LATIN AMERICA & THE CARIBBEAN: COVID-19
Source: PAHO/WHO - https://bit.ly/2O25YQw
824K NEW COVID-19 CASES IN LATIN AMERICA & THE CARIBBEAN FROM 18-24 JANUARY 2021
120% INCREASE IN COVID-19 HOSPITALIZATIONS OVER 30- DAY SPAN IN PERU
83% INCREASE IN ACTIVE CASES IN GUYANA IN FIRST 20 DAYS OF JANUARY 2021
Health authorities confirm that Honduras is seeing a second wave of COVID-19 infections, noting a rise in COVID-19 hospitalizations and triage centre consultations. Health Ministry officials say that COVID-19 consultations in the department of Cortés, home to the industrial hub of San Pedro Sula that is currently dealing with the aftermath of Tropical Storm Eta and Hurricane Iota, have risen by 200 per cent after the holiday season.
Daily new cases have surpassed 1,000 on several occasions in January, while the 8 January daily death count of 52 was the country’s highest since the 56 deaths reported in early August.
Although nationwide hospital occupancy rate is at about 55 per cent, nearly every hospital’s intensive care units (ICUs) are 100 per cent occupied.
Per the Ministry of Health, the COVID-19 hospitalizations rose by more than double in a 30-day span from 17 December 2020 to 16 January 2021. The rise from 3,900 hospitalizations to more than 8,600 is yielding a daily average of 216 hospitalizations, higher than the April and May 2020 figures of 160 and 126, respectively. Peru saw its peak of hospitalizations in mid-August 2020, with more than 14,100 people in hospitals.
With 1,646 people occupying 1,803 available ICUs, an ICU occupancy rate of 91 per cent, ICU admissions have grown by 52 per cent in the same 30-day span and have surpassed the August 2020 peak of 1,550 ICUs in use. The increases, which do not yet account for the confirmed presence of the SARS-CoV-2 strain from the United Kingdom that features a higher transmission rate, is prompting Peru’s Medical College to warn that February 2021 will likely see new peaks.
Guyana has received a 60-bed field hospital fully equipped to treat critically ill COVID-19 patients from Qatar. Per health authorities, the field hospital will be set up in the compound of the West Demerara Regional Hospital in Region 3 (Essequibo Islands-West Demerara).
While active COVID-19 cases remain low, Guyana has witnessed a recent spike in active cases, jumping from 316 on 1 January to 579 on January 20, an increase of 83 per cent, as total cases have now surpassed 7,000.
CENTRAL AMERICA & MEXICO: MIGRANTS & REFUGEES
3.9K MIGRANTS IN GUATEMALA RETURNED TO HONDURAS
The migrant caravan of some 9,000 people that departed northwestern Honduras has all but dispersed after pushing their way into Guatemala on 15 January. The Guatemalan Migration Institute reports that more than 3,900 migrants have been returned to Honduras. Protection working groups in Guatemala and Honduras activated monitoring mechanisms ahead of any potential need for humanitarian action along the migration route.
The quick dispersal, attributed in part to highway roadblocks set up by Guatemalan security forces, stands in stark contrast to past caravans that have had more access and free transit. Analysts say that in addition to the back-to-back impacts of Tropical Storm Eta and Hurricane Iota in November 2020 and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, recent announcements of United States immigration policy changes are likely to contribute to continued or even increased migration from Central America despite increased security presences in Guatemala and Mexico.
REGIONAL: NATURAL HAZARDS
13K FAMILIES IN 4 DEPARTMENTS IN BOLIVIA AFFECTED BY RAINY SEASON
ST. VINCENT & THE GRENADINES: VOLCANIC ACTIVITY
The La Soufrière volcano continues to exhibit effusive eruptions, with magma reaching the surface at extreme temperatures. The dome continues to increase in height, spreading laterally and emitting volcanic gases.
Authorities reported an extensive area of burnt vegetation in the western section of the crater floor extending outwards from the dome. The Government continues to maintain an Orange-level alert. The National Emergency Management Organisation is emphasizing that no evacuation orders have been issued. Scientists onsite continue to monitor developments.
Heavy rains continue to fall over parts of Bolivia, with 80 per cent of the Guanay community in the La Paz department now underwater.
The Vice-Ministry of Civil Defence (VIDECI) dispatched six tons of relief supplies, including food and clothing, to assist affected families. Authorities, who have evacuated families to temporary shelters, are working to clear debris to allow ground access. The flooding and its impact are the latest emergency in Bolivia’s rainy season which, according to VIDECI, has thus far affected some 13,000 families across four departments in 2021.
SOUTH AMERICA: EARTHQUAKE
A 6.4-magnitude earthquake struck northwestern Argentina near the border with central Chile on 19 January. The quake, with a shallow depth of 14 km, collapsed a house, damaged roads and some buildings and led to power and water outages in nearby areas, while also causing three injuries. Provincial authorities in San Juan report that at least four families were evacuated from their homes. A 5.0-magnitude aftershock soon followed, as well as five more aftershocks within the hour that ranged from 4.8 to 5.3 in magnitude, per the United States Geological Survey.
Chilean authorities indicate no reports of damage.