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Bolivian government resists reinstating rigid quarantine due to covid-19 outbreak

The Bolivian Government reaffirmed this Thursday its commitment to the already started massive detection tests and to an upcoming national campaign of Vaccinetion as keys to combat the regrowth of Covid-19, rather than resorting to a rigid quarantine, as suggested by regional authorities.

« We cannot think that rigid quarantine is the solution and panacea to end the second wave, we must adequately face (the pandemic) with biosafety measures and the use of the mask, » said the Minister of Economy, Marcelo Montenegro, in press conference.

He insisted that a strict quarantine with the paralysis of most of the productive activities and services, « would potentially cause more harm than benefit, especially hitting the poorest sectors of the population. »

Montenegro made the statement commenting on restrictive measures taken by authorities in the country’s three main cities – La Paz, Santa Cruz (east) and Cochabamba (center) -, where most of the almost 2,000 new daily cases of Covid-19 recorded on average in the last week.

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The Government of Luis Arce has criticized the general confinement that the last transitory administration of Jeanine Áñez imposed on the country during much of 2020, denouncing in particular the difficulties and even the hunger to which social sectors living in the informal economy were subjected.

On the other hand, Arce is promoting a campaign of citizen discipline in the face of which it seems an irrepressible outbreak of the pandemic, with 2,057 new infections detected on Wednesday, totaling 178,818 positive cases since March 2020, including 9,493 deaths.

This campaign is complemented by a comprehensive contagion detection plan, with more than 10,000 daily tests, which started this week as the key to isolate most of the patients in a timely manner, avoid their hospitalization and contain the outbreak.

At the same time, the Government has secured just over ten million doses of the Vaccines Sputnik V from the Gamaleya Institute in Russia and a similar product developed by the University of Oxford and the AstraZeneca laboratory.

Those supplies will add to approximately three million doses of Vaccines that the country hopes to receive in the coming months through the Covax program of the World Health Organization (WHO).

« Last year’s isolation did not help much, because there was no massive testing strategy, it was not detected who was infected, » said Montenegro.

He said that the Government intends that self-protection and distancing measures, plus mass testing and Vaccinetion, will provide the final solution to the pandemic.

« It is easy to say from a rigid or dynamic quarantine municipality, without having taken into account these other elements, » he added.

Meanwhile, the mayor of La Paz, Luis Revilla, once again asked the national government to declare a rigid quarantine of at least one week, and the authorities of Santa Cruz and Cochabamba announced restrictions on movement and trade that would put those cities in a state close to confinement.

These measures are not by consensus, especially in the department of La Paz, where the regional governor Félix Patsi remains openly against a quarantine and the mayor of El Alto does not speak out.

Authorities in other regions also announced an increase in restrictions on the movement of pedestrians and vehicles, but without considering a quarantine, according to media reports.

Source: Sputnik

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