What you should know
- Hospital Capacity: On January 7, Brazil surpassed 200,000 COVID-19 deaths, the second highest death toll after the United States (381,000). A state of emergency was declared in the city of Manaus, where private hospital intensive care unit beds were at 100 percent capacity the first week of January, and public hospital beds were at 92 percent capacity.
- Vaccine Multilateralism: Colombian President Iván Duque called on the international community to help low-income countries secure COVID-19 vaccines. “The only way the world can have herd immunity is once we have all gone through a massive universal and equitable process of vaccination”, President Duque told Reuters. Colombia has thus far secured enough doses to inoculate 29 million people.
- COVID-19 Variants: Eight countries in the Americas have reported the detection of two COVID-19 variants associated with increased transmission in the United Kingdom and in South Africa: Brazil, Canada, Chile, Ecuador, Jamaica, Mexico, Peru, and the United States. PAHO reports the variants have higher transmissibility but no changes in the severity of the disease.
- 91 million: The total number of global COVID-19 cases. Here are this week’s figures.
Health + Innovation
- Mexico: Talks are underway with Russia to acquire 24 million doses of the Sputnik V vaccine. The first batch of AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine doses produced in Argentina arrived in Mexico on January 12. Argentina and Mexico signed an agreement to produce and distribute the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine in Latin America.
- Brazil: A Brazilian plane flew to India on January 13 to pick up 2 million doses of the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine manufactured by the Serum Institute of India. The vaccine cannot be distributed until approved by health regulator Anvisa, which is scheduled to decide on the emergency use of the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine as well as the one developed by Sinovac on January 17. As well, Brazil’s private sector vaccine clinics association is in talks to acquire a COVID-19 vaccine developed by India’s Bharat Biotech. A new COVID-19 variant was detected in northern Brazil, with the UK announcing a new travel ban on Brazil, Portugal, and other South American countries over fear of the new variant.
- Ecuador: Vaccinations will begin on January 18 with 50,000 doses, the first batch of the 2 million doses that will be supplied by Pfizer-BioNTech.
- China’s Sinovac vaccine, Coronavac, was found to be 50.4 percent effective in Brazilian clinical trials.
Economies in focus
- The International Transport Association expects international travel to Mexico will not recover until 2024.
- Ford will close its three plants in Brazil as a result of the pandemic; vehicle sales fell 26 percent in Brazil in 2020.
- Mazda Mexico increased production by 51 percent as the company’s new car sales rose 5 percent in 2020, despite plant closures in April and May.
- Mexico’s economy is expected to grow 3.5 percent this year, although the recovery will depend on government spending, according to Moody’s.
- As a result of the region’s weakened fiscal strength, Moody’s has assigned a negative credit outlook for Latin America and the Caribbean in 2021.
Economic Aid Programs
- IDB Invest signed a $20 million equity commitment in the HMC Andean Private Debt Investment Fund to support growth and reopening plans of medium-sized companies in Peru, Chile, and Colombia.
Quarantine + Travel Restrictions
Quarantine and Reopening Plans
- Authorities in Havana, Cuba, closed public spaces and suspended interprovincial travel and cultural activities following a spike in COVID-19 cases.
- On February 8, Argentina issued a decree permitting and encouraging provinces to restrict movement of people and nighttime activities.
- Honduras announced a curfew from 9:00 p.m. until 5:00 a.m. and closed bars, clubs, and convention centers.
- Local authorities in Ecuador announced greater restrictions in several municipalities after detecting the more contagious COVID-19 strain.
International Travel Restrictions
- Beginning January 26, the United States will require a negative PCR test performed no more than 72 hours in advance for all international travelers.
- On January 13, Ecuador began requiring all passengers to present negative PCR tests conducted no more than 10 days ahead of arrival.
- As of January 9, only Argentine citizens and residents are permitted to enter the country; they must present a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of the flight.
In Focus: Capitol Insurrection and Latin America
- The world watched in horror as violent protestors stormed the US Capitol Building on January 6, with world leaders expressing strong condemnation.
- “We reject the acts of violence presented today during the Electoral College vote count ceremony in the US Congress and I express my solidarity and support to the honorable members of Congress and all institutions,” tweeted President Duque.
- Chilean President Sebastián Piñera also denounced the rioters. “Chile rejects the actions destined to alter the democratic process in the US and condemns violence and improper interference of the constitutional institutions.”
- The aftermath of the insurrection could be particularly harmful throughout Latin America, “where the devastation of the pandemic, dire economic straits and the growing impact of climate change have shaken public confidence”, writes Adrienne Arsht Latin America Center Director Jason Marczak.
By the numbers
- Cases by country: Brazil (8,195,637) #3 worldwide, Colombia (1,816,082) #11 worldwide, Argentina (1,744,704) #12 worldwide, Mexico (1,556,028) #13 worldwide, Peru (1,040,231) #18 worldwide, Panama (285,093) #41 worldwide, Ecuador (224,315) #47 worldwide, Dominican Republic (186,383) #52 worldwide, Costa Rica (181,093) #54 worldwide, Bolivia (176,761) #55 worldwide, Source: worldometers.info
- Prevalence rate (total cases per million people): Panama (65,536) #9 worldwide, Aruba (57,510) #14 worldwide, Argentina (38,415) #33 worldwide, Brazil (38,411) #34 worldwide, Colombia (35,490) #43 worldwide, Costa Rica (35,377) #44 worldwide, Chile (33,979) #45 worldwide, Peru (31,317) #51 worldwide, Belize (28,12) #55 worldwide, Saint Martin (26,271) #61 worldwide, Source: worldometers.info
- Deaths per capita (deaths per million people): Peru (1,156) #13 worldwide, Panama (1,048) #19 worldwide, Mexico (1,046) #20 worldwide, Argentina (987) #22 worldwide, Brazil (960) #25 worldwide, Colombia (914) #26 worldwide, Chile (896) #27 worldwide, Bolivia (804) #3 worldwide, Ecuador (800) #34 worldwide, Belize (690) #39 worldwide, Source: worldometers.info