Latin America, Caribbean risk losing COVID gains - PAHO rep

Latin America, Caribbean risk losing COVID gains - PAHO rep

Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Print this page Email A Friend!

KINGSTON, Jamaica — Head of the Pan American Health Organisation's (PAHO's) health emergencies programme Dr Ciro Ugarte has warned that while measures like lockdowns and movement restrictions across Latin America and the Caribbean have so far generally been effective in flattening the COVID epidemic curve and delaying its peak, the region risks losing the gains.

He argued that while restrictive measures are difficult, they require leadership and collaboration along with good epidemic intelligence. As such, he called for governments to seek input from the health sector when considering reopening ports to tourism and commerce as the actions can influence the course of the pandemic.

“People are getting a false sense of security and we are in danger of losing the advantages we have gained,” Ugarte warned.

He was speaking yesterday at PAHO's 58th Directing Council.

PAHO data shows that there are now more than 16.4 million cases reported in the Americas, with more than 550,000 deaths.

Ugarte said transmission of COVID-19 in the region of the Americas continues to be very active but there have been improvements in response, including a 99 per cent increase in intensive care beds in eight key countries, the deployment of 15 Emergency Medical Teams and the creation of 184 alternative medical sites in recent weeks.

Key challenges he said, include improving surveillance, rapid response, and expanding capacity for case investigations, along with limited numbers of tests available for national laboratories and limited supplies of personal protective equipment. Dr Ugarte also underscored the need to have enough staff to maintain essential health services while ensuring safe and decent working conditions, with good infection prevention and control.

The Directing Council of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) brings together ministers of health and high-level delegates from PAHO/WHO member countries to discuss and analyze regional health policies, and to set priorities for technical cooperation and cross-country collaboration.

Now you can read the Jamaica Observer ePaper anytime, anywhere. The Jamaica Observer ePaper is available to you at home or at work, and is the same edition as the printed copy available at




1. We welcome reader comments on the top stories of the day. Some comments may be republished on the website or in the newspaper � email addresses will not be published.

2. Please understand that comments are moderated and it is not always possible to publish all that have been submitted. We will, however, try to publish comments that are representative of all received.

3. We ask that comments are civil and free of libellous or hateful material. Also please stick to the topic under discussion.

4. Please do not write in block capitals since this makes your comment hard to read.

5. Please don't use the comments to advertise. However, our advertising department can be more than accommodating if emailed:

6. If readers wish to report offensive comments, suggest a correction or share a story then please email:

7. Lastly, read our Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy

comments powered by Disqus



Today's Cartoon

Click image to view full size editorial cartoon