Latin America Death Toll From Virus Tops 15,000

Latin America

MONTEVIDEO (AFP) — More than 15,000 people have been killed by the novel coronavirus in Latin America and the Caribbean as of 0230 GMT Wednesday, according to an AFP tally based on official reports.
Across the region more than 282,000 COVID-19 cases have been officially reported.
Topping the death toll list is Brazil, with 7,921 fatalities and 114,715 cases; followed by Mexico with 2,271 fatalities and Ecuador with 1,569 deaths.
Experts believe that the pandemic will peak in Latin America in the coming days.
Several countries, including Ecuador, Colombia and the Dominican Republic, have extended their lockdown measures in an attempt to halt the spread of the virus.
The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) has asked governments to be “cautious” when they begin to loosen restrictions, warning that virus transmission remains “very high” in Brazil, Ecuador, Peru, Chile and Mexico.
Brazil was the first country in the region to report a case of the novel coronavirus on February 26. The patient was a 61 year-old man who had been traveling in Lombardy, one of Italian regions most affected by the pandemic.
The International Monetary Fund said they expect a 5.2 percent GDP contraction across the region due to the coronavirus crisis.
Alejandro Werner, head of the IMF’s Western Hemisphere section, said the region faces the specter of another “lost decade” between 2015-25, comparable to the no-growth era of the 1980s.
The mayor of Manaus, the biggest city in the Amazon rainforest region, asked world leaders Tuesday for help fighting the novel coronavirus, which has brought his city’s health system to the brink of collapse.
Manaus is the capital of the Brazilian state of Amazonas, which has been devastated by the pandemic.
With only one intensive care unit to serve a state more than four times the area of Germany, Manaus has been overwhelmed by the outbreak, leaving hospitals to store cadavers in refrigerator trucks.
Amazonas state has registered 649 deaths from COVID-19 so far.
“For decades, we have played an important role for the health of the planet, keeping 96 percent of our original forest,” Mayor Arthur Virgilio Virgilio said.
“Now, in return, we need medical personnel, ventilators, protective equipment, anything that can save the lives of those who protect the great forest.”
The COVID-19 virus has killed more than 254,000 people around the world and infected more than 3.6 million people.

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