Puerto Rico battles COVID-19 surge, imposes new measures

Puerto Rico is imposing new measures to combat a surge in COVID-19 circumstances that has overwhelmed medical employees within the U.S. territory and led to short-term shortages of testing kits

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — Puerto Rico on Tuesday imposed new measures to combat a surge in COVID-19 circumstances that has overwhelmed medical employees within the U.S. territory and led to short-term shortages of testing kits.

All personal businesses that cater to the general public should shut from midnight to five a.m., no alcohol can be bought throughout these hours and gatherings of greater than 250 individuals are banned. The measures will stay in place till Jan. 18 and are available because the island of three.3 million individuals experiences a greater than 30% positivity charge, the very best for the reason that pandemic started.

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The authorities has reported greater than 201,000 confirmed circumstances and greater than 3,300 deaths. Officials be aware {that a} third of all circumstances reported for the reason that pandemic started have occurred prior to now month, with many linked to a two-day outside live performance held in December. The variety of day by day circumstances per 100,000 reported in Puerto Rico rose from three to 225 in simply three weeks, based on statistician Rafael Irizarry. More than 500 individuals are hospitalized.

Almost 85% of individuals in Puerto Rico have obtained the primary dose and greater than 70% have obtained the second. However, at the least 40% haven’t obtained a booster shot.

The improve in circumstances has induced short-term shortages of house testing kits, with individuals taking to social media to share locations the place they’ve run out or are nonetheless obtainable, whereas some government-run testing websites have closed early after exhausting testing kits for the day. Meanwhile, the Association of Hospitals of Puerto Rico urged individuals to cease visiting emergency rooms to request assessments as a result of the demand was overwhelming and stopping employees from treating pressing circumstances.

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In addition, the federal government just lately required that every one cruise ship passengers who disembark should be absolutely vaccinated and supply a damaging check taken 48 hours previous to arrival, a transfer that induced a number of cruise ship corporations to cancel visits to Puerto Rico.

Last month, Pierluisi introduced that every one these flying from the U.S. mainland to Puerto Rico should current a damaging check taken 48 hours prior no matter their vaccination standing. Passengers missing a check should take one inside 48 hours of arrival or face a heavy high-quality, whereas those that should not vaccinated should stay in quarantine for seven days no matter whether or not they check damaging.

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On Monday, the University of Puerto Rico, the island’s largest public college, introduced it will provide courses online for all of January given the rise in circumstances.

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