LA PAZ – The Bolivian capital of La Paz started on Friday an extensive campaign of door-to-door testing to detect unreported cases of COVID-19 following an increase in the number of cases in recent days.
The campaign seeks to cover almost half a million people in six days divided over two weekends.
“There are six hundred teams that are starting work simultaneously in different parts of the city,” La Paz Mayor Luis Revilla said at an event to start the campaign.
The teams are made up of medical personnel from the health department, medical staff from the public and private universities, as well as members of the Bolivian Police and the Armed Forces, according to the mayor.
Revilla said all the members of every team “has been evaluated and has been tested for verifying their health status,” to ascertain that they are not carriers of the novel coronavirus.
The city authorities have decided to carry out the detection campaign over two successive weekends, including the Fridays preceding them.
For this purpose, through a municipal decree, all public activities, and the movement of vehicles, have been suspended during these periods, except in cases or urgency or strict necessity.
The department of La Paz, which houses the country’s executive and the legislature, accounts for the second largest number of COVID-19 cases in Bolivia with 27,306 infections, behind Santa Cruz which has 38,969 cases.
According to the mayor, La Paz is expected to record a thousand daily cases of fresh infections over the next few days and there was even a possibility of this number doubling.
If the door-to-door detection campaign is a success, the authorities believe that the number of cases will start reducing after the initial increase.
This type of house visits by medical teams “has occurred in most departments across the country, with almost 100 percent success,” acting Defense Minister Luis Fernando Lopez said at the start of the event.
The authorities have repeatedly urged the people cooperate with the medical teams and provide reliable information on the health status of their household members.
The suggested measures, depending on the severity of the cases identified, range from hospitalization, home isolation, and delivery of a medicine package for initial treatment at home.
Bolivia has reported 106,065 confirmed cases and 4,305 deaths since the first infections of the coronavirus were detected in March.