The Ministry of Public Health’s Epidemiology Department Coronavirus Bulletin #448 reports 1,141 new PCR cases for the Wednesday, 9 June 2021 deadline. There is a spike of Covid-19 cases attributed to the entry of the more transmissible Brazilian and UK variants of the original Chinese coronavirus and the increased mixing of young 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 1,207, down from the previous day.
As per Bulletin #448, with the deadline of 9 June 2021, the Ministry of Public Health has registered 305,569 confirmed cases since the first case on 1 March 2020. Labs carried out 5,608 first-time PCR tests. This number of PCR tests compares with the 14-day average now at 5,427, down from the previous day.
The national 4-week positivity rate is 17.42%, up from the previous day. The 24-hour positivity for the day is 20.35%, down from the day before.
The number of reported active Covid-cases increased to 52,908, (+270), up from 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 in Phase III, open to persons 18+ as of 10 May 2021. On 9 June 2021, the Health Cabinet announced that the National Vaccination Plan is giving priority to those who require the second dose of the vaccine. Those requiring a first dose need to await for new shipments to arrive. The Dominican Republic is only behind Chile, USA, Uruguay and Canada in vaccinated per 100,000 inhabitants. As of February, there has been a consistent arrival of vaccines to continue with the National Vaccination Plan as scheduled.
As of the 9 June 2021 deadline, the University of Virginia Covid-19 Surveillance Dashboard indicates that 4,091,884 persons have received at least one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine in the Dominican Republic and 1,564,664 persons had received two doses, around 20% of the target population over 18 years old. Health experts insist that sufficient immunity is not acquired until two weeks after the person has received the second dose.
VacunateRD reports 4,212,646 first doses of the vaccine and 1,687,954 second doses for the close of 9 June 2021 vaccination day. This means 120,762 doses were applied on 9 June 2021. The government aspires to maintain a pace of 100,000+ vaccinations a day.
The government seeks to vaccinate 7.8 million people of the population of 10.8 million. In addition, there are plans to add those 12-18 years of age to the vaccination campaign once the Pfizer shipment of vaccines arrives. It also seems that the Sinovac stock of vaccines will be able to be used, now that the government of China in the first week of June 2021 cleared the vaccines for use in children as young as three years of age.
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. 95% of those vaccinated in the Dominican Republic as of 8 June 2021 had 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.
The Presidency announced on 31 May 2021 new restrictive measures to reduce the new spread of Covid-19 in the country. Most of the country’s major tourism destinations (Puerto Plata, Punta Cana, La Vega and Samaná) are exempt from the new restrictions in Decree 349-21. The measures began Wednesday, 2 June through Wednesday, 9 June 2021 and were extended by Decree 364-21 for another week, or to Wednesday, 16 June 2021.
The decrees order a curfew of Monday to Friday from 6pm to 5am and Saturdays and Sundays from 3pm to 5am. This is two hours more than the curfew that had already been recently lowered to 8pm. The three-hour free circulation period continues. The government has also ordered dry law (ban on sale and consumption of alcoholic beverages) is daily from 3pm a 5am.
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.
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.
The intention is to reduce mobility and people mixing when new highly transmissible variants of the virus are in circulation.
The government is reaching out to densely populated areas and opening new vaccine centers. Major businesses are offering discounts to those who can present proof of receiving the second dose of the vaccine. Baseball stadiums are offering winter professional baseball team promotional gifts to those vaccinated at the ballparks.
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 shutdown of the bilateral markets with Haiti from Wednesday, 2 June to Wednesday, 16 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.
The Dominican government has also contracted vaccines with UK manufacturers of Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, Pfizer-BioNTech and others, 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 6,646,400 vaccine doses, of which 95% have come from China – 6,268,000 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.
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 9 June 2021 deadline, Worldometer lists the 1M deaths per inhabitant rate for the Dominican Republic at 337. According to the same 1M deaths statistics, fewer people have died of Covid-19 in the Dominican Republic than in Brazil at 2,242, Italy at 2,101, the United Kingdom at 1,874, the United States at 1,844, Argentina at 1,827, Colombia at 1,819, Spain at 1,720, France at 1,686, Germany 1,074, Russia at 858 and Canada at 679, all major markets for Dominican tourism and countries with overall better health systems.
