866.1K NEW COVID-19 CASES IN LATIN AMERICA & THE CARIBBEAN FROM 22-28 MARCH 2021
43.4M COVID-19 VACCINE DOSES ADMINISTERED IN LATIN AMERICA & THE CARIBBEAN
PAHO/WHO reports that the rapidly escalating COVID-19 situation in Brazil, whose 12.5 million cases and 312,299 deaths are second highest in the world behind only the United States, is now affecting border departments and states in neighbouring countries such as Venezuela, Bolivia and Peru. With single-day records for COVID-19 deaths throughout March, including 3,600 deaths reported on 26 March, and routine daily case counts of 80,000 or more, the dizzying surge is placing Brazil at the global epicentre of the pandemic and threatening the rest of the region.
Researchers from the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation (Fiocruz) report identifying potentially more transmissible variants beyond the P.1 strain that Fiocruz says is the dominant strain in six of eight studied states and is contributing to the fast-growing crisis. Health officials have identified the presence of P.1 in Argentina, Colombia, Mexico, Peru, Venezuela and French Guiana, with local transmission detected in Mexico and Colombia.
Peru's National Institute of Health (INS) indicates that the identified presence of a Brazilian strain is a contributing factor in Peru experiencing a growing second wave of COVID-19 infections during much of 2021, a wave that saw the country set a new single-day case record with 11,260 cases on 24 March. INS says they have identified a Brazilian variant in about 40 per cent of confirmed cases in the Lima metropolitan area in the last week, mostly in eastern Lima where authorities have identified it in about 2 out of every 3 cases. This second wave has contributed about a third of Peru’s 1.5 million cumulative cases as of 25 March in a three-month span since late December 2020, driving up hospitalizations and intensive care unit (ICU) occupancies.
In Bolivia, cases are rising in the border department of Pando, where authorities and PAHO/WHO believe one of the highly contagious strains from neighbouring Brazil is already circulating. While current daily case counts have been relatively low, the growth rate in short lapse of time span has put health authorities on alert
- UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
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