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News > Bolivia

Bolivia: Hospitals and Laboratory Close Amid COVID-19 Emergency

  • Bolivia is facing an alarming health crisis due to COVID-19.

    Bolivia is facing an alarming health crisis due to COVID-19. | Photo: EFE

Published 25 June 2020

The National Center for Tropical Diseases (Cenetrop), one of the main laboratories processing tests to detect the COVID-19 in Bolivia, has declared a state of emergency.

In the face of contagion of health staff, the lack of biosecurity supplies, and the increase in COVID-19 infections, several hospitals in the country decided to partially close care Tuesday. At the same time, one of the leading laboratories processing tests declared an emergency.

People Dying, Hospitals Can't Handle it: Bolivian De-Facto Govt

The National Center for Tropical Diseases (Cenetrop), one of the leading laboratories processing tests to detect the virus in Bolivia, was declared in a state of emergency when it "exceeded" its capacity, as well as lacking specific equipment to perform the tests.

"Having repeatedly requested the availability of thermocyclers, having had no response and remaining overstretched in our capacity to process such tests, we declared ourselves in an emergency," says a statement from the center.

A thermocycler is a machine used in molecular readings, which helps to process PCR tests (Polymerase Chain Reaction).

This situation is compounded by the decision of the leading hospitals in the country that have decided to close their doors temporarily until biosecurity conditions are resolved, some have declared themselves in an emergency.

Hospitals such as the Viedma in Cochabamba or the Thorax in La Paz have reported that a good part of their medical staff has been infected or is suspected of being infected with the virus.

The Bolivian Dutch hospital in the city of El Alto suspended outpatient consultations after 36 cases of infection among health staff were confirmed.

The Hospital de Clínicas in La Paz said in a statement that due to "the increase of infected people," consultations are suspended until further notice.

On Sunday, Bolivia recorded the highest number of infections in a day with 1,105 positive, totaling 25,493 in the country and 820 deaths from COVID-19. The numbers continue to rise.

Meanwhile, the de-facto government of Jeanine Añez has been questioned for its negligence in managing the health emergency, also adding to a political and social crisis in the light of the upcoming elections. 

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