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Latin America & the Caribbean: Weekly Situation Update (2-8 March) As of 9 March 2020

Originally published



  • Argentina recorded their first death of a patient diagnosed with COVID-19 on 7 March, the first death reported in Latin America and the Caribbean.

  • PAHO/WHO is presenting the Go.Data information management platform to health officials in the region to facilitate information collection and visualization on case variables.



On 2 March, PAHO/WHO, the Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network (GOARN), and the Mexican Ministry of Health presented the Go.Data information management platform to health officials in Mexico. In the coming weeks, it will also be presented in Colombia and Brazil.

The platform will be made available to all public health professionals responding to COVID-19 in the region. Specifically, the tool is designed to collect and visualize information on variables such as laboratories, hospitalizations, contact tracing, transmission chains, and epidemiological curves.


As of 9 March, there are 25 confirmed cases of COVID-19, making Brazil the country with the largest number of affected people in Latin America and the Caribbean.


As of 9 March, there are 15 confirmed cases in the country. The Ministry of Health reported that they were able to anticipate new cases after extensive contact-tracing from the first reported case, and that they continue to monitor and trace the situation to detect new cases as early as possible.


As of 9 March, there are 10 confirmed cases in the country. The President and the Ministry of Health met to coordinate response actions as their response plan transitions to the second phase of identification and containment of imported cases.


As of 9 March, there are 12 confirmed cases and one death in the country, the first death reported in Latin America and the Caribbean. The patients are now quarantined and under surveillance.


Peru confirmed their first COVID-19 case on 6 March, reporting that the patient is a traveller recently returned from Spain, France and the Czech Republic. The Ministry of Health says the patient is stable and isolated at their home, under surveillance by health authorities. As of 9 March, Peru has confirmed seven total cases.


Costa Rica reported their first suspected case on 5 March, a Costa Rican who was recently in Italy and returned without presenting any symptoms. The Ministry of Health have isolated the patient at their home and are currently testing to confirm or rule out the case. As of 8 March, Costa Rica has five cases.



Rio de Janeiro authorities say that flooding displaced at least 5,000 people and caused severe damage in various areas. Sao Paulo authorities report that floods and landslides in the Sao Paulo cities of Guaruja, Santos and Sao Vicente displaced more than 400 people, with Guaruja the hardest hit, as 480 people were left without homes.

The Sao Paolo fire brigade is still searching for 43 people as of 5 March. Civil Defence report 25 deaths in Sao Paolo and 5 in Rio de Janeiro. State officials are responding with local resources and capacities, delivering relief supplies, medical assistance and food and water to affected areas.


Departmental authorities in La Paz reported on 1 March that floods and landslides affected at least 6,000 families across La Paz’s 16 municipalities, while also damaging more than 100 homes and causing eight deaths.

The conditions prompted all 16 municipalities to declare emergencies, which have allowed the La Paz departmental government to provide relief supplies, food, tools and fuel for heavy machinery.


With more than 137,000 cases at the end of February 2020, more than 10 times the 2019 caseload of 11,811, the Government of Paraguay declared a health emergency for 90 days to respond. The death toll is now up to 34 so far in 2020, with 90 additional deaths under investigation for links to the vector-borne disease; dengue only claimed nine lives in all of 2019.

The Ministry of Health is implementing a National Emergency Plan together with the National Emergency Secretariat (SEN) for prevention and containment. The Ministry warns that dengue is now spreading beyond the capital of Asunción, where the majority of cases are concentrated. According to the minister, dengue totals in Asunción are showing a gradual decline.


According to UNICEF, nearly 24,000 migrants from more than 50 countries crossed the dangerous Darien jungle on the Panama-Colombia border in 2019. Of this total, some 4,000 were children, up from the 522 reported in 2018.

Recorded migrant nationalities include Bangladesh, Cameroon, India and Somalia. The Darien jungle presents migrants with grave risks, including no access to safe water and exposure to violence and exploitation.

UNICEF and IFRC continue to support the Government of Panama in assisting migrants received at the La Peñita shelter station in the Darien province, providing relief supplies, health and nutrition screenings, safe water and sanitation and psychosocial support.

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
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