Americas, Latest on coronavirus outbreak

Latin America seeks access to COVID-19 treatments

Countries in region rush to ensure they are not left behind

20.08.2020
Latin America seeks access to COVID-19 treatments Intensive Care Unit at a hospital in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil ( Fabio Alarico Teixeira - Anadolu Agency )

BOGOTA, Colombia 

Latin America now has over 6.3 million coronavirus cases, with Brazil accounting for more than half the total, while the number of fatalities in the region from COVID-19 has surpassed 245,000.   

And as the race to develop a COVID-19 vaccine gathers pace in the world, Latin America does not want to trail behind. Four potential treatments will be tested in Brazil in hope of ending the pandemic, and Mexico is eager to access a Russian vaccine.  

Brazil

Brazil, which has the world’s worst coronavirus outbreak after the US, reported 49,298 new cases and 1,212 deaths from the disease caused by the virus in the past 24 hours, health authorities said Wednesday.

The number of people diagnosed with COVID-19 in the South American country now exceeds 3.4 million and nearly 110,000 people have died, according to Johns Hopkins University.

A medicine to treat people infected with COVID-19 developed by US pharmaceutical company Sorrento Therapeutics will be tested on patients in Rio de Janeiro, city officials announced Wednesday.

Due to widespread contagion in the country, a robust medical manufacturing infrastructure and thousands of volunteers for clinical trials, Brazil has emerged as a potentially vital player in the global race to end the pandemic with treatments and vaccines.

Mexico

Mexico is after the Russian coronavirus vaccine, Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard said Wednesday.

“I thank Russian Ambassador Victor K. Koronelli for his visit to the Mexican Secretariat of Foreign Affairs. We discussed the Sputnik 5 vaccine. I extended to him our interest in applying phase 3 in order to have the vaccine available in Mexico as soon as possible,” Ebrard said on Twitter.

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said earlier this week that he would volunteer to be among the first to try the Russian vaccine if it proved effective in the country, which has reported 531,239 COVID-19 cases and more than 57,000 deaths.

Peru

Peru’s Medical Federation (FMP) on Monday announced a 48-hour national strike to demand greater investment in the health sector at a time when the country is reporting a surge of COVID-19 cases.

The FMP asked for better working conditions and salary improvement as more of their colleagues have become infected with the coronavirus.

The number of cases in Peru rose to 549,321 and the death toll reached 26,658 as of Wednesday.

Colombia

Colombia neared 500,000 confirmed coronavirus cases Wednesday as deaths climbed toward 16,000.

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