The country has recorded more than 229,000 COVID-19 cases and more than 10,800 coronavirus-related deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data.
Santa Cruz, Bolivia’s most populous and prosperous region, has registered nearly 80,000 cases and more than 5,000 deaths to date, according to official figures.
Edil Toledo, the acting president of the Santa Cruz Medical College, told Spanish news agency EFE that Santa Cruz “is the epicentre” of the pandemic in Bolivia.
“Every hour there are between 30 to 40 cases. Every hour a patient dies. The situation in Santa Cruz is worrisome,” Toledo said.
With hospitals overwhelmed with patients, Toledo said doctors had met with local officials more than a dozen times to demand more drastic measures to rein in infections – such as imposing stay-at-home orders or halting public transportation – but they failed to reach an agreement.