The number of coronavirus patients who have recovered from the disease continues to climb with the tally of total active cases in Colombia at 47,451. On Tuesday, the Ministry of Health registered 3,948 new cases of infection and the lowest single-day increase since March 14 with 3,716. The daily death count also continued below the 200 marker claiming 167 victims, and also among the lowest per day fatalities in five months.

The continuing decrease in numbers comes as the vaccination rollout continues with 13.3 million citizens having completed the inoculation cycle or equivalent to 27% of the country’s 36 million adult population.

No Colombian city or department surpassed 600 cases on Tuesday, with Valle de Cauca registering the highest number with 565 new cases, followed by Bogotá with 527 and Antioquia with 513. The new per day averages contrast sharply from daily highs above 16,000 in mid-July. Bogotá Mayor Claudia López called on Minister of Health Fernando Ruíz to eliminate all age restrictions for adults, age 18 or over, to get vaccinated.

The Ministry of Health currently administers Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca, Janssen and Sinovac vaccines to persons age 25 and older. “Bogotá asks the national government given the circulation of the Delta variant, to increase herd immunity from 70% to 90%. This means that additional vaccines must be purchased so that 90% of the population is vaccinated before the end of 2021,” stated López. “If the government needs us to set up more vaccination posts, or extend the hours to cover those age 18 years and over, we are happy to do so,” she highlighted.

China’s Sinovac studying COVID-19 vaccine plant near Bogotá

López’s remarks also came on the same day she met with the directors of Sinovac Biotech to explore the possibility that the Chinese pharmaceutical establishes a vaccine production facility in the Colombian capital. Among the executives who came to Bogotá were Jack Tang of the international business division and Sinovac’s Vice President Weining Meng. “The level of health technology shortages that we have witnessed in this pandemic has left many, including us, helpless,” stated López. “We are very committed to this opportunity to produce this vaccine. We are ready to leave this legacy to Bogotá, because covid-19 is the current epidemic, but not be the last.”

The Chinese pharma executives will visit two laboratories near Bogotá – Limor de Colombia SAS in neighboring Soacha and Vitalis in Sopó –  to assess whether these companies meet vaccine production needs. At a news conference at Bogotá’s Lievano Palace, Mr.Meng stated that the visit marks “a starting point to build trust, work together, to lower the costs of the vaccine.” The Colombian government has received 14.1 million doses from the Chinese manufacturer, of which 2.1 million are destined for the private health sector.

Many foreign governments, among them Canada and U.S through the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) have not approved Sinovac as an eligible vaccine for inbound travelers despite the WHO’s official endorsement.