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COVID-19 pandemic in Bolivia

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COVID-19 pandemic in Bolivia
COVID-19 Outbreak in Bolivia by Confirmed Cases.svg
Map of the outbreak in Bolivia by department (as of 20 May 2020)
  1500+ confirmed cases
  750–1499 confirmed cases
  250–749 confirmed cases
  50–249 confirmed cases
  1–49 confirmed cases
Virus strainSARS-CoV-2
First caseOruro and Santa Cruz
Arrival date10 March 2020
(11 months and 17 days)
OriginSpain, United States
Confirmed cases4,919
Suspected cases374
Suspected cases have not been confirmed as being due to this strain by laboratory tests, although some other strains may have been ruled out.

The COVID-19 pandemic was confirmed to have spread to Bolivia when its first two cases were confirmed on 10 March 2020 in the departments of Oruro and Santa Cruz [1][2]

On 12 March, Bolivia suspended all public school sessions until 31 March, as well as all commercial flights to and from Europe indefinitely. They also prohibited large-scale public gatherings of more than 1,000 people.[3]

Background[edit source | edit]

On 12 January 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) confirmed that a novel coronavirus was the cause of a respiratory illness in a cluster of people in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China, which was reported to the WHO on 31 December 2019.[4][5]

The case fatality ratio for COVID-19 has been much lower than SARS of 2003,[6][7] but the transmission has been significantly greater, with a significant total death toll.[8][6]

Measures taken by the government[edit source | edit]

Before the first case was detected in Bolivia, the government announced that an Emergency Operating Committee had been formed, including officials from the World Health Organization and different ministries and specialized health organizations.[9] Measures implemented with the Pan American Health Organization included support for the implementation of detailed procedures in a guide to the surveillance of unusual respiratory incidents.[10]

The Ministry of Health set up free hotlines at 800-10-1104 and 800-10-1106 to inform people about symptoms and allow them to ask questions about the virus.[11]

On March 17, President Jeanine Añez announced the following measures, to be in effect from March 19 to 31:

  • Closure of all borders.
  • Entry into Bolivia allowed only for Bolivian nationals and residents, who must follow protocols stipulated by the Ministry of Health and the World Health Organization.
  • All international flights suspended.
  • Interdepartmental and interprovincial land transport suspended. Only merchandise can be transported.[12]

Decree 4196[edit source | edit]

On March 17, the minister of the presidency, Yerko Núñez, declared a public health emergency and arranged a series of quarantine measures,[13] which would be implemented in the entire country until March 31.[14]

Supreme Decree 4196 indicates:

  • The Ministry of Labor will, exceptionally, regulate granting of special licenses to protect people with underlying diseases, older adults of age sixty or above, pregnant people, and people under five years old if their parent or guardian has a special license.
  • From midnight (00:00) on 20 March to 31 March the country's borders are closed.
  • From midnight (00:00) on 21 March international flights are suspended, as are land, river, and lake passenger transportation.
  • Effective 18 March the workday for all sectors is from 9:00 to 13:00. Markets and supermarkets are to open 8:00 to 15:00.
  • Public and private transportation is to operate 5:00 to 18:00.
  • Social sporting, religious, and other activities and gatherings are prohibited.
  • Those who violate the decree may be arrested for eight hours.

Decree 4199 – Nationwide quarantine[edit source | edit]

A nationwide quarantine is in effect from 22 March at midnight (00:00) for 14 days, with the goal of slowing the spread of the virus in the country, under the following orders:[citation needed]

  • Markets and supply centers will continue to operate every morning until midday, so that one person from each family can get supplies.
  • Factories and transportation serving basic grocery needs will continue functioning normally. The banking system, pharmacies, and hospitals will continue to attend to the needs of the population.
  • People may leave their houses if they need medical attention.
  • Private and public transport is suspended. Permits will be provided to transport workers whose companies must continue working and for people who work in healthcare, water, electricity, and gas services, among others.
  • Electricity prices are reduced. It is prohibited to cut off water, gas, or internet during the quarantine. Tax and loan payments will be eased.[15]

Timeline[edit source | edit]

Template:COVID-19 pandemic data/Bolivia medical cases chart On 12 March, the government announced seven measures to slow the spread of the disease, including the suspension of educational activities until March 21 in schools and universities and the suspension of flights to and from Europe starting March 14.[16][17][18]

