Monday, 25 Oct 2021

South America LOCKDOWN: Raging coronavirus forces continent to close its borders

Countries throughout Latin America announced on Monday evening they would be ready themselves to enter a new phase of lockdown and quarantine as the coronavirus outbreak worsens It comes as the officials across the continent braced themselves for a surge in virus cases as the summer holiday period came to an end – with Brazil recording the first confirmed case two weeks ago.

Governments across the region have since taken an array of actions to protect their citizens and contain the inevitable spread of COVID-19.

While Peru has deployed military personnel on the streets, Costa Rica and Colombia are set to close their borders on Tuesday.

Paraguay will impose a curfew in order to reduce the chance of spread through large gatherings and crowds.

The region has yet to be hit as hard as Asia or Europe, but Latin American governments have moved aggressively ahead of any serious infection to ensure no such event occurs, wth it shutting down cities and international transport hubs that has battered its financial markets.

Leaders have often clashed over differing policy: El Salvador’s president, Nayib Bukele, accused Mexico of allowing people carrying the virus to board flights into the country.

Mexico has been criticised elsewhere for its apparent lack of speed in responding to the impending crisis.

Authorities in Mexico, however, deny such allegations.

Amiability between the politically averse nations of Colombia and Venezuela came in the form of the former sharing information about coronavirus with the latter.

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Although, it did not amount to Colombia recognising the legitimacy of Nicolas Maduro’s Venezuelan government.

Ivan Duque, Colombia’s president, also said the country would close off its maritime, land, and over borders from Tuesday in order to stop the chance of the virus spreading.

Mr Maduro’s move was seen as more draconian as he ordered the entirety of Venezuela to be quarantined, as the total number of cases in the country doubled to 33.

The virus has been slow to reach South America.

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ANALYSIS] 

It’s a different story globally, with more than 174,100 people infected, and nearly 6,700 dead worldwide.

A conference between leaders from Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, Paraguay, Peru, Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador and Brazil was called on Monday, there, officials spoke about the situation and what plans would be put in place to combat the virus as unified nations.

Martin Vizcarra, Peru’s president, told reporters at the meeting: “We have agreed that together we are going to join forces.”

At least six passengers on a cruise ship in Chile have been confirmed as having contracted the virus.

They are currently being treated at a hospital in Patagonia.

In Lima – the capital of Peru – military personnel blocked major roads while police prevented the movement of people.

This came as the country rolled out state of enforced “social isolation”, simultaneously suspending constitutional rights such as free movement and assembly.

The government has, however, said it will uphold and guarantee the operation of supermarkets, pharmacies, banks, and other basic services.

Home to 640million people, responses from each individual Latin American country have been varied.

While some nations such as Chile have cut international flights amid fears of welcoming in new cases, countries such as Mexico have allowed the continuity of air travel.

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