Coronavirus Covid-19 Bulletin #459/ 20 June 2021

The Ministry of Public Health’s Epidemiology Department Coronavirus Bulletin #459 reports 858 new PCR cases for the Sunday, 20 June 2021 deadline. There is a spike of Covid-19 cases attributed to the entry of the more transmissible variants of the original coronavirus and the increased mixing of people.

As has been happening since the start of the pandemic, Greater Santo Domingo concentrates the most new registered cases. The cases compare to the 7-day nationwide average for PCR confirmed cases that is 1,166, up from the previous day.

As per Bulletin #459, with the deadline of 20 June 2021, the Ministry of Public Health has registered 317,645 confirmed cases since the first case on 1 March 2020. Labs carried out 4,917 first-time PCR tests. This number of PCR tests compares with the 14-day average now at 5,470, up from the previous day.

The national 4-week positivity rate is 18.38%, up from the previous day. The 24-hour positivity for the day is 21.08%, up from the day before.

The number of reported active Covid-cases dropped to 54,238 (-620), the second consecutive day of declines over the previous 24 hours.

The nation is immersed in a nationwide vaccination drive as batches of vaccines are received from abroad. The vaccination drive is now open to persons 12+ years old since Saturday, 12 June 2021. The Health Cabinet says the National Vaccination Plan continues to give priority to those who require the second dose of the vaccine. With the arrival of Pfizer vaccines, the campaign is open to those 12+ at select vaccination centers in Greater Santo Domingo and Santiago. As of February, there has been a consistent arrival of vaccines to continue with the National Vaccination Plan as scheduled. The goal is to have vaccinated upwards of 60% of the population in time for the start of the 2021-2022 school year in August 2021.

As of the 20 June 2021 deadline, the University of Virginia Covid-19 Surveillance Dashboard indicates that 4,491,478 people have been vaccinated. 2,452,188 persons have received two doses. Health experts insist that sufficient immunity is not acquired until two weeks after the person has received the second dose.

The government aspires to maintain a pace of 100,000+ vaccinations a day. VacunateRD reports 4,541,739 first doses of the vaccine and 2,470,706 second doses for the 20 June 2021 vaccination deadline. This is around 31% of the target population over 18 years old.

The government seeks to vaccinate 7.8 million people of the population of 10.8 million. In addition. This total does not take into consideration those 12-18 years of age that of June 2021 are included in the vaccination campaign with the expected weekly arrival of Pfizer vaccines.

So far, accoring to Our World in Data, as of 20 June 2021, the DR is only behind Canada, Israel, the UK, Uruguay, the US, Italy, Germany and France in share of people who have received at least one dose of Covid-19 vaccine.

Regarding Covid-19 testing in the Dominican Republic, private labs have special facilities for those requiring results in time for travel abroad. Results of PCR tests can be had in 24 hours for those presenting a valid airline ticket at Referencia Lab branches in Santo Domingo, Santiago, Puerto Plata, La Romana and Punta Cana. Antigen tests results can be had in three hours at Referencia and Amadita labs in the same locations. Nevertheless, travelers are recommended to make arrangements with extra time. PCR test results are usually given in 24 hours or less online.

Canada and Spain are requiring all entering to show negative results of a PCR test carried out within 72 hours before the traveler’s scheduled departure to those countries. Yet, Spain has announced that travelers who have the full dose of the Sinovac vaccine can enter showing proof of a having the full dose of vaccine at least two weeks before the travel date. More than 90% of those vaccinated in the Dominican Republic have received the Sinovac/Coronavac vaccine. The US requires travelers to show negative antigen or PCR test results taken within 72 hours of the arrival to US territory.

With Decree 378-21 issued on 15 June 2021, the Presidency moves to 6pm the curfew for Saturdays and Sundays in the capital city and 24 provinces. Decree 378-21 extends the curfew in effect since 31 May, and this will continue Monday to Friday from 6pm to 5am and Saturdays and Sundays from 6pm to 5am. The three-hour free circulation period continues. The government also keeps the dry law (ban on sale and consumption of alcoholic beverages) that continues to be in effect daily from 3pm a 5am, but authorized the sale of these for takeout or delivery.

