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Covid in Latin America

Colombia counts the cost of lockdown

Colombia’s first known Covid-19 case was detected on 6 March 2020; the virus spread rapidly from that point onwards. A year later, by mid-March 2021, over 2.26m coronavirus cases had been confirmed, with over 60,000 deaths reported, placing the country 12th in the world by total number of deaths. “Sixty-thousand deaths is obviously a very big, a serious number” says Víctor Muñóz, head of the department of the presidency in the right-wing government of President Iván Duque. However, Muñoz highlights what he says are the government’s achievements in dealing with the pandemic. He notes that the country was able to double the number of ICU beds from 5,700 to over 12,000. It also boosted its capacity to conduct PCR (polymerase chain reaction) tests, transitioning from having only one PCR-enabled laboratory at the start of the outbreak, to 165 one year later. PCR testing is considered a key a tool in testing and tracking the virus.

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