Before the first case was detected in Bolivia, the government announced that an Emergency Operating Committee had been formed, including officials from the World Health Organization and different ministries and specialized health organizations. Measures implemented with the Pan American Health Organization included support for the implementation of detailed procedures in a guide to the surveillance of unusual respiratory incidents.
The Ministry of Health set up free hotlines at 800-10-1104 and 800-10-1106 to inform people about symptoms and allow them to ask questions about the virus.
On March 17, PresidentJeanine Añez announced the following measures, to be in effect from March 19 to 31:
Closure of all borders.
Entry into Bolivia allowed only for Bolivian nationals and residents, who must follow protocols stipulated by the Ministry of Health and the World Health Organization.
All international flights suspended.
Interdepartmental and interprovincial land transport suspended. Only merchandise can be transported.
On March 17, the minister of the presidency, Yerko Núñez, declared a public health emergency and arranged a series of quarantine measures, which would be implemented in the entire country until March 31.
Supreme Decree 4196 indicates:
The Ministry of Labor will, exceptionally, regulate granting of special licenses to protect people with underlying diseases, older adults of age sixty or above, pregnant people, and people under five years old if their parent or guardian has a special license.
From midnight (00:00) on 20 March to 31 March the country's borders are closed.
From midnight (00:00) on 21 March international flights are suspended, as are land, river, and lake passenger transportation.
Effective 18 March the workday for all sectors is from 9:00 to 13:00. Markets and supermarkets are to open 8:00 to 15:00.
Public and private transportation is to operate 5:00 to 18:00.
Social sporting, religious, and other activities and gatherings are prohibited.
Those who violate the decree may be arrested for eight hours.
Decree 4199 - Nationwide quarantine
A nationwide quarantine is in effect from 22 March at midnight (00:00) for 14 days, with the goal of slowing the spread of the virus in the country, under the following orders:
Markets and supply centers will continue to operate every morning until midday, so that one person from each family can get supplies.
Factories and transportation serving basic grocery needs will continue functioning normally. The banking system, pharmacies, and hospitals will continue to attend to the needs of the population.
People may leave their houses if they need medical attention.
Private and public transport is suspended. Permits will be provided to transport workers whose companies must continue working and for people who work in healthcare, water, electricity, and gas services, among others.
Electricity prices are reduced. It is prohibited to cut off water, gas, or internet during the quarantine. Tax and loan payments will be eased.
On 12 March, the government announced seven measures to slow the spread of the disease, including the suspension of educational activities until March 21 in schools and universities and the suspension of flights to and from Europe starting March 14.
As a result of the six confirmed cases, the city of Oruro declared a 14-day quarantine beginning on 16 March. The same day, the government announced that there would be criminal punishments for anyone who sabotaged healthcare, due to incidents of blocking access to healthcare centers for suspected or confirmed COVID-19 patients. In the city of La Paz, arrests were made of people engaged in price gouging of medical products.
Starting March 16, the departments of Oruro, Potosí, Cochabamba, and Chuquisaca implemented measures to restrict movement, initially to last until March 31, while Tarija prohibited public trips between departments.
On 17 March, Interim President Áñez announced the closure of Bolivia's borders to all foreign nationals - effective as of 19 March. Additionally, as of 20 March, all international flights will be suspended, and domestic travel between departments and provinces will be prohibited.
On 20 March, the government of Santa Cruz declared a quarantine for Porongo, starting at noon and lasting 14 days. The minister of health did not rule out taking measures with greater impact in the coming days.
On 21 March, the government announced a 14-day nationwide quarantine, taking effect on 22 March at midnight and ending on 5 April at midnight.
On 23 March, Interim President Jeanine Añez released a statement at 13:00 local time confirming the extreme quarantine measures and requesting the support and understanding of the population. She also took the opportunity to commemorate the 141st anniversary of the loss of the Litoral Department and with it Bolivia's sovereign access to the Pacific Ocean. Añez confirmed the government's unwavering aspiration to recover its sovereign access to the sea.
