Latin America has overtaken the United States and Europe in the past week to report the largest portion of new daily cases globally. Brazil alone has the third-largest number of COVID-19 cases in the world, behind the United States and Russia. And of the 106,000 new cases of the infection reported in one day (22/05)
- the highest daily number since the outbreak began - a large proportion were concentrated in Latin America.
In the Americas, movements within and between countries continue, heightening risks of detention, refoulment, and contagion for those on the move. Irregular border crossings and human smuggling are on the rise. Concerns over COVID-19 cases aecting refugees, asylum seekers, internally displaced populations and the stateless, along with others in mixed movements, are heightened. The alert is particularly focused on indigenous populations in Brazil and Colombia, and also among those sheltered in collective sites.
A few countries lifted some restrictions (Aruba, Belize, Curaçao and Paraguay), while in others quarantine measures were extended or tightened as the number of COVID-19 cases increased. Argentina's second-largest city, Córdoba, resumed its lockdown.
Colombia extended quarantine and border closures until 31 August. Guatemala imposed a curfew and total lockdown during weekends. El Salvador and Honduras extended their respective quarantine measures and curfews. The U.S. reported its land borders would be restricted to essential travel until 21 June.
In this context, pre-existing social unrest is raising demands for an easing of restrictive measures or for economic support to those affected by the crisis. In Central America, some 1,000 trucks were blocked at the Nicaragua/Costa Rica border after 50 truckers tested positive for COVID-19. Roadblocks were reported in Bolivia, clashes between the police and protesters in Santiago, Chile or Guayaquil, Ecuador.
The International Donors Conference in Solidarity with Venezuelan Refugees and Migrants in Latin America and the Caribbean convened by the European Union (EU) and Spain, with the support of Canada, Norway, UNHCR and IOM, was held on 26 May, with commitments made by donors amounting to US$2.79 billion, including US$653 million in grants. Donors at the conference confirmed funding to support refugees, migrants and host communities in countries across the region where Venezuelans have found safety, healthcare and jobs.
The Canadian Government announced its commitment to host and organise the next meeting as a follow-up to this conference. More information on the Conference can be found here.