Q24N – El Salvador’s health minister, Francisco Alabi, on Saturday said it had confirmed its first coronavirus infection caused by the highly transmissible delta variant, with the country’s president warning that the true number of cases of the strain could already be much higher.
President Nayib Bukele retweeted the news, noting that the infection did not appear to come from abroad and that the delta variant could have already circulated among local communities.
El primer caso confirmado no viene del extranjero, por lo que es evidente que la variante Delta debe tener varios días de circulación comunitaria en nuestro país.
Podrían ser ya cientos de casos. https://t.co/6DwocrZCnq
— Nayib Bukele 🇸🇻 (@nayibbukele) July 31, 2021
“It could already be hundreds of cases,” he added.
As of Friday, July 30, 2021, El Salvador reported 86,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 2,600 fatalities due to the virus.
El Salvador has largely relied on donations of vaccines from other countries to vaccinate its population of approximately 6.5 million people.
El Salvador has received about 8.5 million doses of the vaccines made by AstraZeneca, Pfizer, Sinovac through purchases and 3 million doses of the Moderna vaccine from the United State through the COVAX global vaccination initiative.
Another one million doses came from a donation from the Chinese company Sinopharm which Health Minister Alabi during a local TV interview said would lead the country to “exceed 9.5 million vaccines”.
World Health Organization (WHO) epidemiologist Maria Van Kerkhove said Friday that the delta strain was “dangerous and the most transmissible SARS-CoV-2 virus to date.”
The WHO has classified delta as one of its four “variants of concern,” along with the alpha, beta and gamma. Four others have been labeled variants of interest.
The delta variant has now been detected in at least 132 countries across the world, according to the global health body.