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  • A grave digger in Vila Formosa cemetery, the largest in Latin America.

    A grave digger in Vila Formosa cemetery, the largest in Latin America. | Photo: EFE

Published 9 June 2020
Opinion

Over the last few hours, five of 10 countries with the highest number of COVID-19 cases were located in this region

Latin America has become COVID-19 pandemic epicenter, World Health Organization (WHO) Emergencies Programme Executive Director Michael Ryan informed during a media briefing on Tuesday.

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"What we are seeing, with some notable exceptions, is a trend of cases to increase, from Mexico to Chile. This is a time of great concern, and it is a time when we need strong government leadership as well as great solidarity with the region to control this disease. It's not just one country, but many countries that are facing severe outbreaks," he warned.

According to Ryan, the Americas holds five of the ten countries with the highest number of COVID-19 cases over the past 24 hours: Brazil, the United States, Peru, Chile, and Mexico.

He also referred to the pressure health systems in the region are exposed to, something that, along with the contagion increase puts the WHO in the most delicate situation this health body has faced since the pandemic outbreak.

"I would certainly characterize that Central and South America, in particular, have very much become the intense zones of transmission for this virus as we speak, and I don't believe that we have reached the peak in that transmission. And at this point, I cannot predict when we will," he said.

Despite this, Ryan assured that Central and South America have a long and successful history when it comes to fighting for health. "What we want to see is governments working together to once again demonstrate to the world the capabilities that these countries have, as well as their ability to work individually and cooperatively to end infectious diseases," he said.

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