LATIN AMERICA & THE CARIBBEAN: COVID-19
Cases are referenced from PAHO/WHO 20 December COVID-19 Report – https://bit.ly/2O25YQw
14.7M CUMULATIVE COVID-19 CASES IN LATIN AMERICA & THE CARIBBEAN AS OF 20 DECEMBER
7.7% REGIONAL ECONOMIC CONTRACTION IN 2020 DUE TO COVID-19 CRISIS
The UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) forecasts that the region will end 2020 with a 7.7 per cent economic contraction, its largest in 120 years, before experiencing a 3.7 per cent growth in 2021. Compared to the expected global contraction stemming from the COVID-19 crisis, Latin America and the Caribbean will be the hardest-hit region in the developing world.
The region’s socioeconomic consequences have been exacerbated by longstanding structural issues that will likely not allow a full recovery to pre-crisis GDP levels until 2024.
RENEWED TRAVEL RESTRICTIONS
Following the announcement of a new COVID-19 strain spreading in the United Kingdom, several countries in the region are suspending travel from the UK. Argentina, Colombia, Chile, El Salvador and Peru announced flight suspensions on 20 December. Ecuador is convening high-level emergency meetings to discuss the new strain and potential measures.
CENTRAL AMERICA: 2020 HURRICANE SEASON
4.5M PEOPLE AFFECTED BY ETA & IOTA IN HONDURAS
204.5K FAMILIES AFFECTED BY ETA & IOTA’S DAMAGE TO CROPS IN GUATEMALA
The COPECO civil protection agency reports Eta and Iota left 4.5 million people affected and caused 99 deaths, adding that they are still determining the full extent of the impact in certain municipalities that, more than a month on, remain cut off.
With the storms affecting nearly half of Honduras’ population amid the COVID-19 pandemic, analysts consider that Honduras may not fully regain pre-pandemic conditions for another 10 years. Local economists estimate losses of more than US$10 billion, more than the $5 billion incurred by Hurricane Mitch in 1998, a disaster considered to by the worst in Honduras’ history.
The CONRED civil protection agency estimates there are 234 communities still cut off after Eta and Iota, as floodwaters have yet to fully recede. The San Carlos University believes that these floodwaters may last another six months in some places.
The Ministry of Agriculture reports that Eta and Iota’s damage to agriculture exceeds US$102.6 million, with damage to 136,700 hectares of crops in at least 12 departments, affecting about 204,500 families.