Updates on Coronavirus

  • July 22, 21 - 3:57 pm - LABS

    Chile allows travel abroad after COVID-19 infections drop

    Chile announced on Thursday that, starting on July 26, it will allow Chileans and foreigners residing in the country to travel abroad if they have completed their vaccination program. Chile is by far the leader in vaccination against COVID-19 in Latin America.

    In early July, the government relaxed some restrictions thanks to the massive and rapid vaccination plan that has already reached more than 13 of the 19 million inhabitants with at least one dose of the vaccines applied in the South American country.

    Those returning from abroad must undergo a strict 10-day quarantine at home, in addition to tests to detect possible contagion.

    Authorities reiterated that they will tighten border controls as long as fears exist for the spread of the Delta variant of the virus.

  • July 21, 21 - 3:47 pm - Reuters

    Chile approves emergency use of Sputnik-V vaccine against coronavirus

    Chile‘s Public Health Institute has approved the emergency use of the Russian Sputnik-V vaccine against COVID-19, adding to the country’s already comprehensive immunization program, the institute said in a statement.

    One of the institute’s experts voted against the approval and two abstained, calling for more information on the effectiveness of the formula developed by Russia’s Gamaleya Institute. Five members of the committee convened by the institute voted for approval.

    “We approve the use of the Sputnik-V vaccine in Chile,” Heriberto García, the institute’s president, said in a statement. The committee evaluated data from Chile and also from Mexico and Argentina, where the Russian vaccine is also applied, he said.

    García said that no major side effects of Sputnik-V have been observed. So far, the country has applied at least one dose to 13 million people in its population of 19 million from an arsenal that includes vaccines from Pfizer, AstraZeneca, and Sinovac.

  • July 18, 21 - 10:58 am - Reuters

    Brazil registers 868 new COVID-19 deaths and the total goes to 541,266

    Brazil on Saturday registered 868 new deaths from COVID-19, bringing the total number of deaths from the disease in the country to 541,266, Brazil‘s Health Ministry said.

    There were also 34,339 new cases of coronavirus, with the total number of infections in the country advancing to 19,342,448, it added.

    The ministry’s website, however, shows zero new cases and new deaths in São Paulo state on Saturday, indicating that there has been no update to São Paulo data. São Paulo is the state with the highest number of cumulative cases and deaths in the country.

    Brazil is the second country with the highest number of deaths from COVID-19, after the United States, and the third in cases, after the U.S. and India.

    Brazil‘s government reports 17,983,275 people recovered from COVID-19 and 817,907 patients in follow-up.

  • July 16, 21 - 9:16 am - LABS

    U.S to send 3.5 million Moderna vaccine doses to Argentina

    The United States will begin shipping 3.5 million doses of Moderna‘s COVID-19 vaccine to Argentina on Friday as part of a bilateral agreement between the countries, a White House official said, reported Reuters.

    Recently, the U.S. has distributed vaccines to Taiwan, Brazil, El Salvador, Bangladesh, Peru, and Pakistan, among other countries. The White House also said it will also share more vaccines with Haiti, a day after the country received 500,000 doses donated by Washington.

    As reported by Reuters, President Biden also said he is willing to send vaccines to Cuba if he is assured that an international organization will administer them.

  • July 15, 21 - 1:18 pm - Reuters

    Argentina surpasses 100,000 COVID-19 deaths

    Argentina has been one of the hardest-hit countries in Latin America in terms of cases and deaths per capita, with 4.7 million infections and a total of deaths from COVID-19, that surpassed 100,000 on Wednesday.

    Average daily cases have fallen from last month’s peak and the occupancy rate of ICU beds is also declining, although it still exceeds 60% nationally.

    “Every life that’s gone is a great grief to me,” President Alberto Fernández said in a speech last week. “I guarantee that we will not stop in these months to vaccinate every Argentine.”

