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Latin America & the Caribbean: Weekly Situation Update (16-22 March 2020) As of 23 March 2020

Situation Report
Originally published



4K confirmed COVID-19 cases in Latin America & the Caribbean as of 22 March

$53.5M PAHO/WHO appeal to respond to COVID-19 across the region

10.3 K cases of dengue reported at epidemiological week 10, a 244% increase from EW10 2019


Cases are referenced from PAHO/WHO 22 March COVID-19 Report -

As of 22 March, PAHO/WHO are reporting a total of 4,064 cases of COVID-19 and 45 deaths in 43 countries and territories in Latin America and the Caribbean.


Amid the growing COVID-19 caseload in Latin America and the Caribbean, PAHO/WHO announced on 16 March that they are launching a donor appeal for US$53.5 million to respond to the outbreak in the region.

Per the appeal, PAHO/WHO’s priority response actions include risk communication, surveillance, case management, infection prevention and control (IPC), coordination and logistics.

The appeal will cover an initial six-month response to 30 September 2020 to scale-up response actions as outbreaks and caseloads increase across the region. PAHO/WHO have established Incident Management Teams at regional and national levels and continue providing Member States with technical guidance and coordinating regional surge capacity efforts.


The International Search and Rescue Advisory Group (INSARAG) is sharing a Guidance on Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) note in the COVID-19 Environment, detailing the potential impact of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic on USAR field operations in the event of an emergency.

The note outlines important considerations to mobilization, medical intelligence, transportation and operations management, among others.

Note available at:


The Ministry of Health reports that Honduras has 10,393 total cases of dengue through Epidemiological Week (EW) 10, which runs from 1 to 7 March. Honduras reported 4,250 total cases through EW10 2019, indicating a 244 per cent increase. Of the total EW10 2020 caseload, 883 are cases of severe dengue, which are fewer than the 1,131 severe dengue cases reported through EW10 2019.

Most cases are concentrated in Tegucigalpa and San Pedro Sula, the two most populous cities in the country.

As Honduras’s dengue situation overlaps with the current COVID-19 pandemic, the Government’s 12 March declaration of a health emergency covers both COVID-19 and dengue prevention and mitigation.



Guatemala announced on 17 March that they are suspending flights transporting deportees and asylum seekers from the United States during Guatemala’s COVID-19 state of calamity. The measure suspends the US sending people from Central America to await US asylum procedures, or apply for asylum, in Guatemala under the terms of a bilateral agreement signed in July 2019.

Guatemala requested that the US put the agreement on hold and suspend deportation flights, as well. Guatemala has taken in some 1,100 migrants and asylum seekers from El Salvador and Honduras to Guatemala through the agreement, according to Giammattei, with many preferring to return to their home countries rather than seek refuge in Guatemala.


Costa Rica announced on 17 March that they are barring all non-resident foreigners from entering for 26 days as of 18 March as part of their COVID-19 response, ostensibly closing their busy northern border to Nicaraguan refugees - Costa Rica’s Migration Directorate recorded 78,000 entries and 49,000 exits at official border points along the northern border in January 2020 alone.

The measure will likely prompt an increase in the use of dangerous irregular border crossings, while also exposing people on the move to heightened protection risks. Costa Rica will deploy various public security forces to the Nicaraguan border to enforce these restrictions.



The National Risk Management Service (SNGRE) report that some 350 families were affected by floods in the Sarayacu parish in the eastern department of Pastaza, floods that destroyed several homes and crops and killed livestock.

Due to COVID-19, Sarayacu leaders are not allowing SNGRE teams to enter due to fears of infection. SNGRE is coordinating remote assistance with community leaders to gather information on needs, gain access and deliver humanitarian relief. Pastaza authorities and the armed forces are standing by to coordinate relief flights transporting response staff and supplies.


Since 13 March, the southern Peruvian department of Arequipa have taken on heavy rains that have triggered flooding and landslides. The northern area of the city of Arequipa is among the worst affected areas, with reports indicating streets filled with water and debris. Local media say that the flooding damaged at least 100 homes.

Local Civil Defence have since convened to coordinate response measures, while departmental authorities deliver food supplies and heavy machinery. The Tacna department, also in the south, issued a red alert following the overflow of a local river.

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