Aviso LatAm: COVID-19 October 29

What you should know

  • Costa Rican President Carlos Alvarado renewed calls for a global economic recovery plan during his inauguration as president pro tempore of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean. The plan would channel $516 billion toward developing countries. 
  • Regional employment contracted more strongly than GDP in the second quarter. From April to June employment declined by at least 20 percent in the region’s five largest economies (Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, and Peru), according to the IMF’s new Regional Economic Outlook.
  • For the first time in months, Europe reported more new COVID-19 cases than Latin America and the Caribbean. Here are the latest figures from the region.

Quarantine + reopening plans

As COVID-19 becomes part of normal life, countries are shifting their focus to international trade and commerce.

  • Argentina extended nationwide quarantine and other preventative measures by another 14 days in several provinces and in the metropolitan area of Buenos Aires. 
  • Mexico City Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum said private and public cemeteries would remain closed throughout Mexico’s Day of the Dead celebrations on November 1 and 2. 
  • On October 26, Trinidad and Tobago allowed public servants to return to office and opened gyms, cinemas, and churches with some restrictions, but kept bars and restaurants closed.  
  • After seven months of closure, Machu Picchu – Peru’s #1 tourist destination – will reopen with limited capacity on October 31. Approximately 675 visitors per day are expected; each will undergo temperature checks and be required to wear masks.

International travel restrictions

  • Aruban authorities announced the country will reopen its border to tourists from Mexico, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, and Haiti on December 1. 
  • Colombian President Iván Duque announced the country is in talks with the Ecuadorian government to reopen the shared border on November 1. 
  • Uruguayan President Luis Lacalle Pou announced the Punta del Este beach community will remain closed to international travelers this summer, despite the country’s comparatively low number of COVID-19 cases. 
  • On October 24, Argentine Minister of Tourism and Sport Matías Lammens said borders will reopen to all neighboring countries beginning on November 2. 
  • On October 23, Panama reopened its land border with Costa Rica. Drivers from Costa Rica are no longer required to transfer cargo at the border to Panamanian drivers.  
  • Antigua and Barbuda announced additional measures to detect imported cases in an attempt to curb the spread of COVID-19. Measures include requiring passengers to present a negative PCR test conducted within a week before arrival.    

Economies in focus

Economic impact 

  • The region’s dollar-denominated debt rose by 5 percent year on year. Globally, dollar-denominated debt in emerging markets has risen past $4 trillion for the first time.  
  • Mexican exports increased by nearly 4 percent in September year on year, ending a six-month decline. 
  • Costa Rican exports rose by 5 percent in September year on year. 
  • The Nicaraguan Central Bank reported public debt surpassed $7.5 billion at the end of June. The country has not received funding from the Inter-American Development Bank or the World Bank over the past two years due to US sanctions. 
  • The IMF concluded that increased public spending among governments has prevented the region’s GDP from declining an additional 5 to 6 percent.

Economic relief

  • The Bolivian Senate ratified a proposed law allocating $704 million from the IDB and the World Bank for subsidies.
  • The IDB approved a $30 million loan to the Brazilian state of Espírito Santo to support the financial sustainability of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs).

Resilience, recovery + renewal

Baker McKenzie’s Resilience, Recovery, and Renewal model is helping organizations navigate the business and legal impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Beyond COVID-19 Resource Center offers real-time legal and regulatory updates, tracking risks and opportunities across business functions, industries and geographies. Baker McKenzie’s Government Intervention Schemes Guide provides a summary of key government intervention measures across jurisdictions around the globe in relation to foreign investment restrictions, debt, equity, and taxation. 

To find out how businesses are navigating the shifting landscape of global trade wars and government interventions as well as investment and financing trends, check out the latest episode of Baker McKenzie’s Resilience, Recovery & Renewal Podcast Series.

Health + innovation

  • On October 27, Ecuadorian Vice Minister of Health Xavier Solorzano said Ecuador will need about $150 million to purchase COVID-19 vaccines and immunize 60 percent of its population.
  • Martha Delgado, Undersecretary for Multilateral Affairs and Human Rights at the Mexican Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said Mexico will host human trials for seven COVID-19 vaccines. According to Delgado, this move will help to ensure that Mexico secures sufficient vaccine doses from pharmaceutical companies. 
  • On October 24, São Paulo Governor João Doria announced the creation of six testing centers for a vaccine developed by the Butantan Institute in partnership with Chinese pharmaceutical giant Sinovac. 
  • Peru will not sign a COVID-19 vaccine purchase with AstraZeneca, due to its concern that the company has not provided sufficient data from its studies.  
  • In addition to committing $213 million to the global COVAX initiative, Colombia plans to spend about $78 million on vaccine transport, information campaigns, warehouse expansions, and personnel, once a vaccine proves effective.

Country Focus

  • Bolivia: Foreign Minister Karen Longaric said former President Evo Morales will be invited to the inauguration of President-elect Luis Arce on November 8. Morales has been in exile since last year.
  • Colombia: On October 24, Colombia surpassed 1 million COVID-19 cases, becoming the eighth country worldwide – and third in the region – to hit the grim marker. Peru and Mexico are expected to reach 1 million cases in coming weeks. The day before, the government announced that Vice President Marta Lucia Ramirez had tested positive for COVID-19. 
  • Costa Rica: Tourism Minister Gustavo Segura announced the country is evaluating the ease of regulations to allow longer stays for tourists working remotely. 
  • Mexico: While Mexico’s official COVID-19 death toll stands around 88,000, the government conceded the virus may have killed around 140,000 people.

By the numbers (continued)

  • Cases by country: Brazil (5,440,9030) #3 worldwide, Argentina (1,116,609) #7 worldwide, Colombia (1,033,218) #8 worldwide, Mexico (901,268) #10 worldwide, Peru (892,497) #11 worldwide, Chile (505,530) #15 worldwide, Ecuador (163,192) #33, Panama (130,422) #28 worldwide, Dominican Republic (125,008) #41 worldwide, Guatemala (106,320) #47 worldwide, Source: worldmeters.info
  • Prevalence rate (total cases per million people): Aruba (41,501) #4 worldwide, Panama (30,075) #8 worldwide, Peru (26,948) #14 worldwide, Chile (26,372) #16 worldwide, Brazil (25,538) #17 worldwide, Argentina (24,633) #20 worldwide, Costa Rica (20,614) #25 worldwide, Colombia (20,236) #27 worldwide, Bahamas (16,483) #34 worldwide, Saint Martin (14,559) #38 worldwide, Source: worldmeters.info
  • Deaths per capita (deaths per million people): Peru (1,034) #2 worldwide, Brazil (742) #6 worldwide, Bolivia (740) #7 worldwide, Chile (732) #8 worldwide, Ecuador (710) #9 worldwide, Mexico (694) #11 worldwide, Argentina (656) #13 worldwide, Panama (611) #15 worldwide, Colombia (599) #16 worldwide, Bahamas (345) #29 worldwide, Source: worldmeters.info

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