    While developed countries like the United States have reduced deaths with rapid immunization programs, others in South America lead the rankings of daily deaths and cases per capita, with vaccine distribution hampered by low supply.

    Argentina, a country with about 45 million people, applied 25.7 million doses of vaccine, although only 5 million have received the two doses, mostly from the Russian Sputnik V, AstraZeneca, and Sinopharm, from China.

    The distribution of vaccines is raising hopes that the country will be able to control the pandemic, but the more dangerous Delta variant is causing a spike in cases even in countries with high vaccination rates, such as Israel, causing them to rethink their campaigns.

    The pandemic intensifies an economic crisis already underway in Argentina, which has been essentially stuck in a recession since 2018, with runaway inflation, tight capital controls, and a weak currency causing a flight of dollars.

  • July 09, 21 - 8:44 am - Reuters

    Argentina to close deal with Moderna for COVID-19 vaccine

    Argentina announced on Thursday that it will sign a COVID-19 vaccine supply agreement with Moderna, as the country tries to speed up the immunization of its population and prevent a possible coronavirus‘ third wave.

    Cabinet chief Santiago Cafiero told Congress that the agreement with the US company will be signed on Monday, but did not detail the number of doses being purchased or agreed delivery dates.

    Until now, Argentina has largely based its COVID-19 vaccination program around the Sputnik V, Sinopharm, and AstraZeneca vaccines. The country has vaccinated 23.7 million of its 45 million population with at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine and 4.9 million people have received both doses.

    As of Wednesday, Argentina has recorded 4.6 million cases and 97,000 deaths from COVID-19. The country is currently seeing a decline in cases after a second wave triggered new restrictions.

    (Translated by LABS)

  • July 08, 21 - 4:27 pm - Reuters

    JPMorgan says Colombia, Peru among most vulnerable economies to Delta variant

    Economies of the Philippines, Peru, Colombia, South Africa and Thailand are among the most vulnerable to the COVID-19 Delta variant within emerging markets, mostly due to low vaccination rates, a JPMorgan analysis found on Thursday.

    The analysis looks at spread of the virus’ Delta variant versus the pace of vaccination, which in some countries is not accelerating enough to offset higher rates of transmission.

    Even if the Delta variant is shown to result in lower hospitalization and death rates, the report said, pressure on healthcare systems and a higher absolute number of deaths could occur, likely raising pressure on some governments to extend or re-impose mobility restrictions.

    A separate note from Oxford Economics showed strong economic activity rebounds in Latin America on the back of gains in mobility.

    The JPMorgan analysis said vaccination thresholds for getting mobility back to normal vary by country, so the results are best taken as relative performance from country to country.

    “The model estimates suggest that the Philippines, Peru, South Africa, Thailand, and Colombia face the longest journeys back to pre-pandemic levels of mobility, while Singapore, Turkey, India and Brazil have the shortest journeys.”

    In Latin America, authorities have been less likely to re-impose or lengthen mobility restrictions, the report said.

    “While the region has shown surprising resilience in the face of the virus and other headwinds, downside risks to growth could still manifest through the impact of worsening public health on confidence even if the uptrend in mobility remains in place.”

  • July 07, 21 - 9:25 am - Reuters

    Conmebol to donate 20,000 doses of CoronaVac vaccine to Brazil

    The South American Soccer Confederation (Conmebol) will donate 20,000 doses of Chinese Sinovac‘s COVID-19 vaccine CoronaVac to Brazil, the sports entity said.

    The announcement comes amid the Copa America being held in Brazil. The final of the tournament between the national teams of Brazil and Argentina is scheduled for Saturday at the Rio’s Maracanã stadium.

    The staging of the competition was threatened after Argentina and Colombia, who were going to jointly host the event, withdrew from holding it. Colombia argued the strong social tensions it was experiencing, while Argentina said it could not host the tournament because of the COVID-19 pandemic situation in the country.

