Restrictive measures have been effective and have controlled the May spike in Covid-19 cases in the Dominican Republic. The Ministry of Public Health’s Epidemiology Department Coronavirus Bulletin #488 reports 237 new PCR cases for the Monday, 19 July 2021 deadline. Health authorities closely monitor the new variants and their impact in the Dominican Republic as curfew restrictions are reduced to a minimum.
The Health Cabinet has challenged the people in the Dominican Republic to get fully vaccinated. The Presidency says it is considering fully removing curfew restrictions in municipalities where 70% of the people have at least two doses. In the Dominican Republic the government has sufficient inventories of vaccines to apply at least 100,000 doses per day. The national average of people with at least one dose is at around 48% and the tourism province of La Altagracia (Punta Cana) has all of its population with at least one vaccine.
The 237 new cases compare to the 7-day nationwide average for PCR confirmed cases that is 413, down from the previous day. As has been happening since the start of the pandemic, Greater Santo Domingo concentrates most of the new registered cases.
As per Bulletin #488, with the deadline of 19 July 2021, the Ministry of Public Health has registered 337,975 confirmed cases since the first case on 1 March 2020. Labs carried out 2,437 first-time PCR tests. This number of PCR tests compares with the 14-day average now at 4,194, down from the previous day.
The national 4-week positivity rate is 12.14%, down from the previous day. The 24-hour positivity for the day is 9.73%, down from the day before, and dropping below 10% for the first time this year.
The number of reported active Covid-cases declined to 53,402 (-179), down from the previous 24 hours.
The National Vaccination Plan now contemplates a booster shot different from the first two doses to be applied a month after the second dose of the Sinovac vaccine and three months after the second dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine. The Pfizer booster vaccine is being applied to persons with co-morbidities and seniors, and at demand in cases of availability.
The general vaccination drive is open to persons 12+ years old since Saturday, 12 June 2021 with the arrival of Pfizer vaccines to select vaccination centers. As of 2 July 2021, the campaign also is offering a third Pfizer booster shot to seniors and those with comorbidities. As of February 2021, vaccines have consistently arrived to continue with the National Vaccination Plan as scheduled. The goal is to have fully vaccinated upwards of 60% of the population in time for the start of the 2021-2022 school year in September 2021.
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. The rolling 7-day average as of 18 July 2021 deadline is 70,876 vaccines applied per day, down from the previous day. The VacunateRD government website reports 5,369,886 first doses of the vaccine and 3,780,347 second doses for the 19 July 2021 vaccination deadline. Around 48% of the target population over 18 years old now have the two doses.
The government seeks to vaccinate 7.8 million adults 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.
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 labs carried out the test in Santo Domingo, Santiago, Puerto Plata, La Romana and Punta Cana. Antigen tests results can be had in three hours at select 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 two doses of the Sinovac or Pfizer vaccine at least two weeks before the travel date can enter without a PCR test. Both vaccines are now available in the Dominican Republic. Around 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.
Decree No. 432-21 dated 12 July 2021 sets curfew from 11pm to 5am daily with a daily two-hour free transit period, starting Wednesday, 21 July 2021. The sale and consumption of alcoholic beverages in public and private places of public use is allowed for the full regular curfew schedule.
The Plan for the Relaxation of Restrictive Measures for COVID-19 contemplates the lifting of the curfew in municipalities when at least 70% of the respective population has received the second dose of the Covid-19 vaccine. It is expected that La Altagracia (Punta Cana) will be the first to meet this requirement.
The intention is still to contain mobility and people mixing now that new highly transmissible variants of the virus are in circulation.
The government has ordered that all private and public schools open for in person learning in September. It is likely private schools will open in August. Schools continue to be subject to keeping to health protocols. Universities say they will reopen in August but require students to have the full vaccination dose to enroll in in person learning classes.
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.
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. As of 16 July 2021, the Dominican Republic has received 15,771,760 vaccine doses, of which 87.3% have come from China – 13,768,000 Sinovac and 50,000 Sinopharm vaccines (13,818,000). Pfizer has delivered 1,153,360 vaccine doses or 7.3%. Of the AstraZeneca vaccine, the delivered 721,200 doses represent 4.5% of the total.
Free vaccines are available at more than 1,000 vaccination centers nationwide. The Pfizer vaccine is available at major vaccination sites at request for those 12+. The Pfizer vaccine is also available as a booster shot for those who have received the two Sinovac or AstraZeneca vaccines. As of 18 July 2021, the Ministry of Public Health reports that 190,383 people had received the Pfizer third shot.
The Dominican Republic is in the top 10 of numbers of persons per country vaccinated in the Americas.
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 approved Decree 417-21 that extends the National State of Emergency until 26 August 2021.
