Colombia’s 67 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday result of fewer tests with Easter

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Fotografía del 7 de abril de 2020 que muestra a transeúntes en una calle de Quibdó, en el departamento de Chocó (Colombia). EFE/Jeison Riascos - Murcy

Colombia saw a sharp decline in numbers of coronavirus infection on Sunday, raising the issue if the drop to 67 cases nationwide from 236 on Saturday is related to the COVID-19 testing laboratories closing early for the Easter holiday or less people calling in alleged symptoms.

With Bogotá reporting 21 new cases to put the capital’s total at 1,186 and Cali, the country-s second-most impacted city with 10 new cases putting its total at 498, with 2,776 patients of the disease across the country, the Ministry of Health confirmed 9 deaths, among the victims a second doctor in Bogotá.

The department of Chocó with its majority Afro-Colombian population also reported its first case of coronavirus and of serious concern to health authorities given the region’s high poverty rates and lack of access to basic services.

The Ministry of Health also confirmed that 270 patients have recovered, but 320 remain hospitalized.

Having discarded 39,000 patients of having the highly-infectious respiratory disease, the National Institute of Health (INS) – entity in charge of gathering the data from 21 authorized laboratories – stated in Sunday’s bulletin that  41,731 tests have been performed since the outbreak on March 6. The decline on Sunday can also be attributed that the INS processed 2,000 fewer samples that a daily average of 3,200.

Colombia has tested 73.9 potential active cases for every 100,000 citizens. In comparison with other South American nations, Chile leads in testing with 315.9 followed by Uruguay (128.5) and Ecuador (128.4). The countries with the lowest testing rates are Bolivia (8.8) and Venezuela (6.3).

According to the Johns Hopkins University COVID-19 trackers, as of Monday, Colombia’s 2,776 cases rank between Belarus with 2,919 and Thailand with 2,579.

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