Bolivia changes its Minister of Health to “endure and resist” the pandemic

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The president of Bolivia, Luis Arce (r), takes the oath of the new Minister of Health, Yeison Auza (i), during a ceremony in La Paz (Bolivia). EFE / Stringer

La Paz, Jan 16 (EFE) .- The president of Bolivia, Luis Arce, took the oath this Saturday to a new Minister of Health who replaces Édgar Pozo affected by the covid-19, with the purpose of “holding and resisting” the second wave of infections affecting the country.
During a ceremony at the Government building in La Paz, Arce appointed Yeison Auza, who was head of the Departmental Health Service of the department of Chuquisaca and who was a candidate for senator for the president’s party, the Movement for Socialism. (MAS), in the failed elections of 2019.
“We value the decision of our former Minister (of Health) to step aside for health reasons,” said Arce, referring to Pozo, who was found out just this Friday that he had contracted the virus and that due to his age he is within the groups at higher risk for complications.
The disease caused Pozo not to be present in several meetings of his ministry to face the pandemic, so with the appointment of Auza as minister “we resume the fight against the coronavirus,” explained the head of state.
Arce pointed out that “the population needs to become aware that we must endure this pandemic” and that this does not mean “locking Bolivians in their homes in rigid quarantine” or carrying out controls in the streets with the military and the police to avoid riots or crowds.
“Enduring means resisting this onslaught of this new wave” based on the strategy proposed by his Government based on massive tests, isolation of those infected and later vaccination, he said.
The president assured that “we would be deceived in saying that locked up or in quarantine we are going to solve the problem of the coronavirus in our country” and that this “is false”, referring to the measures applied by his predecessor, the former interim president Jeanine Áñez, to dictate hard and flexible confinements during the first wave of infections in 2020.
Arce, during his speech, did not make recommendations related to the usual biosafety measures such as the use of chinstraps, use of alcohol or hand washing and physical distancing.
The Bolivian president mentioned that the “structural solution” to “achieve and achieve” results in the face of the pandemic is “vaccination.”
It is estimated that this process will begin at the end of March with the arrival of the Russian Sputnik V applications and in April with the Oxford-AstraZeneca, he explained based on the contracts that allow Bolivia to have immunization doses.
Therefore, the first main task that Arce gave the new Minister of Health was “planning the vaccination process” since he considered that even the “medical students” of the country will be needed to carry out that mission.
While the new Minister of Health referred to the fact that the fight against the new coronavirus is “a co-responsibility” of health personnel and the population since without the leading participation of the Bolivian people “we will be destined to fail.”
This week the Bolivian government approved a decree that establishes measures such as teleworking as the main option and continuous staggered working hours as some measures, in addition to transferring responsibility to governments and municipalities to prevent massive activities or regulate public attention to businesses.
Bolivia registered a new record of 2,572 daily infections this past Friday that exceeds the peaks of the first wave that occurred in July and August of last year.
The registered deaths are 9,571 while the confirmed infections reach 183,589 since the detection of the first in March of last year.

Ben Oakley
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