The measures are applicable in: the National District and the provinces of Santo Domingo (Greater Santo Domingo), Azua, Bahoruco, Barahona, Dajabón, Elías Piña, El Seibo, Hato Mayor, Hermanas Mirabal, Independencia, La Romana, María Trinidad Sánchez, Monseñor Nouel, Montecristi, Monte Plata, Pedernales, Peravia, San Cristóbal, San José de Ocoa, San Juan de la Maguana, San Pedro de Macorís, Sánchez Ramírez, Santiago Rodríguez and Valverde.

Most of the country’s major tourism destinations (Puerto Plata, Punta Cana, La Vega and Samaná) have been exempt from the new restrictions in Decree 378-21 and 349-21.

The exceptions to the extended curfew are the provinces of Duarte, Espaillat, La Altagracia (Punta Cana), La Vega (Jarabacoa and Constanza), Puerto Plata, Samaná and Santiago, where the curfew is from 10pm to 5am from Monday to Friday and from 9pm to 5am on Saturdays and Sundays, with the three hours of mobility.

The intention is to reduce mobility and people mixing when new highly transmissible variants of the virus are in circulation.

Given the spike in cases that began in May, the government ordered that public schools close for in-person learning and continue exclusively with the distance learning programs. Private schools are authorized to operate keeping to health protocols.

The government also ordered the continuing of the shutdown of the bilateral markets with Haiti through Wednesday, 23 June 2021.

Open-air public spaces, such as parks and boulevards, can be used for activities other than social gatherings and always complying with preventive health protocols. Gyms, restaurants and bars are allowed to operate at 50% of their capacity. A maximum of six persons per table is allowed, among other health protocols. Religious ceremonies are allowed three days a week, as long as they keep within 60% of the capacity of the church and churchgoers must keep their masks on during the service. Theaters have resumed showings under health protocols. Private schools and universities are gradually reopening to semi in-person learning.

Hotels and resorts continue to operate under previously established less restrictive health protocols. This means that alcoholic beverages are available at restaurants and bars within the resort or hotel areas that are under the tourism protocols.

The government began to vaccinate for the Covid-19 virus on 16 February 2021. The first phase of vaccinations covered the around 12,000 front-line staff at clinics and hospitals that see Covid-19 patients. Two first batches of 20,000 and 30,000 doses of Covishield arrived from the India Oxford-AstraZeneca manufacturing plant since 15 February 2021.

The next shipment was one of 768,000 doses of Sinovac/Coronavac vaccine that arrived on 23 February 2021 from China for the continuation of the National Vaccination Plan.

The government received a 1 million batch of Sinovac/Coronavac vaccines on 17 March 2021 that are primarily being used for second doses. An additional 50,000 Sinopharm vaccines from China were received in the same shipment of 17 March and were used to primarily vaccinate military and police forces.

An additional batch of 500,000 Sinovac/Coronavac from China arrived on 21 April 2021.

A 2 million batch of Sinovac/Coronavac vaccines from China was received on 5 May 2021.

On 25 May 2021, a shipment arrived from China with another 1 million vials of Sinovac/Coronavac vaccines and syringes.

A 1 million batch of Sinovac/Coronavac vaccines from China arrived on 3 June 2021.

A first batch of 228,150 Pfizer vaccines arrived on 11 June 2021. The government is giving priority to children 12-17 years for these vaccines. They are also available for first dose vaccines at a select vaccination sites in Greater Santo Domingo and Santiago, the country’s two main metropolitan areas.

A 1.5 million batch of Sinovac/Coronavac vaccines from China arrived on 16 June 2021.

On 18 June 2021, the second shipment of Pfizer vaccines arrived to Santo Domingo, a batch of 208,260 doses. This brings the Pfizer shipments to 436,410 doses.

