While some Latin American countries are stepping up restrictions against the spread of the novel coronavirus, others are beginning to relax confinement measures in order to reactivate their economies and begin the transition to a "new normal."
Carissa Etienne, director of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), urged countries of the Americas on Tuesday to "be cautious" with the de-escalation of measures to contain the spread of the coronavirus, warning that transmission is still very high in the United States, Canada, Brazil, Ecuador, Peru, Chile and Mexico.
"Reducing the restrictions too soon could accelerate the spread of the virus and open the door to a dramatic increase," Etienne said during a video conference with journalists
"Brazil has rejuvenated COVID-19," reads an article in the local newspaper O Globo, referring to a study indicating that most people in the country infected with the coronavirus are 20-49 years old.
According to the COVID-19 Brazil website, 43% of the coronavirus cases have been among people 30-49 years old in the city of Rio de Janeiro.
The construction sector in Uruguay was reopened in mid-April with no evident increase in positive cases. Last week, workers were randomly tested, and the results were mostly negative. The construction industry employs 100,000 people, from architects to bricklayers, which has led President Luis Lacalle Pou to start planning the gradual resumption of various economic and social activities while at the same time ensuring that health indicators do not deteriorate.
The country, which has a population of around 3.4 million, took a different stance on mandatory quarantines. The Uruguayan president's strategy has been to fine-tune the balance between maintaining a healthy population and a stable economy, avoiding mandatory quarantines and appealing to the responsibility of the population. So far, he has obtained good results with 657 cases and 17 deaths.
The Undersecretary of Prevention and Health Promotion, Hugo Lopez-Gatell Ramirez, reported that based on mathematical projections, there will be around 6,000 deaths from the coronavirus in Mexico.
"On the mortality estimate, yes, it is still the one we have projected. Now as you could see, we have 2,271 people who have lost their lives due to COVID-19, and we are close to the midpoint of the epidemic curve. In the descent of the curve, we can have the others -- more or less 2,000 or 3,000 -- and with that we would have almost 6,000," he said Monday at a conference.
Mexico reported 24,905 cases and 2,271 deaths as of Tuesday.
The number of coronavirus cases in Ecuador surpassed 30,000 at a time when the government launched a plan to relax the quarantine imposed since mid-March.
The country confirmed 31,881 infections and 1,569 deaths.
Guatemalan officials said Monday they would begin accepting US deportation flights again only if all passengers test negative for the coronavirus. The country stopped receiving flights two weeks ago after many passengers turned out to be infected.
According to the Guatemalan Foreign Ministry, 117 deportees on four flights coming from the US had tested positive for the virus, accounting for more than 15% of all infections in the country, which reported 730 cases and 19 deaths.
As of Tuesday, the Dominican Republic reported 8,480 confirmed cases, 354 deaths and 1,905 recoveries.
A total of 7,387 cases of the coronavirus were registered in Panama and the number of deaths has risen to 203.
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