Aviso LatAm: COVID-19 August 5, 2021

​​​​​What you should know

  • Vaccines: On July 26, COVAX and the World Bank announced a plan to accelerate COVID-19 vaccine supply for developing countries. The new mechanism builds on the Gavi COVAX Advance Market Commitment (AMC) cost-sharing arrangement.
  • Peru: On July 28, Pedro Castillo, a former schoolteacher, was sworn in as Peru’s new president. Vaccination will be a priority as he inherits a country with the world’s highest COVID death rate per capita.
  • 1.26 million: Last week saw over 1.26 million new COVID-19 cases and nearly 29,000 deaths reported in the region.
  • Jabs: As of last week, around 16.6 percent of Latin America and the Caribbean’s population was fully vaccinated. 
  • Cuba: The White House announced additional Cuba sanctions on July 30. This latest action comes following protests over hunger, human rights violations, the economy, and coronavirus crisis that has resulted in hundreds of detentions.

By the numbers

  • Vaccinations per capita (vaccines administered per 100 people): Chile (124) #4 worldwide, Uruguay (120) #7 worldwide, Dominican Vaccinations per capita (vaccines administered per 100 people): Uruguay (139) #4 worldwide, Chile (135) #6 worldwide, Dominican Republic (95) #39 worldwide, Cuba (89) #42 worldwide, Argentina (73) #53 worldwide, El Salvador (69) #57 worldwide, Costa Rica (68) #60 worldwide, Brazil (68) #61 worldwide,  Ecuador (68) #62 worldwide, Panama (66) #63 worldwide, Barbados (61) #64 worldwide, Source: nytimes.com

Health + Innovation

  • Bharat BioTech: The Indian manufacturer of the Covaxin vaccine, announced on July 23 the termination of its contract with Precisa Medicamentos of Brazil. 
  • More Vaccines: In the last two weeksthe US shared 3.5 million doses of the Moderna vaccine with Argentina; 500,000 Moderna doses with Haiti; 500,000 Pfizer doses with Costa Rica; 1 million Johnson & Johnson doses with Bolivia; and 1.5 million Moderna doses with Guatemala
  • Brazil: Health regulator, Anivsa, authorized trials for a third – or booster – dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine. 
  • Peru: The Ministry of Health announced it signed an agreement with the Russian Direct Investment Fund for 20 million doses of its Sputnik V vaccine. 
  • Lambda: The highly transmissible variant is responsible for more than 90 percent of new infections in Peru and thirty percent in Chile. 

Economies in focus

Economic impact

  • BHP Group Ltd.–an Australian mining, metals, and petroleum company–expects the operating environment for its Chilean copper business to remain challenging due to rising COVID-19 infections, with reductions in its on-site workforce forecast to continue into their 2022 fiscal year.

Economic recovery

  • Morgan Stanley Capital International’s (MSCI) index of Latin American currencies rose1.6 percent–set for its best session in twelve weeks–as rising COVID-19 cases weighed on economic recovery and triggered a sell-off in risk assets across the globe.
  • As of July 29, Brazil’s real jumped one percent, extending gains to a fourth straight session against the dollar, and hitting a two-week high.
  • Mexico’s national statistics agency published a preliminary estimate on July 19 showing that the Mexican economy grew by 14.7 percent in June year-on-year as the country bounced back from the pandemic-induced economic crisis.
  • The Bank of Mexico raised its growth forecast, expecting GDP to expand by 6 percent in 2021, higher than the 4.8 percent expected in March. 
  • Peru’s sol rose 0.3 percent as copper prices steadied, erasing session losses spurred by uncertainties around the country’s future trajectory. The sol had fallen to 3.96 to the dollar as then-President-elect Castillo had pledged to redraft the constitution and hike taxes on mining firms. 

Multilateral analysis & support

  • The IMF’s latest World Economic Outlook casts optimism in Latin America and Caribbean countries as the organization raised its estimate for GDP growth in the region to 5.8 percent for 2021 and 3.2 percent for 2022. Previous IMF forecasts published in April signaled 4.6 percent growth for 2021 and 3.1 percent for 2022.
  • A new policy brief published by the International Labor Organization (ILO) shows that fewer women than men will regain employment during post-pandemic recovery. According to the brief, there will be 13 million fewer women employed in 2021 compared to 2019, while men’s employment levels will recover to those of 2019.

Social transformations: Boosting the region’s digital access

  • Currently, less than 50 percent of Latin America and the Caribbean’s population has fixed broadband connectivity. But regional governments could improve access and affordability through streamlined regulations, fiscal incentives, and skill upgrading.
  • On July 15, Ericsson and Millicom-TIGO announced a partnership to close the digital divide in Latin America, with a project aimed at extending network coverage to an additional 2.5 million people in Bolivia, Paraguay, and Honduras.
  • The three-year project will invest $135 million on a network upgrade in Latin America and will also pave the way for 5G development across the region.