The Dominican government has contracted for millions of vaccines with Pfizer-BioNTech, the UK manufacturers of Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, and others, directly and through the World Health Organization-Covax Facility. The first vaccines of the Covax Facility were received on 6 April, some 91,200 vials of Oxford/AstraZeneca. A second batch of Covax Facility vaccines arrived on 14 May 2021, with 187,200 vials of Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccines.

In total, the Dominican Republic has received 8,582,810 vaccine doses, of which almost 91% have come from China – 7,768,000 Sinovac and 50,000 Sinopharm vaccines. On 1 June 2021, the World Health Organization (WHO) gave emergency approval to the Sinovac vaccine. It had already cleared the Sinopharm vaccine. The emergency approval means the vaccine meets the WHO and international standards for safety, efficacy and manufacturing. China has already cleared the vaccine for use in children 3+.

Regardless of the widespread vaccination program, the Ministry of Public Health continues to mandate keeping to the preventive measures of mask-wearing, physical distancing in public spaces, hand hygiene and keeping to well-ventilated areas. In the cities, mask-wearing is the norm and is mandatory. As of recent weeks, mask usage is relaxed in ventilated public areas. Shopping malls and major stores continue to require the use of the facial masks.

The Dominican Republic continues under a National State of Emergency. The Presidency enacted Decree 245-21 that extends the National State of Emergency for another 45-day period from 31 May 2021 to 14 July 2021.

By regional standards, the Dominican Republic has been relatively successful at treating Covid-19 and keeping the number of deaths low. For the 20 June 2021 deadline, Worldometer lists the 1M deaths per inhabitant rate for the Dominican Republic at 343. According to the same 1M deaths statistics, fewer people have died of Covid-19 in the Dominican Republic than in Brazil at 2,345, Italy at 2,108, Argentina at 1,953, Colombia at 1,944, the United Kingdom at 1,876, the United States at 1,854, Spain at 1,724, France at 1,694, Germany 1,082, Russia at 889 and Canada at 685, all major markets for Dominican tourism and countries with overall better health systems.

Two Covid-related new deaths are recorded for the 20 June 2021 deadline, and one death occurred in the previous 24 hours of the deadline. As of the 20 June 2021 deadline, 3,758 persons are reported to have died of the disease in the Dominican Republic, a nation of more than 10.8 million adults since March 2020. The fatality rate is at 1.18%. The fatality rate per 1M inhabitants is 359.67. Dominican physicians’ diverse treatment for the disease has been relatively successful in the region. The Ministry of Public Health reports that the country’s 359.67 fatality rate per 1M compares favorably to the average 1M inhabitants’ fatality rate for the Americas at 1,794.12.

The Ministry of Public Health report #459 indicates 50% of Covid-19 hospital beds are occupied (1,335 of 2,683 total available), similar to the previous day. Reports are that around 80% of Covid-19 beds in Greater Santo Domingo are occupied, not so in the rest of the country. 68% of the intensive care units for Covid-19 are taken (451 of 663 beds), down significantly from the day before. These numbers reflect the spike in cases that began in early May with the reduction in circulation restrictions and the arrival of the more aggressive virus variants. The hospitalization statistics are for all the country. Hospitalization demand in Greater Santo Domingo, Santiago and other major cities is much higher than the national average.

The past seven days bulletin result highlights are:

Bulletin #459: 317,645 confirmed cases, 858 new cases reported in the past 24 hours, 54,238 active cases, 2 deaths are reported for the deadline, and one reported happening in the past 24 hours. The fatality rate per 1M is 359.67.

Bulletin #458: 316,787 confirmed cases, 972 new cases reported in the past 24 hours, 54,858 active cases, 2 deaths are reported for the deadline, and none reported happening in the past 24 hours. The fatality rate per 1M is 359.48.

Bulletin #457: 315,815 confirmed cases, 1,784 new cases reported in the past 24 hours, 55,027 active cases, 12 deaths are reported for the deadline, and six reported happening in the past 24 hours. The fatality rate per 1M is 359.29.