    Faced with the impasse, the government of Brazil‘s President Jair Bolsonaro and the Brazilian Soccer Confederation (CBF) made Brazil available to host Copa America, despite the country having the most serious COVID-19 picture in South America and the second-highest number of deaths from the disease in the world, after the U.S.

    According to Conmebol, the donation of the vaccine doses will be materialized in the coming days.

    “With this gesture of solidarity with the Brazilian people, Conmebol seeks to make a recognition to the country that hosts the Copa America 2021,” the entity said in a statement.

    Conmebol received in April this year a donation of 50,000 doses of the Chinese immunizer and in May began a campaign to vaccinate players, coaches, referees, and assistants.

    Of the 20,000 doses that will be donated, Conmebol estimates that 5,000 will be distributed for soccer sector and the rest will go to the Brazilian government.

    (Translated by LABS)

  • July 06, 21 - 9:36 am - LABS

    Brazil extends emergency aid payments until October

    Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro extended emergency aid for three months. The emergency aid program (created to mitigate pandemic losses in 2020), which varies from BRL 150 ($29,37) to BRL 375 ($73,41) and would end in July, was extended until October.

    In October, the government hopes that the entire adult population will be at least partly vaccinated against COVID-19, which would allow a “safe return to work”, according to the Economy Minister Paulo Guedes, reported G1.

    The financial aid has been distributed in Brazil‘s state-owned bank Caixa mobile app.

  • July 04, 21 - 5:52 pm - LABS

    Private vaccination, by companies, begins in Colombia

    Through the “Empresas por la vacunación” (Companies for vaccination) initiative, 2.5 million vaccines from the Sinovac laboratory were purchased through the National Business Association of Colombia, Andi.

    Telefónica was the first company to start the process.

    Rappi also joined Andi initiative. It said the vaccination process will be carried out under the guidelines given by Colombia’s government. “We are participating in a mechanism that seeks to add more people and strengthen the National Vaccination System together with the strength and capacity of each of the companies. Initially, we are distributing 2,000 vaccines”, it told LABS.

    Despite the controversial story about vaccination priorities for the best couriers – the so-called Rappitenderos – Rappi stated that there are no such thing as better couriers based on the number of orders.

    It said “the model is made so that people with different interests can connect according to their availability, in the circumstances of mode, time, and place that they determine. For this reason, from the beginning, in the announcement, it was specified that priority will be given to those distributors who are not included in the National Vaccination Plan at the moment, meaning those under 40 years old who do not have associated diseases.”

    Rappi said that because of this, vaccination priority will be given to those couriers who have historically been connected to Rappi for the longest time, on the understanding that they are those who are most at risk of COVID-19 infection and who are not yet part of the national vaccination plan.

    Rappi said that because of this, vaccination priority will be given to those couriers who have historically been connected to Rappi for the longest time, on the understanding that they are those who are most at risk of COVID-19 infection and who are not yet part of the national vaccination plan.

    “Since the beginning of COVID-19, at Rappi, we have taken different measures such as the provision of masks, antibacterial gel, cleaning centers, and other measures that we have taken throughout this pandemic for the benefit of their safety and that of the entire ecosystem. For our employees, since the beginning of the pandemic, we implemented the Work From Anywhere policy to promote staying at home.”

    In Bogotá alone, more than 200,000 employees will be vaccinated in what businessmen call a complementary vaccination program. In total, 32 unions and 5,000 companies joined this public-private alliance to purchase 2.5 million vaccines. This means that 1.25 million people will be immunized through the initiative.

    After vaccinating their employees, companies are thinking about acquiring new doses to immunize their staff’s families.

    Private vaccination initiatives have been the target of controversial debates in Latin America. While in Mexico and Colombia, this is already a possibility, in Brazil, it is still debated when companies could contribute to the national immunization program. For now, by law, any vaccine purchased by Brazilian companies will be required and used by the federal government.

    But that could change once the country has immunized at least 50% of the population. Currently, only 16.8% of the Brazilian adult population received the two doses of vaccine against COVID-19.

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