Panama exceeds 300,000 cases of covid-19 and counts 4,864 deaths

Panama exceeds 300,000 cases of covid-19 and counts 4,864 deaths

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Photograph of the interior of the COVID hospital during its inauguration in Panama City (Panama).

Panama, Jan 19 – Panama reported 2,173 new cases of covid-19 and 36 deaths on Tuesday, bringing confirmed infections to 301,534 and to 4,864 deaths from the disease in more than 10 months of pandemic, the Ministry reported of Health (Minsa).

There are 2,597 hospitalized, 2,366 in ward and 241 in Intensive Care Units (ICU), while 50,211 remain isolated in their homes and 705 in hotels that function provisionally as hospitals.
The Minsa detailed that this Tuesday there were 31 deaths from covid, a figure that is updated with another 5 from previous dates, to total 4,864 deaths and a fatality of 1.6%, one of the lowest in the region.

In the last 24 hours, 13,046 tests were applied to detect the new SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, for a percentage of positivity of 16.2%. Since the first case of contagion was discovered on March 9, Panama has applied a total of 1,550,101 tests.
Deaths according to age range are concentrated among people over 60 years of age, with 3,651 deaths, despite the fact that this segment registers the lowest number of cases (41,951) compared to those between 20 and 59 years (259,583) .
With 4.2 million inhabitants, Panama has been experiencing a rebound in covid since November with record numbers of new cases, deaths and diagnostic tests performed, and has positioned itself as the nation with the second highest incidence rate of the new coronavirus in the American continent.
The speed of the pandemic rebound has slowed down as a result of restrictions and quarantines implemented since last December.
In the capital and its surroundings, these restrictions began to be lifted last Thursday through a gradual schedule that will run until March 15.
Since Thursday, quarantines have been applied in the provinces of Coclé, Veraguas, Los Santos and Herrera, four of the ten that the country has.
The Minsa announced today that this quarantine will also be applied on weekends to the province of Darién, bordering Colombia, for having a high incidence of infections and an Rt or Effective Reproduction Index of 1.66, compared to the national one, which is 0.97.
In addition, the health authorities indicated that the arrival of the first batch of vaccines purchased from Pfizer, which was planned to be received at dawn, has been advanced to midnight.

Pfizer has made a drastic reduction in the amount of vaccines against covid-19 agreed with the Government of Panama for the first batch, going from 40,000 to 12,840 doses due to production capacity problems of the pharmaceutical company, the authorities announced.
“Pfizer notified Panama yesterday, January 18, 2021, that this first batch will consist of 12,840 doses of vaccines (…) a quantity less than the 40,000 doses that Pfizer representatives had confirmed on January 4,” reported the Minsa.

According to Minsa, Pfizer explained that “as part of the plans to increase its production capacity, announced over the weekend in Europe and which will affect Latin America, shipments are temporarily reduced globally for three weeks.”
Panama has allocated 56 million dollars for the purchase of 5.5 million vaccines: 3 million from Pfizer; 1,092,000 from AstraZeneca; 300,000 from Johnson and Johnson, and 1,112,410 from the COVAX mechanism, according to official information.

Ben Oakley
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