Authorize use of chlorine dioxide to treat Covid-19 in Bolivia

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Authorize use of chlorine dioxide to treat Covid-19 in Bolivia




A vendor offers chlorine dioxide in a market in the Bolivian capital. Photo Ap


© Provided by La Jornada
A vendor offers chlorine dioxide in a market in the Bolivian capital. Photo Ap


The Bolivian legislature approved a controversial law that authorizes the use of chlorine dioxide as a treatment against Covid-19, although it remains to be seen whether the government of interim president Jeanine Áñez will put it into effect amid a deep power struggle in the Andean country.

Shortly before approval, the Minister of the Presidency, Yerko Núñez, announced that the government will analyze the legality of the regulation and will consult experts before the possibility of promulgating it. However, the mere fact of debating the initiative in the legislature opened the sale of the product, even with offers even on social networks.

Senator Milton Barónes, who is one of the promoters of the law and a member of the Movement for Socialism (MAS) —the party of exiled former president Evo Morales— explained that the use of chlorine dioxide “is subject to the decision of the citizen or citizen who wants to go to that alternative”.

“It’s not mandatory”, Barónes stressed before the rejection that the norm unleashed in doctors and scientific organizations in the country.

The norm states that “citizens … may use the Chlorine Dioxide Solution, as an alternative means, to prevent or treat infection and the consequences caused by the coronavirus,” indicates a Senate bulletin.

He adds that the purchase of the product will not require a prescription and that its application must be done “under the informed consent of the patient.”

The legislators took into account testimonies from people who say they have beaten the contagion with the product and advice from some convinced doctors.

The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have advised against the use of the compound due to the lack of scientific evidence.

The Áñez administration has opposed that initiative, so it was not clear whether the president will enact the rule or leave it in limbo.

In recent months the Executive did not enact laws approved by the Legislative, most of which are controlled by the MAS. In turn, legislators refuse to ratify international credits demanded by the government, including one from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) intended to combat the new coronavirus pandemic.

The power struggle deepened the country’s political crisis and threatens to worsen the health emergency. Unions related to Morales have maintained roadblocks in much of the country since Monday in rejection of the postponement of the presidential elections until October 18.

However, on Saturday afternoon the dialogue seemed to break through. The Movement to Socialism (MAS), Morales’s party, agreed to negotiate the suspension of the protests, while President Áñez called for a dialogue with unions, political parties and the Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE) to find a way out of the conflict which has put the oxygen supply to hospitals at risk due to roadblocks for five days.

Bolivia reported 87,891 positive cases of coronavirus and 3,524 deaths as of Saturday.

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