The Ministry of Health of Colombia changed this Monday from low to moderate the level of risk that the coronavirus COVID-19 arrives in the country before the most recent infections in Europe and other parts of the world.
“Today we conduct a new risk assessment for Colombia of the COVID-19 coronavirus and we have made the decision to raise the risk from low to moderate,” said Minister in charge of Health and Social Protection, Iván Darío González.
According to the Chinese health authorities, this coronavirus has caused 2,663 in that country and there are 77,658 confirmed cases of COVID-19 that have also caused deaths in Iran, Italy and South Korea, among other countries.
Despite the fact that no infected population has been reported in the country yet, González explained that in order to raise the level of risk, aspects such as the global dynamics of the epidemic have had important changes were taken, since in four days it was passed from 27 countries to 31 in which there are cases.
“In addition, cases have risen rapidly in Italy and some do not have a direct association with China, likewise in South Korea and Iran,” Gonzalez said.
MORE MIGRATORY CONTROLS
The official recalled that “there are also more cases in Spain and in other European countries with which we have significant migratory flows which increases the probability of importing cases to Colombia,” he explained.
Given this scenario, the minister said that this means that the possibility of imported cases is closer and that is why more control measures must be taken and others that have been implemented should be reinforced.
Among the measures in the field of surveillance and prevention is the expansion of the screening or filter in immigration, that is, now not only will passengers be asked if they come from China or if they have been in that country in the last 14 days, but also if South Korea, Japan, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, Arab Emirates, and Italy have visited in that period of time.
“We have already communicated to the Ministry of Transportation and Migration Colombia with the objective of extending the protocols and that this screening be carried out in the strictest manner in the shortest possible time,” said González.
The Ministry of Health stressed that it is essential that people arriving in Colombia from countries where cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed report if they have symptoms that could be related to the epidemic for medical follow-up.
“In addition, prevention messages will be intensified at the national level, with clear calls about the importance of hand washing and coughing properly and staying at home in the presence of respiratory symptoms. Having clean hands reduces up to 50 % contagion, “Gonzalez added.
Given this new level of risk, health entities must intensify prevention measures, their care capabilities, the strengthening of biosafety measures and the training of their personnel, as well as the provision of personal protection elements.