Colombia’s health ministry on Thursday reported the lowest number of COVID-19 infections since June last year.
In its daily report, the Health Ministry said that 93 people had died and 1,935 people were infected by the coronavirus in the previous 24 hours.
Less than 30,000 people would currently be infected by the virus that has caused the world’s most devastating pandemic since the Spanish Flu in 1918, according to the Health Ministry.
Less than 1,700 people would be so ill they need intensive care in one of the country’s hospitals.
Daily COVID-19 infections and deaths
Vaccination drive stagnated
Concerns about a more infectious of COVID-19, the Delta variant, coincide with concerns about an apparent stagnation in the government’s National Vaccination Plan.
This unprecedented vaccination drive was supposed to allow the protection of 70% of Colombia’s population before the end of the year, according to President Ivan Duque and Health Minister Fernando Ruiz.
Since the beginning of the National Vaccination Plan in February, approximately 14.3 million of Colombia’s 51 million inhabitants have been fully vaccinated. Another 19.4 are awaiting their second shot.
Whether health authorities are able to meet this target is uncertain because of apparent delays in the delivery of vaccines and distribution, which is particularly challenging in rural areas.
National Vaccination Plan progress
Silence before the Delta storm?
The stagnated vaccination drive could increase the impact of a possible fourth wave of infections with the Delta variant, which has been spreading around the world.
According to the Health Secretary of the capital Bogota, the new strain is expected to increase infections, hospitalizations and deaths in late September.
According to medical magazine The Lancet, the Delta Strain is more than twice as contagious as the original COVID-19 virus that emerged in China in December 2019.
The new strain is believed to be the driving force between a gradual increase in infections in the United States since July.
Some of the pandemic’s previous infection waves arrived months later in Colombia and other South American countries because of geographical and international travel conditions.
Whether the Health Ministry statistics are reliable is uncertain as authorities have dramatically reduced testing for possible infections, which leaves room for interpretation of the numbers.