BRASILIA (Reuters) – The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) said that cases of COVID-19 may be declining in North America, but in most countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, the coronavirus epidemic is still “a long way off”. Wednesday.
While infections are declining in the United States, Canada and Mexico, cases are increasing in Latin America and the Caribbean and vaccination is hardly ever delayed. Only one in ten people has been fully vaccinated, which Carissa Etienne, director of the Pan American Health Organization, called an “unacceptable situation”.
“While we are seeing some relief from the virus in the countries of the northern hemisphere, the end remains a distant future for most countries in our region,” she said.
The regional health agency is discouraging summer holiday travel in America now that movement restrictions are lifted, more people are vaccinated in the northern hemisphere and travel destinations, such as the Caribbean, reopen to tourists.
Etienne said at a weekly briefing that even vaccinated people can get sick and spread COVID.
“Given the significant gaps in vaccine coverage and the immediate risk of infection, this may not be the ideal time to travel, especially when there is an active outbreak or where hospital capacity is limited,” she said.
Noting that hurricane season is approaching in the Caribbean at a time when the outbreak is worsening, Etienne urged countries to equip hospitals and expand shelters to reduce the possibility of transmission. She said that social distancing and proper ventilation becomes difficult during storms.
The highly contagious delta strain has already been detected in dozens of countries in the Americas, but community transmission has so far been limited, said Jiro Mendes, a viral disease advisor at the Pan American Health Organization.
However, it has been found in Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Peru, the United States and Mexico, where it has spread to Mexico City, according to the Pan American Health Organization.
Ciro Ugarte, director of health emergencies at the Pan American Health Organization, said that given the existence of such variables, countries in the region should step up their vigilance and consider the need to restrict travel or even close borders.
At least 3,7441,000 infections and 1,272,000 confirmed deaths from COVID-19 have been reported so far in Latin America and the Caribbean, according to a Reuters tally, a third more than Asia and Africa combined.
(Reporting by Anthony Boudl Editing by Sonia is install
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