Bolivia healthcare staff launch strike in COVID-hit area | Coronavirus pandemic Information
Santa Cruz workers begin a 48-hour strike to call for stricter lockdown measures as coronavirus cases rise.
Healthcare workers in a region of Bolivia hard hit by the coronavirus pandemic launched a 48-hour strike on Tuesday to pressure authorities to impose a strict lockdown to combat increasing infections.
The country has recorded more than 229,000 COVID-19 cases and more than 10,800 coronavirus-related deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.
Santa Cruz, Bolivia’s most populous and affluent region, has recorded nearly 80,000 cases and more than 5,000 deaths to date, according to official figures.
Edil Toledo, incumbent president of Santa Cruz Medical College, told Spanish news agency EFE that Santa Cruz was “the epicenter” of the pandemic in Bolivia.
“There are between 30 and 40 cases every hour. One patient dies every hour. The situation in Santa Cruz is worrying, ”said Toledo.
Toledo said doctors had met with local officials more than a dozen times to call for more drastic measures to contain infection – such as imposing stay-at-home instructions or stopping public transport – but they had no agreement achieved.
🔥 #BreakingNews 🔥 Coup plotters and lazy doctors from #Bolivia hit a 48-hour strike in the middle of the # COVID19 pandemic
They are calling for a rigid quarantine but it really hurts that the MAS-IPSP is in the government and they are doing whatever it takes to fuck # 09Feb
. @ TPU19J ChalecosAmarill @Libverd pic.twitter.com/OfQ2ODlZnI
– @ M ყ Bo ᥣ ιvι ᥲ @ (@BoliviAmor) February 9, 2021
Hundreds of health care workers marched on the streets of Santa Cruz to the regional government office when the strike began Tuesday.
Rescue workers and hospitals treating COVID-19 patients were reportedly not part of the strike, but all other medical procedures, including specialist medical care, have been suspended.
The Bolivian government was reluctant to take further action in the face of the economic downturn caused by the pandemic.
She hopes her vaccination campaign will bring the pandemic under control.
According to the Bolivian Ministry of Health, more than 8,000 people have been vaccinated so far, most of them health workers.
A health care worker receiving a dose of the Sputnik V vaccine in El Alto, on the outskirts of La Paz, Bolivia [File: David Mercado/Reuters]In January, Bolivia initially received 20,000 doses of the Russian vaccine Sputnik V out of a total of 5.3 million planned doses.
COVAX, a program run by the World Health Organization, is also expected to receive approximately one million doses of vaccine in March to ensure fair access to vaccines.
The COVAX program aims to deliver 1.3 eligible vaccine doses to 92 eligible low- and middle-income countries by 2021, although there may be delays.
Bolivia is expected to receive an additional five million doses of the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine in April, local media reported.
The government has said this would be enough to vaccinate the country’s 11.5 million people.
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