Latin America COVID-19 crisis is getting worse as cases cross 4 million
COVID-19 cases in Brazil, Argentina, Mexico and Peru are mounting with each passing day. In Peru's southern city of Arequipa, health services are struggling to cope and some patients have set up tents outside hospitals in desperation. Others were being given oxygen while sitting in their cars.
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the situation in Latin America -- one of the worst-affected regions -- is turning grave with more than four million confirmed cases. Brazil and Argentina registered daily records for confirmed infections on Wednesday, highlighting difficulties the region faces in controlling the health crisis.
Brazil registered 67,860 additional cases of the virus on Wednesday, along with 1,284 related deaths. That brought the total number of cases in Latin America's largest nation to 2,227,514, while deaths rose to 82,771.
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has had another positive result for COVID-19 in the third test he has taken since falling ill on July 7, a secretariat of the Communications Ministry said on Wednesday. He has consistently played down the seriousness of the pandemic, leaving mayors and state governors to implement a patchwork of quarantine orders that have been progressively relaxed.
Neighbouring Argentina posted a daily record of 5,782 confirmed cases, the vast majority of them in and around the capital, Buenos Aires, taking the total number infected in the country to 141,900.
Peru, which has the second-highest number of cases in Latin America behind Brazil, added 3,688 previously uncounted people to its death toll on Wednesday, taking fatalities to nearly 17,500.
In this country, the contagion hotspot has moved from the capital, Lima, to the southern city of Arequipa. Health services there are struggling to cope and some patients set up tents outside hospitals in desperation. Others were being given oxygen while sitting in their cars, the BBC reported. The Andean copper-producing country recorded 4,463 new cases for the day, taking its total to 366,550, double the number at the start of June.
The numbers point to the struggles nations across Latin America have had in containing the pandemic, despite widely varying strategies to combat the outbreak. Argentina and Peru adopted strict lockdowns early on, but never managed to eliminate community transmission of the virus, and, as in Brazil, leaders have faced increasing pressure to open up the economy as hunger and unemployment bite.
As the Argentine government has eased lockdown measures in recent weeks, the country's caseload has increased sharply.
Mexico's Health Ministry reported on Wednesday 6,019 new confirmed coronavirus infections and 790 additional fatalities, bringing the total in the country to 362,274 cases and 41,190 deaths. The Mexican government has said the real number of infected people is likely significantly higher than the confirmed cases.