What You Should Know
- One million: On May 21, Latin America and the Caribbean’s COVID-19 death toll surpassed one million. Almost 89 percent of deaths occurred in five countries: Brazil (44 percent), Mexico (22 percent), Colombia (8 percent), Argentina (7 percent) and Peru (7 percent).
- 10 years: The International Monetary Fund said the pandemic will result in a 10-year setback to the income levels of Latin America and the Caribbean.
- Equitable vaccine access: In a joint statement, seven Latin American and Caribbean governments – Argentina, Mexico, Jamaica, Bolivia, Ecuador, Uruguay, and Costa Rica – called on the international community for equitable vaccine access.
- Colombia: In an Atlantic Council event on May 25, Vice-President Marta Lucía Ramírez assured the Colombian government has asked the Biden administration to lend vaccines to Colombia.
By the numbers
- Vaccinations per capita (vaccines administered per 100 people): Chile (93) #6 worldwide, Uruguay (75) #14 worldwide, Barbados (46) #38 worldwide, Dominican Republic (38) #49 worldwide, Brazil (30) #54 worldwide, Costa Rica (29) #57 worldwide, El Salvador (27) #58 worldwide, Argentina (25) #61 worldwide, Saint Lucia (25) #62 worldwide, Panama (22) #66 worldwide, Mexico (21) #67 worldwide, Source: nytimes.com
Health + Innovation
- Vaccine Diplomacy: On May 26, 1.2 million doses of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine arrived in Mexico from the United States.
- Recovery Plan: The International Monetary Fund said a $50 billion recovery plan is needed to bolster the global vaccination program. The plan would be used for additional vaccines, tests, and expanding vaccine production capacity.
- 165 million: China has sent this many vaccine doses to Latin America and the Caribbean. Learn more about Chinese vaccines in the region by revisiting our Monday discussion.
- Moderna: The American pharmaceutical company announced on May 25 that its COVID-19 vaccine is effective in adolescents (aged 12-17).
- Sputnik V: The Russian Direct Investment Fund announced that India will produce 100 million doses of the Russian vaccine annually.
- B 1.617: The COVID-19 variant first detected in India, called B.1.617, has been detected in 10 countries in the Americas.
- Chile: On May 24, the country received 2 million Coronavac doses from China’s Sinovac Biotech pharmaceutical company. The Coronavac vaccine is being used in 10 Latin American and Caribbean countries — click here to see our interactive vaccine tracker which shows the flow of vaccines to the region.
Economies in Focus
- Bolivia reported a 5.3 percent economic growth in April 2021 and a trade surplus. Minister of Economy Marcelo Montenegro credited the measures adopted by the government – the Hunger Bonus, the refund of the RE-IVA (Value Added Tax Cash Reimbursement Regime), and credits for producers – for the nation’s economic rebound.
- Colombia lost its S&P Global investment grade status. Colombian assets have weakened overall in the past month and the country’s dollar bonds are the worst performers in the region after El Salvador.
- On May 25, the World Bank approved a $100 million COVID-19 Response and Recovery Development Policy Loan for The Bahamas. The loan will support the Caribbean country’s efforts to provide COVID-19 relief and accelerate its economic recovery.
- Panama agreed to a loan with the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) for $150 million to contribute to the economic recovery of small and medium-size enterprises (SMEs). This loan is the second part of the “Global Credit Program to Promote the Sustainability and Economic Recovery of Panama,” following a first, $150 million loan in June 2020.
- On May 22, Peru announced a series of economic reactivation programs that will be rolled out starting this week with a particular focus on health insurance accessibility.
Social Transformations: Panama’s Digital Nomad Visa
- Panama created a new visa allowing foreign remote workers with a monthly, foreign-source income of at least $3,000 (or equivalent in other currencies) to stay in the country for up to 18 months.
- This policy aims to position Panama as a leading destination for teleworkers and digital nomads—people who work remotely through telecommunications technology and travel to different locations on a regular basis.
- The Panamanian government sees this visa as an opportunity to revitalize tourism, which accounted for 4.5 percent of GDP prior to the pandemic and generated over 100,000 jobs.