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Indian publication rates how Latin American and the Caribbean are handling COVID-19 pandemic

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Posted: Tuesday, March 24, 2020. 8:53 am CST.

By BBN Staff: Newsclick.in an independent media source in India, published an article this week analyzing the actions of governments within the Latin American and Caribbean region in response to the COVID-19 global pandemic, which showed a wide range of responses from proactive to lax.

Newsclick analyzed each country’s response, noting that Venezuela and Argentina were the quickest to respond in South America, quickly rolling out strict measures to combat the spread of the virus. Meanwhile, Newsclick cited Brazil as having the worst response from South America with its President Jair Bolsonaro consistently going on record making light of the pandemic and calling it “media propaganda” and a “fantasy.” As such his country continued to participate in mass gatherings and other risky behaviours up to mid-March when action was finally taken following 15,000 reported infections and 25 deaths. Colombia and Ecuador were also cited as having delayed responses.

In Central America, Newsclick cited El Salvador as having the best response, with travel bans imposed on foreigners before the country had a confirmed case, and a countrywide lockdown declared following the announcement of the first case. The country also rolled out several initiatives to mitigate the economic impact resulting from the shutdown. Honduras has taken strict measures as well, however, Newsclick notes that there are major concerns about the approach the country has taken, including concerns that the measures might be a means of facilitating corruption in government which the media source reports has happened before. Newsclick notes that Mexico has been highly criticized for its lax approach to the pandemic, stressing that up to March 23, the Mexican government has not announced any quarantine and that travel restrictions remain minimal.

Newsclick said that the Caribbean has been active in its prevention and containment efforts, with the majority of countries imposing travel restriction. The article noted that, as for March 23, the islands with the highest number of confirmed cases are the Dominican Republic with 202 confirmed cases, Guadeloupe with 45 (March 19), and Martinique with 32 (March 19).

“While the numbers look comparatively less to other regions, it is important to keep in mind that the population of these islands is very small. Cuba has the largest population with 11.2 million people and with the exception of Cuba, Haiti, Jamaica, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico and Trinidad and Tobago, all of the islands have less than one million people. As such, these numbers and the current rate of infection is cause for concern,” Newsclick said.

Notably, the article was published before Belize had announced its first confirmed case of COVID-19.

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