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Bolivian Sex Workers Urged to Wear See-Through ‘Biosecurity Suits’ to Prevent COVID-19 Infection

© AP Photo / Dita AlangkaraIn this Thursday, June 19, 2014 photo, a sex worker checks her smartphone as she and others wait for customers in a brothel at Dolly prostitution complex in Surabaya, Indonesia.
In this Thursday, June 19, 2014 photo, a sex worker checks her smartphone as she and others wait for customers in a brothel at Dolly prostitution complex in Surabaya, Indonesia. - Sputnik International
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Sex workers in the Bolivian city of La Paz are preparing for a new normal amid the COVID-19 pandemic with equipment such as bottles of bleach, gloves and see-through raincoats, which will all help them work safely.

According to a report by Reuters, a 30-page coronavirus security manual has been written by the Organization of Night Workers in Bolivia (OTN), with guidelines on how to operate during the pandemic. The see-through raincoats, or so-called “biosecurity suits,” are one of the recommendations for sex workers seeking to resume work during the pandemic. 

"The biosecurity suit will allow us to work and protect ourselves," a Bolivian sex worker, identified only as Antonieta, told Reuters last week.

Another sex worker, identified as Vanesa, told Reuters that she needs to work to pay for her two children’s education. She also noted that the guidelines in the OTN coronavirus security manual should ensure that both workers and clients remain healthy.

"Our clients respect the issue of safety, that we are taking these measures for our security, but also for theirs," she told Reuters.

In March, Lily Cortes, a representative of Bolivia's sex workers union, also told Reuters that some women may be forced to work on the streets if they cannot resume normal work in brothels. While prostitution is legal in Bolivia, procuring it is not. 

The latest data by Worldometer shows that more than 50,000 cases of the novel coronavirus have been confirmed in the country, and almost 1,900 people have died as a result. 

Last week, Bolivian President Jeanine Anez tested positive for COVID-19. At least seven other officials in the country, including its health minister, have also tested positive for the virus.

Although the World Health Organization has said that - based on current knowledge - COVID-19 cannot be sexually transmitted, patient resources published in the Annals of Internal Medicine journal in May by Harvard University researchers suggested that sexual partners who are not quarantining together should wear face masks that cover their noses and mouths during sex. The Harvard guide also advised couples not to kiss on the mouth, so as to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

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