Bogotá at epicenter of Omicron case increases

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After weeks in which two of Colombia’s largest cities, Cali and Medellín, saw the largest per-day increases in COVID-19 infections, driven by the Omicron variant, over the last several days, Bogotá is at the epicenter of the new cases, with 6,567 confirmed on Tuesday on the day’s national total of 28,849.

On Sunday, the Colombian capital registered 8,390 of 32,317 cases, and on Monday, 6,750 of 24,272 cases, respectively. The total tally since the outbreak on March 6, 2020, stands at 5,596,917 cases and death toll of 131,268. An average of 130 deaths every day have been confirmed by the Ministry of Health since Friday, January 14.

Departments where cases have been increasingly steadily with the fourth wave are Bolívar, Atlántico, and Cundinamarca. Given high demand for PCR testing, many of the district’s free testing facilities have been forced to turn away persons as kits rapidly deplete. And the Moderna vaccine will only be given to complete vaccination schemes, and no longer as a booster, given depleting supplies, confirmed the Ministry on Tuesday.

With the increase in cases, the health portfolio released a statement urging Colombians to continue wearing mandatory face marks, especially as schools reopened this week to 100% in-person learning. “Now, more than ever, the use of the face mask is obligatory,” stated the Ministry’s director for prevention and promotion Gerson Bermont. On Tuesday, health authorities administered an additional 128,000 doses, raising the total number past 68 million. The fully vaccinated represent close to 60% of the country’s 50.1 million population, with 77% having received one dose. The Ministry aims to reach 80% with one dose by the end of January.

While Colombia’s daily COVID-19 cases are worrisome, on Tuesday, France reported close to half a million new cases over 24 hours, and the U.K reported over 94,000 cases and 438 additional deaths, highest number in over a year of the pandemic. In the picture below, more than 150,000 red hearts adorn the National COVID Memorial Wall outside St.Thomas’ Hospital in central London.