The Minister of Health of Panama, Luis Francisco Sucre, affirmed this Thursday that the Central American country is going through a fourth wave of covid-19, after the recent arrival of the omicron variant, which caused an accelerated rise in infections that are expected to continue until at least mid-January.
“Yes, we are already in a fourth wave. Obviously, yesterday (Wednesday) there was 11.4% positivity and for today I would not be surprised if it remains between 11% and 12%. This is going to go up until mid-January “said the head of the Ministry of Health (Minsa).
The first omicron case was detected last week. Until Wednesday they had been confirmed “More than 46 cases”, and it should not be surprising that that figure will double by this Friday, Sucre said.
Still most cases of the covid-19 in Panama correspond to the delta variant, but “We have no doubt that the omicron will be the dominant one” soon, he added.
The authorities decided to face this new wave by reinforcing vaccination and suspending some massive activities, although Sucre did not rule out taking the “necessary actions” to stop the spread of the virus.
“We must observe the situation calmly, not go to take extreme measures because we consider that this is not the time. We must remain calm within the crisis, because we cannot deny that we are in a difficult situation “Sucre said in an interview with the Panamanian network TVN.
Panama, with 4.2 million inhabitants, already accumulates 491,043 confirmed cases of the covid-19 and 7,425 deaths, in the 21 months of the pandemic.
“In recent days (hospital) occupancy has increased with the increase in cases, but we can still have some peace of mind because we have 45% of beds available”, Sucre added.
Even so, the minister warned about the hospitalizations of unvaccinated people or with incomplete immunization schedule.
According to official figures, 88.2% of deaths from covid-19 registered in Panama between February and December 24 last corresponds to people without the two doses of vaccination against covid-19, and 70.6% of the patients admitted to the care unit (ICU) and 54.6% in the general ward lacked the complete scheme.
The target population, people 12 years of age and older, has a coverage of 90.4% with the first dose and 81.4% with the second. 329,175 booster doses have been applied to people 16 years of age or older, and 7,371 third doses to immunosuppressed patients, as of this Wednesday.
Given the arrival of the new variant, the authorities reiterated the call to be vaccinated against covid-19, and they reduced from 6 to 3 months the time to administer, after the second dose, the vaccine booster to those over 16 years of age.
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