Coronavirus: UN Donates Tons of Supplies to Help Latin America

  • "COVID-19 is a health emergency that requires a global response, with Panama being the center of operations for Latin America and the Caribbean."
  • Brazil has the highest number of cases and deaths by COVID-19 in Latin America, becoming the epicenter of the disease in the region.
  • The new coronavirus has caused nearly 88,000 deaths worldwide and infected nearly 1.5 million.

The United Nations distributed eight tons of supplies from its operations center in Panama to combat the COVID-19 pandemic in Latin America and the Caribbean. The World Food Program (WFP) reported that supplies, which include COVID-19 kits, have been shipped to 24 countries in the region.

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), also known as 2019-nCoV acute respiratory disease (2019-nCoV ARD), and novel coronavirus pneumonia (NCP) is a viral respiratory disease caused by the 2019 novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2). It was first detected during the 2019–20 Wuhan coronavirus outbreak.

“COVID-19 is a health emergency that requires a global response, with Panama being the center of operations for Latin America and the Caribbean,” said Miguel Barreto, regional director of WFP, the UN agency in charge of managing this humanitarian deposit.

The kits to fight the disease include materials for health professionals, such as masks, gloves, aprons, glasses, and disinfectants. Multifunctional tents were also sent to different countries, according to the agency’s statement. In Latin America, 1,353 people have died of the new coronavirus, which caused 35,842 infections in the region, according to the most recent data.

“Given the suspension of commercial flights around the world, humanitarian stocks play a much more important role in this pandemic,” said Francisco Quesada, warehouse manager. “We are always looking for the shipment to reach its destination within 48 hours of ordering,” he added.

In 2018, Panama opened the first logistics center in Latin America for the rapid distribution of humanitarian aid in the event of disasters. The Regional Logistics Center for Humanitarian Assistance, located at the former US military base in Howard, west of the capital, occupies 6.12 hectares. From this center, in 2019, at least 301 tons of supplies were destined to the region, including tents, prefabricated offices, vehicles, water purifiers, and medicines.

Brazil Epicenter of Epidemic in Latin America

Coronaviruses are species of virus belonging to the subfamily Coronavirinae in the family Coronaviridae, in the order Nidovirales. There are seven known strains of human coronaviruses, including COVID-19.

Brazil has the highest number of cases and deaths by COVID-19 in Latin America, becoming the epicenter of the disease in the region. On Tuesday, the Ministry of Health reported 114 new deaths, totaling 667 deaths since its first recorded death on February 26. It was the first time that the daily balance of victims had crossed 100 deaths.

Sao Paulo continues to be the state most affected by the pandemic in Brazil, with 371 deaths, more than half of the deaths in the whole country. The state is followed by Rio de Janeiro, with 89. The country’s fatality rate rose from 4.4% to 4.9%. By way of comparison, about 10% of infected patients died at the height of the crisis in Italy, the epicenter of the disease in Europe.

The number of COVID-19 cases in the country reached 14,511 Wednesday, an increase of 13.7% in relation to the previous day.

The new coronavirus has caused nearly 88,000 deaths worldwide since its first registration in December 2019. Since the beginning of the epidemic, nearly 1.5 million infections have been registered in 192 countries or territories. The number of cases diagnosed, however, reflects only a part of the total number of infections, due to different policies for diagnosing cases. Some countries do this only for patients who need hospitalization.

Authorities consider that at least 319,000 people have recovered worldwide, so far. The United States recorded the highest number of new deaths on Wednesday, with 1,528, followed by the United Kingdom (928), Spain (628), Italy (542), and France (541).

More than four billion people in almost 100 countries or territories are forced or encouraged by their authorities to remain confined to their homes to combat the spread of COVID-19. This represents more than half (about 52%) of the world population, estimated by the UN at 7.79 billion people in 2020.

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Joyce Davis

My history goes back to 2002 and I  worked as a reporter, interviewer, news editor, copy editor, managing editor, newsletter founder, almanac profiler, and news radio broadcaster.

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