Bulletin #456: 314,031 confirmed cases, 1,216 new cases reported in the past 24 hours, 53,415 active cases, 7 deaths are reported for the deadline, and four reported happening in the past 24 hours. The fatality rate per 1M is 358.14.

Bulletin #455: 312,815 confirmed cases, 982 new cases reported in the past 24 hours, 53,759 active cases, 7 deaths are reported for the deadline, and four reported happening in the past 24 hours. The fatality rate per 1M is 357.28.

Bulletin #454: 311,833 confirmed cases, 1,442 new cases reported in the past 24 hours, 53,707 active cases, 9 deaths are reported for the deadline, and three reported happening in the past 24 hours. The fatality rate per 1M is 356.61.

Bulletin #453: 310,391 confirmed cases, 914 new cases reported in the past 24 hours, 53,402 active cases, 9 deaths are reported for the deadline, and five reported happening in the past 24 hours. The fatality rate per 1M is 355.74.

Greater Santo Domingo continues to lead in the number of reported PCR cases. As of 20 June 2021 at 6pm, the deadline for Bulletin #459, the most confirmed cases have been reported in the National District (89,163) and the Santo Domingo province (70,023). The numbers account for 50% of the 317,645 confirmed cases nationwide.

Other provinces are: Santiago (31,249), La Romana (12,028), La Altagracia (11,087), La Vega (10,752), San Cristóbal (10,690), Puerto Plata (8,055), Duarte (7,318), Espaillat (5,990), San Pedro de Macoris (5,113), San Juan de la Maguana (4,937), Barahona (4,266), Azua (4,001), Monseñor Nouel (3,642), Maria Trinidad Sánchez (3,544), Sánchez Ramírez (3,334), Valverde (3,025), Peravia (2,930), Hermanas Mirabal (2,825), Monte Plata (1,791), Baoruco (1,785), Montecristi (1,464), Santiago Rodriguez (1,435), Dajabón (1,342), Hato Mayor (1,318), Independencia (1,254), San José de Ocoa (1,118), El Seibo (1,102), Samaná (1,008), Pedernales (824) and Elías Piña (460) as of the 20 June 2021 deadline.

The Ministry indicates that the newest allocated cases (more than 9) reported for the 20 June 2021 update deadline are: the National District (131) and Santo Domingo province (84) in Greater Santo Domingo, reflecting the control of the spread in the capital city area. Greater Santo Domingo concentrates around 50% of the nationwide spread of the virus.

Haiti reports 17,371 confirmed cases and 385 deaths, for the 20 June 2021 deadline. There is a spike in Haiti likewise attributed to the new variants. Haiti is the only country in the Western Hemisphere that has not yet started its Covid-19 vaccination program. This happened because the Haitian government rejected a first Covax facility donation of AstraZeneca vaccines. The Dominican government authorized the vaccinating of Haitians with domicile in the Dominican Republic.

Overall, health experts attribute the general low number of deaths in Haiti (33 per 1M pop) in part due to widespread vaccinating of babies with the tuberculosis vaccine and widespread use of ivermectin for parasites that have raised the immunity of the population. In person education has continued regularly in Haiti, and most people do not wear masks nor exercise physical distancing.

In the Americas, the Dominican Republic is now ranked 13th in confirmed PCR cases after the United States, Brazil, Colombia, Argentina, Mexico, Peru, Canada, Chile, Panama, Ecuador, Bolivia and Costa Rica.

Read more:
Decree 378-21
Decree 364-21
Decree 349-21
Special Tourism regulations related to Decree 349-21
Decree 346-21
Decree 345-21 – National State of Emergency

Decree 319-21

See the Ministry of Public Health epidemiological


John Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center
University of Washington Health Data
University of Oxford Covid Tracker
Our World in Data

University of Virginia Covid-19 Surveillance Dashboard

21 June 2021