El Salvador faces a new rise in COVID-19 cases

SAN SALVADOR (AP) — The Salvadoran health authorities reported Thursday that an increase in COVID-19 infections has been reported due to the presence in the country of new variants, which is why between 250 and 300 cases are registered every day .

“We have three to four weeks of noticing this increase and in the third week of November until the first week of December we are going to have perhaps the highest points of cases,” Health Minister Francisco Alabí told reporters.

The official pointed out that until now in El Salvador there were 10 to 20 positive cases on average and warned that if the population does not take protective measures, it could require hospital management.

He stressed that the new variants of Ómicron are 30% more contagious and that this increases the chances of developing serious conditions in vulnerable groups, such as people with chronic diseases.

In April El Salvador lifted the obligation to wear masks as a measure to avoid contagion of coronavirus and since November 2021 it eliminated the health requirements for a negative COVID-19 test and vaccination card to enter the country.

The Central American country has applied the fourth dose to everyone over 12 years of age and to foreigners regardless of their immigration status.

Alabí said that the El Salvador hospital, which only treats coronavirus cases and has a capacity of 1,000 beds, has 109 admitted patients with complications due to pre-existing diseases.

The official recalled that PCR tests continue to be carried out in different parts of the country and that people whose test is positive will continue to be sent home two medication kits that include the batch of molnupiravir antiviral tablets.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has authorized emergency use of molnupiravir for the treatment of coronavirus in adults at high risk of progression to severe COVID-19.

“For prevention, I don’t have symptoms, but almost everyone I know has the flu and I better get tested to find out in time,” María Escalante, a 43-year-old informal trader, told the AP.

Since the pandemic began in El Salvador, 201,785 positive cases and 4,230 deaths have been registered, according to the Johns Hopkins University Center for Systems Science and Engineering.

El Salvador -with 6.7 million inhabitants- plans to immunize 5.7 million people. So far the first dose has been supplied to 4.6 million, the second to 4.3 million, the third to 1.8 million and more than 438,300 have received a fourth.

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