Colombia’s Health Ministry reported skyrocketing COVID-19 infections on Sunday as multiple cities are on lockdown to curb new outbreaks.
In its daily report, the Health Ministry said it received reports on another 17,483 new infections and 281 deaths in the previous 24 hours.
Infections and deaths have skyrocketed since last month when the government reported the lowest number of infections and optimism about its National Vaccination Plan.
Coronavirus infections and deaths
The latest surged knocked down healthcare in the cities of Medellin and Barranquilla where local authorities have issued a 24-hour curfew that will last at least until Tuesday morning.
Bogota’s hospital system is still up and running, but on high alert as the capital’s health secretary expects the coronavirus to push the city’s healthcare system to the limit in the coming week.
Authorities in Bogota and Cali imposed less rigid mobility restrictions as in Medellin and Barranquilla, but have not ruled out a full lockdown in the event their hospital systems are at risk of collapsing.
A lockdown in these cities would be a major blow for President Ivan Duque who has been trying to reactive the economy after ordering a national lockdown in late March last year.
The far-right president and his health minister have come under major criticism from the opposition and healthcare organizations over their response to the pandemic.
According to experts, the government’s failure to address structural flaws in healthcare system has impeded efforts to curb a new wave of infections through extensive testing.
The involvement of notoriously corrupt private healthcare intermediaries is additionally complicated national efforts to implement the unprecedented vaccination strategy.
The internal issues are aggravated by a global shortage of vaccines that is slowing down vaccination efforts around the globe.