The WHO on Tuesday expressed deep concern over the situation of COVID-19 in South America, and warned that outbreaks in the already-so-affected region were getting worse again.
World Health Organization chief of emergency Michael Ryan said eight of the ten countries that reported the highest coronavirus mortality rates last week were in the Americas.
“The situation in South America right now remains very worrying,” he told reporters.
“South America was really in a difficult situation just a couple of months ago, and that situation is starting to turn in the wrong direction again.”
Ryan’s comments came after Peru on Monday more than doubled the official death toll from coronavirus, making it the country with the highest COVID-19 per capita mortality in the world.
Lima said he had raised the count from 69,342 to 180,764 on the advice of a group of health experts, who found there was a lower number.
But countries across the continent have been hit hard by the pandemic, with Brazil forever one of the hardest hit countries in the world.
Ryan noted that test positivity rates in many South American countries remained “remarkably high,” standing at 37% in Paraguay, 33% in Argentina and 30% in Colombia.
At the same time, he lamented, “mortality rates in South America (in general) are higher than in many parts of the rest of the world.”
This said, in large part, the tension in which the continent’s health systems have been subjected “for a long time”.
Ryan stressed the need to break the cycle, and urged countries everywhere to intensify efforts to curb the virus, and stressed the dire need for more equitable access to vaccines.
He warned that the world’s focus seemed to bounce around the planet from the last explosive outbreak to the next, like children chasing “the field after football”.
“We need to take a step back and realize that we need to break this cycle,” he said.
© 2021 AFP
Citation: COVID situation in South America turning in the wrong direction: WHO (2021, June 2) recovered on June 2, 2021 from https://medicalxpress.com/news/2021-06-south -america-covid-situation-wrong.html
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