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29 Mar 2020 | 02:10 PM UTC

Bolivia: Country confirms first COVID-19 death March 29 /update 6

Bolivia confirms first COVID-19-related death March 29; further spread of the virus expected

health
BOL

Event

On Sunday, March 29, Bolivian health authorities confirmed the country's first coronavirus disease (COVID-19)-related death. The patient was a 78-year-old woman who suffered from severe respiratory distress after contracting the virus from a family member.

A mandatory nationwide curfew remains in effect until Saturday, April 4. All residents are requested to limit non-essential movement, and non-essential businesses have been ordered to close. Pharmacies, hospitals, and health centers will remain open. Authorities have also tightened movement restrictions to allow only one person per household to go out between 07:00 and 12:00 (local time) on weekdays. Public and private transportation throughout the country have also been suspended.

To date, there are more than 80 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the country. Further international spread of the virus is to be expected over the near term.

Context

The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.

Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic.

Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and trouble breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.

Advice

Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly, and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone nonessential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.

To reduce the risk of transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:

  • Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.
  • When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
  • If experiencing a fever, cough, and difficulty breathing, seek medical care urgently and share your previous travel history with your health care provider.