More than two million people in the Americas have died from COVID-19 complications, according to WHO/PAHO, and less than 20% of people in Latin America and the Caribbean have been fully immunized.
As public health measures relax in some countries, the number of cases is increasing once again. During the last week of July, the number of cases more than doubled in the United States, mainly among those unvaccinated . In the United States and Mexico, infections are accelerating, driven by the relaxation of restrictions and the presence of the Delta Variant.
The number of new infections increased in most Central American countries, except for Costa Rica where one in three people have been vaccinated and the number of newly infected is dropping steadily.
Belize, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Panama saw an increase during July. Guatemala, in particular, reported a high rate of infections and hospitalizations, mainly among people under 50.
In the Caribbean, Cuba is experiencing higher COVID infection and death rates than at any point during the pandemic, affecting all age groups. The number of cases also increased in Martinique and the British Virgin Islands.
Meanwhile, numbers dropped across South America, where countries like Argentina, Chile and Uruguay report higher rates of vaccination. In Chile, nearly 58% of the population has been fully vaccinated against COVID; in Uruguay, 55% of people are protected. However, border provinces in Argentina, Bolivia and Chile, as well as in Colombia’s Amazon region, were reported as hotspots. Some states in Brazil have also seen an increase in infections.
As vaccination roll-out started across the region, at least 22 countries have included refugees and asylum-seekers in their vaccination plan.
The countries in the region have relaxed their border restrictions over the past months. According to UNHCR’s monitoring on the impact of the pandemic on protection, asylum-seekers are denied access to 10 countries in the region while some 21 countries maintain the asylum system operational in full or partially.
To support asylum systems across the region, UNHCR launched the Regional Platform for Strengthening Asylum Systems in the Americas. The digital tool offers real-time information on tools, best practices, and lessons learned on refugee status determination and the strengthening of asylum systems in the countries of the Americas.