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  • Over 50 million people live in Central America and most of them are poor.

    Over 50 million people live in Central America and most of them are poor. | Photo: EFE/ Bienvenido Velasco

Published 14 August 2020
Opinion

The latest data from PAHO points out at Panama has the second-highest contagion rate in the Americas, surpassed only by Chile.  

Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) authorities warned on Friday that there is a resurgence of the COVID-19 pandemic in Central America amid the efforts to de-escalate restrictions measures in several countries.

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During the last two months, there has been an increment in deaths and infections in Panama, Costa Rica, Guatemala; El Salvador; Honduras, and Nicaragua, taking into account official data from these countries.

"Central America is in community transmission. In general terms, we are in an active phase. None of the countries can say with certainty that it has reached the peak, or that it is in decline or control of the pandemic," PAHO representative in Panama Gerardo Alfaro explained to news agency EFE.

The latest data from PAHO points out at Panama with the second-highest contagion rate in the Americas, surpassed only by Chile. The Central American country reports 1.760,6 people infected per 100.000 inhabitants. Panama's infection rate is also superior to the average in the region, 1.020,6 per 100.000 inhabitants. 

Over 50 million people live in Central America, most of them in poor conditions, so the countries' attempts to resume the business activity by de-escalating restrictions have bounced with more COVID-19 cases, which has forced governments to halt the reopening.

On the other hand, the organization alerts that proper vaccination is decreasing in the Americas over fears of exposure to the virus. 

Information from 23 countries "shows a 12-14% decrease in the number of doses of the vaccines against diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis (DTP), and measles, mumps, and rubella ( SRP) administered to children, compared to the same period in 2019," PAHO explains.

However, the organization urges governments to prioritize these campaigns despite the COVID-19 crisis. "We are adjusting our cooperation plan for the next 12 months because although we have good news in terms of vaccines, from here, it will take 10-12 months for our countries to have at least 70 percent of their population vaccinated and protected," the PAHO official said.

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