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Americas COVID-19 - Response Update #19, 16 October 2020

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Situational Highlights

According to PAHO/WHO, five of the 12 countries reporting the highest numbers of total coronavirus cases are located in Latin America: Brazil (with 5 million), Colombia (902,000), Argentina (883,000 cases), Peru (846,000), and Mexico (814,000). Argentina has reported a rapid increase in both cases and deaths, even as new cases have fallen in Brazil, Colombia and Peru. Aruba and Guyane Francaise are reporting the region’s highest cumulative rate (of around 3,900 cases per 100,000 people), followed by Panama (with 2,800 cases per 100,000 people), Peru (2,600), Chile (2,500) and Brazil (2,400). Venezuela is reporting a total of 83,137 cases, although the number of new cases is declining, from 1,200 new cases daily in early September to daily counts of around 700 in recent days. In Nicaragua, the official tally includes 5,170 total cases and 151 deaths.

Cross-border movements are on the rise as mobility restrictions are eased throughout Latin America. According to Migracion Colombia, 110,917 people had returned to Venezuela either from or through Colombia as of 4 October. On the other hand, Colombian authorities expect as many as 200,000 Venezuelans to enter Colombia by the end of the year as the Colombian economy begins to reactivate. Although the border between Venezuela and Brazil remains closed, 324 Venezuelans crossed back into Venezuela from the Brazilian border town of Pacaraima between 23 September and 8 October, bringing to 3,949 the total number of returns there since March. Venezuela-bound movements have also been noted in other parts of the region, such as the Ecuadorian border with Colombia, where some 150-200 people are crossing daily.

In Brasil, data released on 3 October by the Caixa Econômica Federal shows that over 149,000 foreign nationals, including 42,519 Venezuelans, have received the government’s COVID-19 emergency basic income. The Peruvian government decreed that the country’s national health system must cover burial and cremation expenses for Venezuelans and other foreigners who have died in Peru during the state of emergency.

In the north of Central America, 67 of the recent group of an estimated 5,000 people who departed from Honduras, traveling north, were found to have international protection needs. At least 35 of them sought asylum in Guatemala. And despite the continued closure of Panama’s borders, around 700 people recently entered the country via irregular routes, such as through the Darien Gap. According to the Dominican Republic’s Directorate General of Migration, around 160,755 Haitians had returned to Haiti as of September.