Coronavirus cases in South America have been rising steadily since the first case was confirmed. This has caused most governments to take strict measures to prevent disasters like the ones ravaging Europe. Most of these measures are created in order to prepare the continent for the upcoming winter months when the disease is predicted to gain strength.
As the number of coronavirus cases climbs in South America, most countries are taking strict measures to prevent, or at least slow, the further spread of the disease, especially with an eye to this year’s winter, which could see the virus ravaging the continent the same way it has Europe.
Most of the measures taken consist of closing borders and declaring states of emergency. Measures to control movement and to make government funds available to address the pandemic are critical for residents in the continent who ordinarily lack access to health services.
Bolsonaro Disregards Experts in Brazil
The country with the highest number of confirmed cases currently is Brazil with 200. President Jair Bolsonaro has been criticized for disregarding expert advice and for endangering the health of Brazilians – even going out and joining his followers in a protest that took place on Sunday when his medical team had told him to remain isolated.
The biggest news to come out of the country was when his press secretary tested positive for the virus after a visit to the United States where the two met with U.S. President Donald Trump. After the trip, Bolsonaro tested negative for the virus, but his medical team told him to remain in seven-day isolation as a precaution, which he didn’t do.
Paraguay and Uruguay Prepare for the Worst
Paraguay has eight confirmed cases in the country. As a precaution, it has cancelled classes for two weeks and cancelled all flights from Europe. The government also approved the purchase of US$80 million worth of medical supplies and fixed the prices of articles related to the prevention of the virus, like hand sanitizer, face masks, and gloves.
Uruguay was the last country in South America to have a confirmed case of. As of this writing, it now has eight confirmed cases, but the country has already entered phase three of the pandemic, meaning it can’t trace the disease to foreign origin. The country has taken similar measures to Paraguay, canceling classes, capping prices, and rationing medical supplies so that there is enough for everybody.
Argentina, Ecuador, and Colombia Restrict Entry
Argentina was the first country in the continent to report a death caused by the virus. At the moment, it has 56 confirmed cases and two deaths. It has closed its borders until the end of the month and suspended all flights coming from Asia and Europe, and it is deporting all tourists not complying with its 14-day quarantine. Argentina has also cancelled all mass events.
Ecuador has 58 confirmed cases and two deaths. President Lenín Moreno took similar measures to Argentina, restricting entry into the country, promoting work-from-home arrangements, and encouraging churches to hold mass online. Moreno has also threatened repercussions if these instructions are not followed.
Colombia has 54 confirmed cases. President Iván Duque has closed the borders until the end of the month, including the ports, where many cruise ships dock. As Colombia has been the country hardest hit by the virus-related stock market, the government is also implementing measures to cushion the financial blow. These include lowering taxes and making it easier for tourism and aviation companies to obtain loans.
Peru and Venezuela Take Drastic Measures
The country that could be the worst hit by the virus is Venezuela, due to its ongoing humanitarian crisis. The government has canceled all incoming flights from Europe and imposed a collective quarantine in Caracas and in six other states.
Because of these measures, all classes are cancelled as are any sports events that are taking place in the country. This also means that people won’t be allowed to move freely around the city. The only exceptions are health workers, food distributors, and security personnel. As of this writing, there are 17 confirmed cases in the country.
Peru became the first country in South America to declare a state of emergency as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. This measure will last for 15 days and it includes closing down all of its borders (land crossings, ports, etc.), the clo: hsure of all non-essential commercial establishments, as well as the cancellation of all events in the private and public sector.
Peru will also enforce social distancing for its 32 million residents. The only ones allowed to be out on the streets will be those in need of essentials (groceries, medicine, etc.). The army will help reinforce those measures.
As of this writing, Peru has 86 confirmed cases and no reported deaths.