Colombia reports first death from Brazilian COVID variant

FILE PHOTO: Mass vaccination program for the elderly people, in Bogota

BOGOTA (Reuters) – Colombia confirmed its first death from the P1, or Brazilian, variant of coronavirus, the government said, adding the victim who died in January was older and had various comorbidities.

The P1 variant, which emerged in the Amazon, has driven a second wave of the virus in Brazil’s two most populous cities, Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, which this week moved to tighten measures as their hospitals struggled with cases.

Brazil has registered more than 275,000 deaths from COVID-19, second only to the United States.

“A new case of the P1 variant was detected in an older adult in Bogota with multiple comorbidities who had not traveled. They were hospitalized and died Jan. 28, 2021,” the National Health Institute said in a statement late on Friday.

The World Health Organization has warned Brazil’s outbreak puts neighboring countries such as Colombia at risk.

Colombia first reported cases of the Brazilian variant in January in the Amazon city of Leticia. It halted flights from the city to stop the spread of the variant, but said this week it would restart humanitarian transport under strict rules.

It has also barred flights to and from Brazil.

The government hopes to have administered 1 million doses of COVID vaccines by March 20, just over a month after its rollout began. It has reported 2.29 million infections and nearly 61,000 deaths.

(Reporting by Luis Jaime Acosta; Writing by Julia Symmes Cobb; Editing by Daniel Wallis)

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