Doctors on strike in Bolivia to force coronavirus lockdown

La Paz (AFP) –


Health care workers in Bolivia's region worst hit by the coronavirus pandemic began a 48-hour strike on Tuesday to demand a lockdown to battle the rise in infections.

Emergency services and hospitals attending Covid-19 patients are not striking but all other specialist medical care has been suspended, said Luis Aguilera, the region's medical college president.

"Our leaders have not listened to the request to reduce the Covid-19 epidemiological curve," said Aguilera, who is demanding a region-wide lockdown.

He complained that current restrictions weren't working "because the people don't want to change their behavior, they're not respecting the rules."

Hundreds of health care workers took to the streets to demand action.

There are fears that measures such as the use of face masks, washing of hands and social distancing are become less frequent.

Santa Cruz is the most populous and prosperous region in Bolivia. Despite it having the largest number of coronavirus cases and deaths in the country, its economic activity, businesses and public transport remain almost fully open.

Bolivia has recorded almost 230,000 cases and more than 10,800 deaths from Covid-19 amongst its 11.5 million population.

Santa Cruz has registered almost 80,000 cases and more than 5,000 deaths.