As a result of the six confirmed cases, the city of Oruro declared a 14-day quarantine beginning on 16 March.[19] The same day, the government announced that there would be criminal punishments for anyone who sabotaged healthcare, due to incidents of blocking access to healthcare centers for suspected or confirmed COVID-19 patients.[20] In the city of La Paz, arrests were made of people engaged in price gouging of medical products.[21]

On 14 March, Interim President Jeanine Áñez prohibited anyone coming from China, South Korea, Italy, or Spain to enter the country.[22] Starting on 18 March 2020, this will be extended to cover all of Europe, including Great Britain and Ireland, as well as Iran.[23]

On 15 March, the government announced new measures including the expansion of entry restrictions on travelers coming from the Schengen Area, in addition to the United Kingdom, Ireland, and Iran.[24]

Starting March 16, the departments of Oruro, Potosí, Cochabamba, and Chuquisaca implemented measures to restrict movement, initially to last until March 31, while Tarija prohibited public trips between departments.[25]

On 17 March, president Áñez announced the closure of Bolivia's borders to all foreign nationals – effective as of 19 March. Additionally, as of 20 March, all international flights will be suspended, and domestic travel between departments and provinces will be prohibited.[26]

On 20 March, the government of Santa Cruz declared a quarantine for Porongo, starting at noon and lasting 14 days.[27] The minister of health did not rule out taking measures with greater impact in the coming days.[28]

On 21 March, the government announced a 14-day nationwide quarantine, taking effect on 22 March at midnight and ending on 5 April at midnight.[29]

On 23 March, Añez released a statement at 13:00 local time confirming the extreme quarantine measures and requesting the support and understanding of the population. She also took the opportunity to commemorate the 141st anniversary of the loss of the Litoral Department and with it Bolivia's sovereign access to the Pacific Ocean. Añez confirmed the government's unwavering aspiration to recover its sovereign access to the sea.[30]

On 25 March, Áñez declared a public health emergency in the country and completely locked down its borders, with nobody allowed to enter or leave except for health or safety reasons.[31] This will be in effect until 15 April.

On 1 April, Áñez announced the following measures:[32]

  • From 3 April, the 'family basket' of Bs. 400 will be paid in cash through banks to the following sectors: those who receive only dignity income but do not receive retirement or other income, the mothers who receive Juana Azurduy voucher[33] and people with disabilities.
  • In the second week of April, the 'family voucher' of Bs. 500 will be awarded for families with children in kindergarten, pre-kindergarten and primary school in fiscal schools.
  • The price of household gas will be reduced by 50%.
  • The postponement of the payment of taxes and credits is ratified, as well as the discounts in the payment of other basic services.

On 8 April, the Minister of Health, Dr. Anibal Cruz, was replaced by Dr. Marcelo Navajas Salinas, a specialist in pulmonology and with experience in public health. Añez stated that Cruz stepped aside for personal reasons. [34]

On 8 April, Áñez announced that the 'family voucher' of Bs. 500 will be extended to high school students and confirmed the payment from April 15.[35]

On 14 April, Áñez announced the extension of nationwide quarantine until April 30. Other economic measures were also announced including the 'Universal Bonus' of Bs. 500, for people over 18 who have not benefited from any of the previous aid launched by the Government and who are not salaried.[36]

On 29 April, Anez announced that the total quarantine will remain until May 10 and a 'dynamic' quarantine will be applied, with relaxations on least affected regions from May 11. The borders will remain closed until May 30.[37]

Graph[edit source | edit]

  Total confirmed cases      Active Cases      Recoveries      Deaths

Regional distribution of cases[edit source | edit]

Template:COVID-19 pandemic data/Bolivia medical cases

Oruro[edit source | edit]

A sixty-five-year-old woman in Oruro was one of the first patients known to be infected with the coronavirus. Six other infected patients in Oruro and one in Cochabamba, as confirmed through tests by 12 March, were in contact with her.[38] This was the first known instance of local transmission in Bolivia. The city and department began mandatory social distancing measures on 16 March. A further 65 contacts and family members of those were infected were confined to their homes, but showed no symptoms of the disease.[39] As of 25 March, the first Oruro patient was no longer showing symptoms and had test negative for the disease twice; doctors expect her to be declared Bolivia's first recovered COVID-19 patient.[40]

