Even though the Dominican Republic has gone a month without a single COVID-related death, some experts remain concerned about the possibility of a future surge. The busy Easter period is especially worrying due to increased international travel as well as large family gatherings. Some experts, like Santiago Calderón, a doctor from the Cruz Jiminián Clinic, are reminding people that the pandemic is far from over, with cases being reported daily. With COVID outbreaks affecting countries like China, authorities are keeping a close eye on reported infections following the Easter period.
After the busy week-long Easter holiday, all eyes are set on the number of new infections being reported in the coming weeks. Authorities say that the situation remains calm and that COVID infections from the Easter holiday will only become visible after a week or two.
However, there are a number of reasons to be concerned, experts say. First, a near-record number of tourists made their way to the sunny island during the week-long Easter holiday, possibly bringing in new variants to the country. Locals, too, have enjoyed time with their family members, meaning lots of close contacts and social interaction. The warm weather, leading many to gather at beaches and public pools, is another factor that may possibly contribute to more cases.
The biggest concern remains the sub-variants of the already fast-spreading Omicron strain. Health officials are sounding the alarm about the risks of further spread of the BA 2.12.1 variant, which already accounts for 1 in 5 new cases in the nearby U.S. That being said, the Dominican Republic enjoys excellent vaccine coverage, preventing more severe forms of the disease.
As for the country’s hospitals, many of them have contingency plans in place should the epidemiological situation worsen. At the Cruz Jiminián Clinic, for example, up to 32 beds can be made available for COVID-infected patients, while 5 ICU beds can be prepared. The Moscoso Puello Hospital is one of the country’s largest. But it, too, is on alert for a possible increase in COVID related complications. With up to 40 beds reserved for patients, it is one of the best prepared hospitals in the country. Things are also looking good in Santo Domingo, with data from the National Health Service showing that for the time being, there are practically no COVID patients filling up hospital wards.
On the other hand, even though COVID patients numbers have practically dropped to zero, other diseases are keeping emergency clinics busy in the country. Health authorities in the country recently reported cases of a mysterious infectious skin disease first detected in Haiti. Dengue fever, appendicitis and diabetes are some of the major health issues affecting the island’s hospitals.
What Are The Current COVID Restrictions In The Dominican Republic?
Currently, visitors may enter the Dominican Republic without a negative PCR test. However, random health checks are performed at the border. As of October 18, 2021, all individuals aged 12 and above may be requested to provide proof of either full COVID vaccination (3 doses), or a negative PCR test when entering public places such as restaurants or gyms. It’s a good idea to check with your airline prior to travelling to the island to stay up to date on current restrictions.
As of April 1, the Dominican Republic had reported a total of nearly 600,000 confirmed cases of COVID, with 4375 deaths as reported by the Dominican government.
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