Aviso LatAm: COVID-19 December 4, 2021

​​​​​What you should know

  • Omicron: The latest COVID-19 variant spreading across the world. The first detected case of Omicron in the region was in Brazil.
  • 53 percent: The share of Latin American and the Caribbean’s population that has been fully vaccinated, as of November 28.
  • WHO: Amid growing concerns over the omicron variant, the health agency is pushing for a new international agreement on future pandemic preparedness and response.
  • PAHO: Officials reported a 23 percent increase in new COVID-19 cases in the Americas in the last two weeks, mostly in North America.

Vaccination by the numbers

Vaccinations per capita (vaccines administered per 100 people): Cuba (251) #1 worldwide, Chile (215) #3 worldwide, Uruguay (196) #4 worldwide, Argentina (152) #31 worldwide, Brazil (147) #39 worldwide, El Salvador (142) #44 worldwide, Ecuador (142) #46 worldwide, Costa Rica (141) #47 worldwide, Panama (132) #59 worldwide, Dominican Republic (128) #60 worldwide, Peru (126) #68 worldwide, Source: nytimes.com

Percentage of population fully vaccinated: Chile (85) #5 worldwide, Cuba (81) #6 worldwide, Uruguay (77) #18 worldwide, Argentina (66) #42 worldwide, Ecuador (64) #45 worldwide, Costa Rica (64) #48 worldwide, Brazil (63) #49 worldwide, El Salvador (63) #51 worldwide, Panama (57) #64 worldwide, Peru (55) #69 worldwide, Source nytimes.com

Geopolitics of vaccine donations: US vs. China

  • The United States outpaces China in its donations of COVID-19 vaccines to Latin America and the Caribbean, with Colombia and Mexico topping the list. The region has received roughly 52 percent of all US COVID-19 vaccine donations. To learn more, visit our COVID-19 vaccine tracker: Latin America and the Caribbean.

Health + Innovation

  • 4.3 million: The number of students set to return to mandatory in-person schooling in Ecuador; over 72 percent of the population is vaccinated against COVID-19.
  • Trinidad and Tobago: The government announced the end of its COVID-19 state of emergency; still, vaccination coverage reaches only 45 percent of the population.
  • December 1: The day that Colombia and Ecuador reopened their shared border following a 20-month closure amid the pandemic.
  • 200,000: The number of Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccines China donated to Jamaica.
  • Paraguay: President Benitez signed a decree to maintain COVID-19 health measures until December 10 in an effort to curb the spread of the omicron variant.
  • Brazil: As vaccination advances, the rolling 14-day average of COVID-10 deaths fell to below 230 a day, the lowest since April 2020.
  • Mexico: The latest country to consider administering booster vaccine doses against COVID-19, especially for older adults, following an announcement by President Lopez Obrador.
  • Vaccination coverage: Less than 20 percent of people have been fully vaccinated in Guatemala, Jamaica, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines; coverage remains in single digits in Nicaragua and Haiti.
  • Bolivia: Government officials stated that they have finished acquiring the target number of COVID-19 doses and will no longer be purchasing vaccines.
  • Ecuador: To stop the spread of the COVID-19 omicron variant, the foreign ministry announced it would keep its border with Peru closed.

Economies in focus

Economic Impact

  • Mexican inflation surpassed 6 percent as goods’ availability and supply chain bottlenecks translate into higher prices. 
  • Brazilian inflation exceeded 10 percent as the region’s biggest economy struggles with a plunging currency and stalled pandemic recovery. 
  • Colombia faces shortages due to rises in transportation costs, as a container from China that previously cost $2,200 now costs between $20,000 and $22,000.

Economic Recovery

  • At Expo 2020 Dubai, Colombian Minister of Trade, Industry and Tourism José Manuel Restrepo discussed economic activation and increased collaboration with the United Arab Emirates. 
  • Millicom announced a $2.2 billion direct investment in Guatemala in a vote of confidence for the country’s economic recovery. 
  • At their twentieth meeting, the Monitoring Committee of the Caribbean Development and Cooperation Committee discussed financial, technological, and institutional solutions to accelerate economic recovery and resilience.

Social transformations: Investments in digital infrastructure

  • The International Finance Corporation (IFC) announced a $100 million investment in digital infrastructure assets to enhance connectivity in Latin America.
  • Managed by DigitalBridge, $75 million of the IFC funds are committed to Brazilian data centers Scala and Highline do Brasil. 
  • Scala plans to expand to Chile and Mexico and will be the first data center in Latin America to run fully on renewable energy. 
  • Funds will accelerate pandemic recovery by expanding access to digital services such as mobile communications, online medical advice, electronic payments, and online food delivery.