At least five cities nationwide have decided to call off their New Year celebrations.