Wednesday 22 September 2021

Latin America exceeds 25 million infections in unstoppable advance virus

Records of daily infections, as in Peru, or deaths, as in Uruguay, continue to raise alarms on the continent, where restrictions have multiplied

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Q REPORTS – Latin America surpassed 25 million infections of covid-19 this Friday amid an alarming advance of the pandemic that forces to increase restrictions in several countries and try to speed up vaccination.

A nurse prepares a dose of China’s Sinovac CoronaVac vaccine, produced by Butantan, Brazil’s largest vaccine producer, at a covid-19 vaccination center, set up in the Public Planetarium of Rio de Janeiro. Photograph: AFP

According to an AFP report with official data, the region also registered more than 788,000 deaths from the new coronavirus.

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Records of daily infections, as in Peru, or deaths, as in Uruguay, continue to raise alarms on the continent, where restrictions have multiplied. Chile, for example, will close borders from Monday (April 5).

The hope lies in vaccination, which is progressing at a different rate from country to country.

An example of the inequalities in the campaigns around the world is the successful process in the United States, which has already vaccinated some 100 million people with at least one dose, according to CDC data released this Friday.

“More than one in five adults is already fully vaccinated,” said Rochelle Walensky, director of the CDC.

U.S. President Joe Biden, who promised last week that 90% of adults would be able to receive vaccines before April 19, nevertheless asked again “not to lower our guard”, to “finish this work” against the pandemic.

In the country with the most deaths in the world, authorities said that those vaccinated can travel again with precautions, although those arriving from abroad must present a negative PCR or antigen test.

Situation by country

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In Chile, which has already vaccinated 24% of the target population with two doses and is progressing faster than any in Latin America, the worst numbers of infections since the start of the pandemic have been recorded in recent days.

Against this background, authorities announced Thursday that they will close the borders starting Monday, April 5 for the total month. In total, the country reported 1,019,478 infections and 23,524 deaths (April 3) in a population of 19.2 million.

Another that accounts for the worsening of the situation is Ecuador, where a state of emergency was declared for 30 days in several provinces, in the face of pronounced increases in infections.

These new infections are due in part to new variants of the virus, which affect sectors of the population that have so far been more preserved and aggravate the symptoms of some patients, as they are more virulent, according to the government.

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The second round of the presidential elections on April 11 will continue, with health security measures strengthened. In total, Ecuador reports 332,038 confirmed infections and 16,910 deaths in a population of 17.8 million.

For its part, Uruguay, until recently considered an example in the management of covid-19, registered 35 deaths from this disease on Thursday, a daily record. The country reports 1,041 deaths and 111,568 confirmed infections that continue to increase, in a population of 3.48 million.

However, the government advocates for “responsible freedom,” while resisting pressure from opponents to impose restrictions. Almost 20% of the population has already been inoculated with the first or second dose of CoronaVac or Pfizer.

In many countries in the region, there are cases of the Brazilian variant of the coronavirus, the so-called P1, which is believed to be more contagious.

In Brazil, among the states that apply sanitary measures, Rio de Janeiro announced on Friday a partial extension of the restrictions, initially planned until Sunday. For example, non-essential commerce, bars and restaurants, cinemas, museums and theaters will not be able to operate again until next Friday.

Brazil, with 8% of it citizens vaccinated with first dose and 2.3% with a second, is second to the U.S. with 12,912,379 confirmed infections and 328,366 deaths in a population of 213.69 million.

Analysts attribute this slowness to the delay of the government of President Jair Bolsonaro, who for months minimized the severity of the disease, in reaching agreements with pharmaceutical companies.

Bolivia ordered, for its part, the preventive closure of its border with Brazil, a jungle territory of about 3,400 km, from Friday for a week. Bolivia reports 273,947 confirmed infections, and 12,305 deaths in a population of 11.79 million.

Argentina received one million doses of Sinopharm on Thursday. The country reports 2,373,153 confirmed infections and 56,023 deaths in a population of 45.5 million.

In Colombia, the country reports 2,428,048 confirmed infections and 63,777 deaths in a population of 51.2 million.

This Friday, the Chinese laboratory Sinovac announced that it doubled the production capacity of its CoronaVac vaccine, to 2 billion doses per year. The drug is already applied in 20 countries.

The director of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), Carissa Etienne, pointed out this week that there are not enough vaccines in the region to stop the active outbreaks and advocated prevention.

“Now we don’t have enough vaccines to stop active outbreaks,” she noted.

 

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Reports by QCR staff

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