On 25 March, Interim President Áñez declared a public health emergency in the country and completely locked down its borders, with nobody allowed to enter or leave except for health or safety reasons. This will be in effect until 15 April.
On 01 April, Interim President Áñez announced the following measures:
From April 3, the 'family basket' of Bs. 400 will be paid in cash through banks. The beneficiaries are those who receive only dignity income, but do not receive retirement or other income, the beneficiaries of the Juana Azurduy voucher and people with disabilities.
In the second week of April, the 'family voucher' of Bs. 500 will be awarded, for families who have children in kindergarten, pre-kindergarten and primary school in fiscal schools.
The price of household gas will be reduced by 50%.
The postponement of the payment of taxes and credits is ratified, as well as the discounts in the payment of other basic services.
March 10: The minister of health, Aníbal Cruz, confirmed the first two cases of COVID-19 in Bolivia. The patients had previously been in Italy and had passed through security without showing symptoms at Viru Viru International Airport in the city of Santa Cruz. The two cases were a 64-year-old woman from San Carlos, Santa Cruz Department, who entered the country on February 29, and a 60-year-old woman who was detected in the city of Oruro. This patient was placed in quarantine in her home with other family members after the case was confirmed.
March 13: Seven more cases were confirmed, bringing the total to 10. All of the individuals had contact with one of the two infected patients that were originally diagnosed on 10 March. Of the seven cases, six were located in Oruro, with the seventh coming from the central region of Cochabamba.
March 14: The minister of health confirmed local transmission upon the identification of six new cases in the city of Oruro and one in Cochabamba..
March 15: A new case was confirmed in the city of Santa Cruz; the patient had come from Spain, making this the third imported case in Bolivia. The total number of confirmed cases was 11.
March 17: Another case was announced in the city of Santa Cruz, a patient who had recently been to Spain, for a total of 12 confirmed cases in the country.
March 19: In the morning, the health minister Aníbal Cruz, reported three new cases of contagion, two of them imported and one local. Until then, there were 15 confirmed cases of Coronavirus. After 22:00 on the same day, the Secretary of Health of the Santa Cruz Governorate, Óscar Urenda, confirmed two new positive cases, bringing the number of people infected in the department of Santa Cruz to six . Ending the day with a total of 17 confirmed cases in Bolivia . The chronological summary of the 5 new cases of COVID-19 infection is summarized below:
The first confirmed case in the department of La Paz, is a 31-year-old woman who arrived from Madrid, Spain.
The second case detected in the city of Cochabamba, corresponds to a female person, who came on a trip from Villazón, probably acquiring the disease in Argentina
The eighth case in the city of Oruro, corresponds to a 24-year-old woman, infected with the zero patient detected days ago.
Two cases detected simultaneously in the municipality of Porongo, both male. They correspond to a person who came from Spain, who had contact with relatives and close people, thus infecting one of his relatives.
March 20: There are 19 confirmed cases in the country, adding 3 new cases in the department of Santa Cruz, corresponds to 2 female patients, one 44, which is an imported case of Brazil, and another patient 28, who is the wife of one of the infected.
March 21: A new confirmed case is reported in the city of Santa Cruz, of a person, who recently arrived from the United States and decided to isolate himself in quarantine, thus amounting to 20 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Bolivia.On March 12, at night, the mayor of Oruro Saúl Aguilar, declared the first movement restriction measure to be applied mainly in the municipality and in coordination with the Oruro department government, began with the isolation of 300 000 inhabitants of the urban area. After confirming the 7 infected with patient zero in the city of Oruro.
March 22: During the first day of total quarantine in the country, the Minister of Health confirms 7 new cases of coronavirus, these are imported and locally transmitted cases. Adding a total of 27 cases of COVID-19 in Bolivia, among which were 4 new cases in the department of Santa Cruz. Corresponds to a patient who arrived from London . The other detected patient had contact with an infected patient from the Porongo municipality, and finally the other two infected patients are by local contact in the city of Santa Cruz. In the night hours there are 3 new cases, two of them are also in Santa Cruz. The first patient is a 36-year-old woman from Madrid, Spain . The second infected patient is a 69-year-old woman, who was infected by her daughter from Brazil . The third person infected is a 61-year-old man from Cochabamba, whose contagion comes from direct and local contact, which took place in a marriage, with an infected person who came from Spain.
