Omicron in Colombia a “question of time” affirms Health Minister

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EFE/EPA/Ramon van Flymen

With the Netherlands the first European nation to return to a strict lockdown to curb rapidly increasing numbers of daily coronavirus cases with the Omicron variant, the UK registered on Monday, 91,743 new infections, and second highest per day tally since the start of the pandemic. The Dutch lockdown extends to January 14, covering the entire Christmas season. PM Boris Johnson has not ruled out reintroducing restrictions this week.

Amid the surge of a variant, which the WHO’s Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus claims is “spreading significantly faster than the Delta variant,” and is more likely to “infect or re-infect the vaccinated or recovered,” the White House’s chief epidemiologist Dr. Anthony Fauci, warned that the country’s hospitals will be filled with patients again over the next two weeks due to the rapid expansion of Omicron.

“If things continue the way they are, in a week or two, we will have our hospitals filled with people because there are many in this country who can receive the vaccine and have not done so.” Dr.Fauci highlighted that the fact that Omicron is transmitted so easily makes it equally dangerous. “We will see an uptick in infections, there is no question about that. But there is a major difference in severity between a person who received the vaccine, and booster dose, and one who did not,” he said.

On Monday, Panama detected its first case of Omicron, in a 50-year-old who recently traveled to South Africa. Cases of Omicron in Latin America have been reported in Peru, Bolivia, Costa Rica, Mexico, Argentina and Brazil.

Colombia’s Health Minister Fernando Ruíz has warned that Omicron could already be circulating in specific regions of the country, even though, no first case of the variant has been confirmed. “It’s impossible to stop a variant as we have learned with COVID-19. The important thing is to have a vaccinated population,” he said. Omicron in Colombia “is a question of time.”

Colombia has surpassed 27 million persons fully vaccinated, representing 53.2% of the country’s total population. Almost 80% of the country’s 51 million citizens have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. Colombia is averaging some 260,000 doses administered each day. The total number of confirmed cases in Colombia stands at 5.109.022. Over the last 24 hours the Ministry of Health reported 1.699 new cases of infection and 29 deaths from the disease. The number of active cases lowered to 12.485.

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