The Dominican government has announced that it has no plans to re-introduce any COVID restrictions despite the recent rise in cases reported in the country. The Dominican Republic removed all COVID-related measures in late April, including mask-wearing and social distancing. However, some officials from the country’s hospitals are worried about the rising numbers of COVID cases and are urging more caution.
The government’s optimistic statement was issued this Wednesday at the presidential palace, where several high-ranking public officials took part, including the president as well as the minister of health. In the routine meeting, authorities reviewed the country’s COVID situation as well as its preparedness for future surges.
With current hospital occupancy indicators remaining low, officials in the country don’t believe that introducing measures at this time is necessary. At the same time, the country’s leadership has said that it is ready to deal with possible surges in COVID cases. They have also said that while no longer being mandatory, citizens are welcome to use masks according to their own discretion.
The decision comes despite a recommendation by the Panamerican Organization for Health (OPS) which urged authorities to remain vigilant over possible increases in COVID cases. Moreover, the health institution calls for the use of face-covering masks to be used in closed public spaces. The Dominican president Luis Abinader has called his country an example to follow when it comes to the handling of the pandemic, in which both the health and economy are looked after.
“For those who are concerned over their health, I recommend them to use masks. For our part, we will continue with the current state of affairs”, the president said. The minister of health shares a similar assessment.
The Dominican Republic’s hospital system has a total of 2,372 beds available for COVID patients, but only 30 are currently in use. Fortunately, no ventilators are currently being used and intensive care units are not treating any patients for the time being.
International travel has made a comeback in the Dominican Republic as a result of the removal of all health-related restrictions. On 26 April, masks and social distancing, as well as other pandemic-related measures, were removed in the Dominican Republic. The tourism industry, as well as residents, welcomed the move, which has prompted a record number of tourists to visit the sunny island.
COVID Cases On The Rise
Even though the government feels optimistic in that no new measures are needed, some hospitals in the country have reported taking measures to avoid further COVID spread. Among those rigging the alarm bell is the spokesperson for the Metropolitan Hospital of Santiago, who reminds residents of the need to protect vulnerable patients.
More COVID cases have also been reported this week. On Wednesday, the epidemiological update notified 628 active cases as well as 163 which were reported in the last 24 hours. Meanwhile, a total of 4377 deaths have occurred in the country since the beginning of the pandemic. These numbers represent an increase when compared to last week, a trend which is expected to continue this week.
Vaccinations are an important tool in the fight against COVID, and tourists visiting the country should ensure that their vaccinations are up to date.
For the time being, the government and the country’s authorities will continue to monitor the situation. The country’s vaccination situation as well as the widespread availability of hospital beds and ventilators means that the Dominican Republic is well-prepared for any future COVID waves.
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