March 23: A new case is registered in the city of Santa Cruz, it is a 58-year-old woman who arrived in the Santa Cruz municipality from Switzerland, with a stopover in Brazil . It increases to 28 cases in total.
March 24: During the night, it increases to a total of 32 cases of infection in the country. The Minister of Health, Aníbal Cruz, updates the data with 4 new confirmed cases of COVID-19. Of which are:
A 55-year-old woman and a 54-year-old man, both inhabitants of the city of Santa Cruz, who acquired the contagion through local contact.
A 56-year-old man from the city of La Paz, who contracted the disease, with his nephew who came from Germany .
A 68-year-old male of Italian nationality, from a flight from New York to Colombia, whose case was detected in the municipality of Copacabana . This is the first case of a foreigner with coronavirus within national territory
March 25: Increases in 7 new cases, rising to 39 confirmed cases in the country. The new infected patients are: 6 Patients in the department of Santa Cruz, 3 for local infection and 3 for imported infection, correspond to: A 67-year-old man from the municipality of Vallegrande, of whom 10 close contacts were identified, who were quarantined. A 56-year-old woman, locally contagious, a 31-year-old woman who contracted the disease in the department of Cochabamba, a 51-year-old man who came from the United States, a 41-year-old woman who came from Barcelona, a woman from 26 years, who came from Madrid. and a patient in the department of La Paz, who corresponds to a 67-year-old man of local contagion.
March 26: 22 new cases of COVID-19 are confirmed, totaling 61 cases in Bolivia, with the first confirmed case in Chuquisaca department.
March 27: Increase in 13 new confirmed cases of COVID-19, for a total of 74 cases in Bolivia, with the first confirmed case in Potosi department.
March 28: Increase of 7 in confirmed cases, making a total of 81 cases of COVID-19 in the country, with the first confirmed case in Pando department.
March 29: Increase in 15 new confirmed cases, adding a total of 96 nationwide. The first 3 deaths reported from COVID-19 who were belongs to above 70 age group.
March 30: 11 new confirmed cases, for a total of 107 cases in Bolivia, with the first confirmed case in Tarija department. Three new deaths reported, making a total of 6 deaths in the country,
March 31: 8 new confirmed cases, bringing the nationwide total to 115. Fourth death reported in Santa Cruz department and seventh in the country. The victim is a 67-year-old woman, who would have contracted COVID-19 through local contagion.
April 1: 8 new confirmed cases, 121 nationwide. Fifth death reported in Santa Cruz, seventh in the country. The victim was 50-years-old man who had basic heart disease.
Regional distribution of cases
2020 coronavirus pandemic in Bolivia by department (
Graphical summary of the timeline of COVID-19 confirmed new cases in Bolivia by department
A sixty-five-year-old woman in Oruro was one of the first patients known to be infected with the coronavirus. Six other infected patients in Oruro and one in Cochabamba, as confirmed through tests by 12 March, were in contact with her. This was the first known instance of local transmission in Bolivia. The city and department began mandatory social distancing measures on 16 March. A further 65 contacts and family members of those were infected were confined to their homes, but showed no symptoms of the disease. As of 25 March, the first Oruro patient was no longer showing symptoms and had test negative for the disease twice; doctors expect her to be declared Bolivia's first recovered COVID-19 patient.
The first case to be tested positive in Potosí was announced on 25 March. Regional health authoriities that this patient is a 69-year-old woman. She was infected by her son, a transport driver who had recently been in Chile. The driver had not disclosed his symptoms and was, according to the health authorities, treated privately by family members who are physicians.
Impacts and incidents
Following the announcement of the first confirmed case, incidents were reported among the local population, including large-scale purchasing of surgical masks and hand sanitizer, blocking access to hospitals, and protests.
On 19 March a patient under observation who was required to stay in isolation tried to escape but was caught when he tried to take a trip between departments.