President Iván Duque has said it. Minister of Health Fernando Ruíz repeats it. Chief epidemiologists reaffirm the obvious: “Wear a face mask!”
With the global community in the grip of a COVID-19 surge with the Omicron variant, and what the U.K Government claims will lead to a ‘tidal wave of infection,” on Thursday, the U.K registered 88,376 cases, breaking a record of 78,610 registered 24-hours earlier.
The sharp increase in new infections has effectively shut down the U.K – France border and threatens to impact healthcare systems across the European Union. Poland is the most recent EU member state to register the first case of Omicron.
The worrisome surge in cases comes during one of the busiest travel weeks in the year, and as governments scramble to reimpose blanket quarantines, enforce 24-hour PCR testing, and ban entry to non-essential travelers, in Colombia, new COVID-19 cases have averaged 1.900 per day during the last week, and also at a time, in which millions of Colombians have started their Christmas vacations.
On Wednesday, Colombia registered 2,066 cases and 51 deaths, 49 occurring on previous days, yet included in the most recent bulletin from MinSalud. Persons still infected with the virus, or “active cases,” amount to 12.078 of 4.940.312 who recovered. The total case count stands at 5.099.746 and 129,256 victims. Health officials administered 317.865 doses yesterday, raising the total number of vaccinated to 61.4 million – or 79% of the population with at least one dose, and 52% of the population fully vaccinated (26.580.000). Of those who have been vaccinated, 2.4 million have also received a booster shot.
Colombia’s total vaccinate coverage has surpassed the U.S (72%), U.K (77%), Germany (73%), and is at par with Japan and Italy.
With travel restrictions in place for North America, U.K and most of Europe, domestic hotel occupancy and flight bookings are at their highest in almost two years of the pandemic. According to the country’s migration entity – Migración Colombia – on December 14, when new entry requirements went into effect, 12.000 visitors entered the country by showing either a full vaccination certificate or negative PCR test. From this total, only nine persons were denied entry to Colombia. The Ministry of Health has mandated obligatory face mask wearing until the end of February, 2022, under the National Health Emergency.