Potosí[edit source | edit]

The first case to be tested positive in Potosí was announced on 25 March. Regional health authorities that this patient is a 69-year-old woman. She was infected by her son, a transport driver who had recently been in Chile. The driver had not disclosed his symptoms and was, according to the health authorities, treated privately by family members who are physicians.[41]

Impacts and incidents[edit source | edit]

Following the announcement of the first confirmed case, incidents were reported among the local population, including large-scale purchasing of surgical masks[42][43] and hand sanitizer and blocking access to hospitals,[44].On 19 March a patient under observation who was required to stay in isolation tried to escape but was caught when he tried to take a trip between departments.[45] Operations were suspended at San Cristóbal mine.[46]

See also[edit source | edit]

References[edit source | edit]

  1. @MinSaludBolivia (10 March 2020). "#ULTIMO" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  2. "Confirman los dos primeros casos de coronavirus en Bolivia". Los Tiempos (in Spanish). 10 March 2020. Retrieved 11 March 2020.
  3. "Gobierno suspende clases hasta el 31 de marzo y todos los vuelos europeos desde el sábado". Los Tiempos (in Spanish). 12 March 2020. Retrieved 12 March 2020.
  4. Elsevier. "Novel Coronavirus Information Center". Elsevier Connect. Archived from the original on 30 January 2020. Retrieved 15 March 2020.
  5. Reynolds, Matt (4 March 2020). "What is coronavirus and how close is it to becoming a pandemic?". Wired UK. ISSN 1357-0978. Archived from the original on 5 March 2020. Retrieved 5 March 2020.
  6. 6.0 6.1 "Crunching the numbers for coronavirus". Imperial News. Archived from the original on 19 March 2020. Retrieved 15 March 2020.
  7. "High consequence infectious diseases (HCID); Guidance and information about high consequence infectious diseases and their management in England". GOV.UK. Archived from the original on 3 March 2020. Retrieved 17 March 2020.
  8. "World Federation Of Societies of Anaesthesiologists – Coronavirus". www.wfsahq.org. Archived from the original on 12 March 2020. Retrieved 15 March 2020.
  9. "Ministerio de Salud conforma comité intersectorial para detectar posibles casos sospechosos de coronavirus" (in Spanish).
  10. "OPS apoya a Bolivia en su preparación de la respuesta al coronavirus" (in Spanish).
  11. "Gobierno habilita línea gratuita 800-10-1104 para consultas sobre el coronavirus" (in Spanish).
  12. "Coronavirus: Bolivia cierra fronteras, restringe transporte terrestre, suspende vuelos y reduce jornada laboral" (in Spanish).
  13. "Coronavirus en Bolivia: 15 casos, cuarentena parcial y reducción de la jornada laboral". Clarín (in Spanish). 19 March 2020. Retrieved 20 March 2020.
  14. "Gobierno presenta D.S 4196 de emergencia sanitaria y cuarentena Nacional".
  15. "La presidenta Jeanine Áñez confirma cuarentena en el país desde el domingo" (in Spanish).
  16. "Bolivia suspende clases y vuelos desde y hacia Europa por coronavirus" (in Spanish). 12 March 2020.
  17. "Gobierno determina suspensión de clases, y vuelos desde y hacia Europa". Página Siete (in Spanish). 12 March 2020. Retrieved 20 March 2020.
  18. "Áñez suspende clases en todo el país y cierra el espacio aéreo a vuelos de Europa". Opinión (in Spanish). 12 March 2020. Retrieved 20 March 2020.
  19. "Coronavirus: declaran cuarentena de 14 días en la ciudad de Oruro". Los Tiempos (in Spanish). 13 March 2020. Retrieved 14 March 2020.
  20. "Gobierno boliviano aplicará el "peso" de la ley a quienes saboteen la atención sanitaria" (in Spanish).
  21. "Dos comerciantes de La Paz serán sentenciados por agio de insumos de higiene" (in Spanish).
