Colombia passes 500 cases of COVID-19 and a diagnostic machine fails

Colombia confirmed 48 more cases of coronavirus this Friday, accumulating 539 patients, of whom six died and 10 recovered, although the National Institute of Health (INS) warned of “technical difficulties for the diagnosis of COVID-19”.

Of the new diagnoses, Bogotá has 39 followed by the departments of Atlántico and Quindío, with three each; Magdalena, with two, and Caldas with one, according to the Ministry of Health.

Meanwhile, the recovered ones amounted to 10, of which three are in Bogotá and two in Medellín, while the other five cases that evolved favorably are from Buga, Cartagena de Indias, Manizales, Neiva and Valledupar.


The number of new infections in the last two days, 21 on Thursday and 48 on Friday, is less than on Wednesday when 72 patients were counted, the worst record so far of the pandemic in Colombia.

In this regard, the INS stated that this “was due to a technical difficulty that we are seeking to overcome.”

“This involves performing one of the processes in your laboratory to diagnose COVID-19 manually. It is (the damage of) a nucleic acid extraction machine, essential for conducting the molecular diagnostic test for COVID -19 “, added the organism.

He specified that “damage to one of these machines in the INS (…) affects the speed of production of results but not its precision.”

The Institute warned that this machine is German and that to solve the problem it is necessary to change it, something impossible at present because that country “has closed its doors to exports due to the pandemic.”

However, the INS noted that “it has not stopped processing the tests and has extended its human capacity to solve the contingency”, but it has difficulties because the “machine processes 100 samples in one hour and 15 minutes” and “that same number of samples manually is not done in one day “.

The Attorney General’s Office (Public Ministry), which monitors the problem, said that “since March 25, when one of the two machines stopped working, the INS dropped from 988 to 364 tests analyzed.”

As an alternative, the INS is evaluating that “university laboratories may soon start reading samples” or enable “a third laboratory that has a nucleic acid extraction machine so that it can do this part of the diagnostic process and then finish processing the tests in high school.”


The Colombian capital continues to lead the statistics on infections with 223 cases, followed by the department of Valle del Cauca (73); Antioquia (60) and Bolívar (26), the latter all in Cartagena de Indias which is the departmental capital.

Other departments that also have a considerable number of cases are Cundinamarca (22), Risaralda (19), Atlántico (16), Norte de Santander and Quindío, both with 15, Huila (14) and Caldas (12).

Of the total infections, 295 are from people who were recently in countries with confirmed cases, while 192 are related and 52 are under study.

The authorities have also made 8,675 tests that were negative.

To contain the advance of the pandemic, the Colombian Government took a series of measures that restrict the mobilization and concentration of people, of which the most drastic is a 19-day national quarantine that began on Wednesday and will end on April 13, and which it has been complied with by most of the population.


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