Nine Covid-related new deaths are recorded for the 9 June 2021 deadline, and three deaths occurred in the previous 24 hours of the deadline. As of the 9 June 2021 deadline, 3,695 persons are reported to have died of the disease in the Dominican Republic, a nation of more than 10.8 million people since March 2020. The fatality rate is at 1.21%. The fatality rate per 1M inhabitants is 353.64. Dominican physicians’ diverse treatment for the disease has been relatively successful in the region. The Ministry of Public Health reports that the country’s 353.64 fatality rate per 1M compares favorably to the average 1M inhabitants’ fatality rate for the Americas at 1,740.04.
The Ministry of Public Health report #448 indicates 51% of Covid-19 hospital beds are occupied (1,364 of 2,677 total available), down from 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. 74% of the intensive care units for Covid-19 are taken (456 of 615 beds), down from the day before. These numbers reflect the new spike in cases that began in early May with the reduction in circulation restrictions. 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 #448: 305,569 confirmed cases, 1,440 new cases reported in the past 24 hours, 52,908 active cases, 9 deaths are reported for the deadline, and three reported happening in the past 24 hours. The fatality rate per 1M is 353.64.
Bulletin #447: 304,428 confirmed cases, 1,440 new cases reported in the past 24 hours, 52,638 active cases, 14 deaths are reported for the deadline, and one reported happening in the past 24 hours. The fatality rate per 1M is 352.78.
Bulletin #446: 302,988 confirmed cases, 1,004 new cases reported in the past 24 hours, 52,054 active cases, 17 deaths are reported for the deadline, and none reported happening in the past 24 hours. The fatality rate per 1M is 351.44.
Bulletin #445: 301,984 confirmed cases, 906 new cases reported in the past 24 hours, 52,113 active cases, two deaths are reported for the deadline, and two reported happening in the past 24 hours. The fatality rate per 1M is 349.81.
Bulletin #444: 301,078 confirmed cases, 1,397 new cases reported in the past 24 hours, 52,234 active cases, two deaths are reported for the deadline, and two reported happening in the past 24 hours. The fatality rate per 1M is 349.72.
Bulletin #443: 299,681 confirmed cases, 1,267 new cases reported in the past 24 hours, 51,785 active cases, four deaths are reported for the deadline, and none reported happening in the past 24 hours. The fatality rate per 1M is 349.52.
Bulletin #442: 298,414 confirmed cases, 1,295 new cases reported in the past 24 hours, 51,076 active cases, four deaths are reported for the deadline, and none reported happening in the past 24 hours. The fatality rate per 1M is 348.95.
Greater Santo Domingo continues to lead in the number of reported PCR cases. As of 9 June 2021 at 6pm, the deadline for Bulletin #448, the most confirmed cases have been reported in the National District (86,931) and the Santo Domingo province (67,261). The numbers account for 50% of the 305,569 confirmed cases nationwide.
Other provinces are: Santiago (30,391), La Romana (11,672), La Vega (10,557), La Altagracia (10,541), San Cristóbal (10,060), Puerto Plata (7,893), Duarte (7,148), Espaillat (5,659), San Pedro de Macoris (4,715), San Juan de la Maguana (4,624), Barahona (3,793), Azua (3,710), Monseñor Nouel (3,600), Maria Trinidad Sánchez (3,344), Sánchez Ramírez (3,237), Valverde (2,902), Peravia (2,820), Hermanas Mirabal (2,748), Baoruco (1,668), Monte Plata (1,613), Montecristi (1,417), Santiago Rodriguez (1,370), Dajabón (1,277), Independencia (1,203), Hato Mayor (1,126), El Seibo (1,036), San José de Ocoa (996), Samaná (948), Pedernales (791) and Elías Piña (439) as of the 9 June 2021 deadline.
The Ministry indicates that the newest allocated cases (more than 9) reported for 9 June 2021 update deadline are: the National District (228) and Santo Domingo province (252) in Greater Santo Domingo, reflecting the spike in cases in the capital city area. Greater Santo Domingo concentrates around 50% of the nationwide spread of the virus.
Haiti reports 15,908 confirmed cases and 333 deaths, for the 9 June 2021 deadline, a significant increase. There is a spike in Haiti likewise attributed to the new variants. Haiti is the only country in the Western Hemisphere to not start its vaccine program. This happened when the Haitian government rejected a first donation of Covax facility shipment 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 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.
9 June 2021