  22. @JeanineAnez (14 March 2020). "He ordenado que se prohíba la entrada a Bolivia de pasajeros procedentes de China, Corea, Italia y España. Esta decisión es parte del paquete de medidas firmes con las cuales luchamos contra el virus para proteger la salud de la gente" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  23. "Áñez lanza horario continuo y más prohibiciones para frenar Covid-19". Los Tiempos (in Spanish). 16 March 2020. Retrieved 16 March 2020.
  24. "Coronavirus: Bolivia prohibió reuniones de más de 100 personas y los vuelos desde Europa e Irán". Infobae (in Spanish). 15 March 2020. Retrieved 20 March 2020.
  25. "Cinco regiones se aíslan del virus y el Gobierno hace esperar sus medidas" (in Spanish).
  26. "Bolivia cierra fronteras, suspende vuelos y limita el transporte terrestre por el coronavirus". Los Tiempos (in Spanish). 17 March 2020. Retrieved 17 March 2020.
  27. "Porongo entra en cuarentena por 14 días" (in Spanish).
  28. "Bolivia podría tomar medidas de mayor impacto por "alta probabilidad" de transmisión comunitaria del Covid-19" (in Spanish).
  29. "Gobierno dispone cuarentena total por el Covid-19 en Bolivia". Los Tiempos (in Spanish). 21 March 2020. Retrieved 22 March 2020.
  30. "En el dia del mar Añez, perfila estrategia de diálogo, con firmeza para volver al Pacífico". La razón (La Paz, Bolivia) (in Spanish). Retrieved 23 March 2020.
  31. "Bolivia decreta estado de emergencia sanitaria y cierre total de fronteras por el Covid-19". Los Tiempos (in Spanish). 25 March 2020. Retrieved 25 March 2020.
  32. "Los 11 puntos centrales del anuncio de la presidenta Jeanine Áñez este martes | EL DEBER". eldeber.com.bo (in Spanish). Retrieved 2 April 2020.
  33. "Áñez anuncia que "canasta familiar" será de Bs 400 y se pagará desde el viernes". Los Tiempos (in Spanish). 31 March 2020. Retrieved 9 April 2020.
  34. "President appoints new minister of health". www.presidencia.gob.bo (in Spanish). 8 April 2020.
  35. "Añez amplía el Bono Familia a estudiantes de secundaria y confirma pago desde el 15". La Razón | Noticias de Bolivia y el Mundo. Retrieved 9 April 2020.
  36. "Bolivia amplía la cuarentena hasta el 30 de abril | EL DEBER". eldeber.com.bo (in Spanish). Retrieved 15 April 2020.
  37. "Gobierno decide mantener la cuarentena total hasta el 10 de mayo y flexibilizarla regionalmente desde el día 11 | EL DEBER". eldeber.com.bo (in Spanish). Retrieved 1 May 2020.
  38. Ortiz Duran, Deisy; Mendieta, Leyla. "Los casos de coronavirus suben a 10 y confirman transmisión local". El Deber (in Spanish). Retrieved 27 March 2020.
  39. "Sedes de Oruro: Encapsulamos casos positivos para frenar el contagio". eju.tv (in Spanish). Retrieved 27 March 2020.
  40. Cambara Ferrufino, Cesar (25 March 2020). "Segunda prueba a paciente cero resulta negativa; se alista su alta médica". El Deber (in Spanish). Retrieved 27 March 2020.
  41. "Potosí: "Paciente cero" es un transportista que ocultó sus síntomas". Opinión Bolivia (in Spanish). Retrieved 27 March 2020.
  42. Cambara Ferrufino, Pablo Cesar (13 March 2020). "No todas las personas deben usar barbijos, sepa cuándo y cómo utilizarlos". El Deber. Retrieved 20 March 2020.
  43. Cabrera, Ulises (17 March 2020). "Ministro dice que barbijos de tela no sirven, pero ambulantes los comercializan" (in Spanish). Retrieved 20 March 2020.
  44. "Suspenden bloqueo en la ruta a Warnes por la apertura de un centro de atención para pacientes con coronavirus". El Deber (in Spanish). 13 March 2020. Retrieved 20 March 2020.
  45. Alanoca Paco, Jesus Reynaldo (19 March 2020). "Procesarán a sospechoso de coronavirus que huyó cuando debía estar en cuarentena". El Deber (in Spanish). Retrieved 20 March 2020.
  46. "Sumitomo halts mines in Bolivia, Madagascar". 26 March 2020. Retrieved 26 March 2020.