By regional standards, the Dominican Republic has been relatively successful at treating Covid-19 and keeping the number of deaths low. For the 19 July 2021 deadline, Worldometer lists the 1M deaths per inhabitant rate for the Dominican Republic at 358. According to the same 1M deaths statistics, fewer people have died of Covid-19 in the Dominican Republic than in Brazil at 2,542, Colombia at 2,277, Argentina at 2,244, Italy at 2,118, the United Kingdom at 1,887, the United States at 1,878, Spain at 1,735, France at 1,705, Germany 1,094, Russia at 1,027 and Canada at 696, all major markets for Dominican tourism and countries with overall better health systems.
Twelve Covid-related death is recorded for the 19 July 2021 deadline, and six deaths occurred in the previous 24 hours of the deadline. As of the 19 July 2021 deadline, 3,928 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 1.16%. The fatality rate per 1M inhabitants is 375.94. Dominican physicians’ diverse treatment for the disease has been relatively successful in the region. The Ministry of Public Health reports that the country’s 375.94 fatality rate per 1M compares favorably to the average 1M inhabitants’ fatality rate for the Americas at 1,891.60.
The Ministry of Public Health report #488 indicates 26% of Covid-19 hospital beds are occupied (706 of 2,679 total available), down compared to the previous day. 40% of the intensive care units for Covid-19 are taken (252 of 633 beds), down from the day before. 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 #488: 337,975 confirmed cases, 237 new cases reported in the past 24 hours, 53,402 active cases, 12 deaths are reported for the deadline, and six death reported happening in the past 24 hours. The fatality rate per 1M is 375.94.
Bulletin #487: 337,738 confirmed cases, 428 new cases reported in the past 24 hours, 53,581 active cases, one death is reported for the deadline, and one death reported happening in the past 24 hours. The fatality rate per 1M is 374.79.
Bulletin #486: 337,575 confirmed cases, 428 new cases reported in the past 24 hours, 53,945 active cases, one death is reported for the deadline, and one death reported happening in the past 24 hours. The fatality rate per 1M is 374.79.
Bulletin #485: 337,147 confirmed cases, 454 new cases reported in the past 24 hours, 54,525 active cases, five deaths are reported for the deadline, and two deaths reported happening in the past 24 hours. The fatality rate per 1M is 374.69.
Bulletin #484: 336,144 confirmed cases, 549 new cases reported in the past 24 hours, 54,805 active cases, three deaths are reported for the deadline, and three deaths reported happening in the past 24 hours. The fatality rate per 1M is 374.22.
Bulletin #483: 336,144 confirmed cases, 535 new cases reported in the past 24 hours, 54,811 active cases, seven deaths are reported for the deadline, and three deaths reported happening in the past 24 hours. The fatality rate per 1M is 373.93.
Bulletin #482: 335,609 confirmed cases, 530 new cases reported in the past 24 hours, 54,866 active cases, no deaths are reported for the deadline, and no deaths reported happening in the past 24 hours. The fatality rate per 1M is 373.26.
Greater Santo Domingo continues to lead in the number of reported PCR cases. As of 19 July 2021 at 6pm, the deadline for Bulletin #488, the most confirmed cases have been reported in the National District (92,829) and the Santo Domingo province (74,285). The numbers account for 50% of the 337,975 confirmed cases nationwide.
Other provinces are: Santiago (32,551), La Romana (12,495), La Altagracia (11,796), San Cristóbal (11,498), La Vega (11,343), Puerto Plata (8,316), Duarte (7,909), Espaillat (6,642), San Pedro de Macoris (5,632), San Juan de la Maguana (5,423), Barahona (4,638), Azua (4,361), Maria Trinidad Sánchez (3,959), Monseñor Nouel (3,822), Sánchez Ramírez (3,522), Valverde (3,202), Hermanas Mirabal (3,171), Peravia (3,039), Monte Plata (2,070), Baoruco (1,905), Hato Mayor (1,622), Santiago Rodriguez (1,593), Montecristi (1,540), Dajabón (1,456), San José de Ocoa (1,350), Independencia (1,321), El Seibo (1,169), Samaná (1,090), Pedernales (887) and Elías Piña (495) as of the 19 July 2021 deadline.
The Ministry indicates that the newest allocated cases (more than 9) reported for the 19 July 2021 update deadline are: the National District (36) and Santo Domingo province (27) in Greater Santo Domingo. These are record low numbers. Greater Santo Domingo concentrates around 50% of the nationwide spread of the virus.
Haiti reports 19,627 confirmed cases and 512 deaths, for the 19 July 2021 deadline. Haiti has only just begun to start its Covid-19 vaccination program. This was 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. A donation of Moderna vaccines was shipped to Haiti for the start of the vaccination program.
Overall, health experts attribute the general low number of deaths in Haiti (44 per 1M pop compared to 358 per 1M in the DR) as of 19 July 2021 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 14th in confirmed PCR cases after the United States, Brazil, Colombia, Argentina, Mexico, Peru, Canada, Chile, Panama, Ecuador, Bolivia, Uruguay and Costa Rica.
20 July 2021