WHO declares health emergency in Latin America

The director of general of the World Health Organization (WHO), Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, declared an “emergency” for all of Latin America, after a new variant of Covid-19 was found in Brazil, whose presence throughout the territory raised alarms Telesur reported.

According to the head of the UN agency for health issues, “the situation is very serious and we are very concerned. The sanitary measures that Brazil takes should be aggressive, at the same time that it advances in vaccination ”.

In addition, he pointed out that “the concern does not only revolve around Brazil, but also around Brazil's neighbors. It is almost Latin America as a whole ”.

"If Brazil does not take it seriously, it will affect all its neighbors and beyond," said the authority of the world body.

For these reasons, from the Ministry of Health (Minsal) of Chile, they indicated to reinforce restrictions for travelers who arrive to the territory from that country.

The Chilean Health Secretary, Paula Daza, said that travelers arriving from Brazil would have to undergo the PCR test and, while waiting for the results, they should be isolated by entering a health residence.

For cases that test positive, people will continue to be isolated for the duration of the illness or more days, depending on other virus sequencing tests taking longer.

In Brazil, infections have been growing steadily since last November and this is a worrying element for researchers, as well as the appearance and influx of new variants of SARS-CoV-2 whose mutations could be associated with a greater power of infection.

Of the 27 states of the South American giant, at least seven have detected most of the cases with the so-called "variants of concern." According to the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation (Fiocruz) the states with this situation are Amazonas, Ceará, Pernambuco, Rio de Janeiro, Rio Grande do Sul, Santa Catarina and Paraná.

Hospital facilities in all these states are on the edge, especially in Rio Grande, Catarina and Paraná, which form the southern region of the country, and the situation is just beginning.

Fiocruz identified that in more than half of the infections in this region they share the mutation of the variants detected in the United Kingdom, South Africa and Brazil. The latter is known as P.1 and is already present in almost the entire nation, despite the fact that it originated in the Amazon.

“The movie repeats itself. Amazonas was the first, but the others are following behind. It would not surprise me one bit if P.1 was the main responsible for what is happening in the south, ”Felipe Naveca, the virologist from the Leônidas & María Deane Institute (Fiocruz Amazonia), told international media.

Meanwhile, several signs indicate that the Brazilian variant is capable of evading the antibodies generated by a person who has overcome the Covid-19 disease previously.

Latin America registered 700.000 deaths this Monday since the start of the health crisis. Amid the increase in cases and waves of infection, efforts to stock up on vaccines do not wane, as is the case of the European Union, which could block more exports to immunize its population.

According to the count of this Tuesday at 01:00 GMT, the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean have 700.022 deaths and 22.140.444 infected, behind Europe, which is the continent with the highest number of deaths with a balance of 876.511 people.

Two thirds of deaths from Covid-19 in Latin America are concentrated in Mexico and Brazil. The latter became a global concern, counting 266.398 deaths in more than 11 million infections, being the second country in number of fatalities.

 

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