By Laura Gamba
BOGOTA, Colombia (AA) - Latin America is trying out new measures to reopen after shutting down its economy nearly six months ago due to the coronavirus pandemic, which has left more than 8 million people infected in the region and 310,000 dead.
The Americas remain the region most devastated by the pandemic. The death toll in the US from the coronavirus has surpassed 195,000, Brazil has reported over 4.3 million cases and more than 133,000 deaths, Peru has registered more than 733,000 cases and 30,812 deaths and is followed by Colombia, with nearly 722,000 infected and more than 23,000 deaths, according to data from US-based Johns Hopkins University.
Mexico trails behind with more than 676,000 cases and 71,000 deaths, Argentina has reported over 577,000 cases and 11,852 deaths and Chile has recorded nearly 438,000 infections and over 12,000 deaths as of Tuesday.
Amid the economic turmoil that followed the sanitary crisis caused by COVID-19, political leaders are struggling to move their countries forward.
Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador announced that Mexico will be among the first countries to have access to a vaccine against COVID-19.
"I take the opportunity to tell people that we are making arrangements for Mexico to be one of the first countries to have the COVID-19 vaccine,” Lopez Obrador said Tuesday.
“We cannot divulge more information because it is a matter that deserves discretion and certain secrecy, but we are already making agreements for that purpose and, most importantly, we already have the money to guarantee the availability of the vaccine free of charge for all Mexicans.”
Mexico has launched a global effort to build diplomatic and commercial alliances to ensure it will have access to a vaccine to combat the disease.
It will take part in clinical trials of Russian vaccines, it has struck deals to produce pharmaceutical vaccines, it is working to produce its own vaccines, it is courting China to be considered for vaccination and it is looking to participate in phase 3 trials with others.
Paraguay and Uruguay
Domestic and international commercial flights restarted in Paraguay and Uruguay on Tuesday.
Uruguay and Paraguay have been the most successful nations in Latin America in combatting the outbreak and spread of COVID-19, while neighboring Argentina and Brazil are still struggling with some of the world’s highest infection rates.
Uruguay has recorded 1,827 cases, while Paraguay’s case numbers are at 28,367.
With the close neighbors still experiencing difficulty in combatting the virus, Uruguay and Paraguay are only planning to open a reciprocal travel bubble while they prepare for a safe reopening.
Ecuador and Brazil have been the only South American nations to reopen for general tourism since the shutdowns in March.