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PAHO warned that coronavirus transmission "is still accelerating" in Brazil, Peru and Chile

Brazil is the second country most affected by the coronavirus (REUTERS / Bruno Kelly)
Brazil is the second country most affected by the coronavirus (REUTERS / Bruno Kelly)

The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) warned this Tuesday that coronavirus transmission "is still accelerating" in Brazil, Peru and Chile and asked not to relax the measures to contain the pandemic in the region.

"In South America, we are particularly concerned that the number of new cases reported last week in Brazil was the highest in a seven-day period since the outbreak began. Both Peru and Chile are also reporting a high incidence, a sign that transmission is still accelerating in these countries, "said the director of PAHO, Carissa Etienne, stressing that "now is not the time to relax the restrictions."

Latin America has already surpassed Europe and the United States in the daily number of infections, becoming "without a doubt" the new epicenter of the pandemic, he added during PAHO's weekly briefing. Likewise, called on countries not to drop their arms in efforts to curb contagions, which are estimated to be higher than those detected.

"For most countries in the Americas, now is not the time to relax restrictions or reduce preventive strategies," said Etienne.

The director of the Pan American Health Organization, Carissa Étienne (EFE / EPA / ERIK S. LESSER)

The director of the Pan American Health Organization, Carissa Étienne (EFE / EPA / ERIK S. LESSER)

PAHO recommends a combination of measures of physical distancing of the population, diagnostic tests and preparation of health services to deal with COVID-19, declared a pandemic on March 11 after being first reported in late 2019 in China.

Etienne explained that PAHO predicts that Brazil will peak 1,020 coronavirus deaths daily by June 22, citing the model from the University of Washington Institute for Health Metrics and Assessment (IHME).

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The IHME anticipated two weeks ago that Brazil will accumulate 88,305 deaths by August 4, in an estimated range between 30,302 and 193,786.

This week the South American country became the second most affected by the pandemic worldwide. On Monday it registered 375,000 infected and 23,473 deaths.

In recent days, concern also grew about the situation in Venezuela, where there was a significant increase in infections in the midst of a serious humanitarian and health crisis.

There is growing concern about the situation of the coronavirus in Venezuela (REUTERS / Manaure Quintero)
There is growing concern about the situation of the coronavirus in Venezuela (REUTERS / Manaure Quintero)

Human Rights Watch (HRW) and Johns Hopkins University warned about the conditions in which health workers face the pandemic, and denounced that the figures provided by the Nicolás Maduro regime, with 10 reported deaths, are false and "absurd", and a conservative estimate could put them at least 30,000, Human Rights Watch (HRW) and Johns Hopkins Hospital (JHH) said Tuesday.

"We believe that the figures, the statistics provided by the Venezuelan government, the Maduro statistics, are absolutely absurd and not credible," he assured in a videoconference. José Miguel Vivanco, HRW director for the Americas.

"In a country where doctors do not even have water to wash their hands in hospitals", where "the health system is totally collapsed", where there is "overcrowding in neighborhoods and prisons" (...) in those circumstances that there are only a thousand infected and only 10 dead does not seem credible, "he insisted.

According to the Venezuelan regime, until last Sunday the virus left 1,121 infected and 10 dead in the country of 30 million inhabitants.

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Dr. Kathleen Page, a physician and associate professor at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine who interviewed numerous Venezuelan doctors and nurses for the report, said that a conservative estimate would put the death toll from the virus in Venezuela at "at least 30,000."

With information from AFP

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