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Montevideo, March 26th 2023 - 11:19 UTC



Latin America new covid-19 epicenter; labs vow to help but hold on to vaccine patents

Saturday, May 22nd 2021 - 08:51 UTC
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Brazil is the most affected country in the region with 15,894,094 cases and 444,094 deaths. Brazil is the most affected country in the region with 15,894,094 cases and 444,094 deaths.

The total number of deaths due to covid-19 in Latin American countries has crossed for the first time the psychological barrier of one million people, it was reported Friday.

These numbers are in sharp contrast with the clear improvements being achieved both in North America and Europe, which has drawn experts to consider Latin America as the new epicentre of the pandemic.

Of the 31.5 million people infected since the end of February 2020 3.5 million are still fighting the virus today

Brazil is the most affected country in the region with 15,894,094 cases and 444,094 deaths. Argentina (3,447,044 infections and 72,699 deaths) and Mexico (2,232,510 and 51,076) make up the region's top three and together with Colombia and Peru they account for 90% of all the deaths in the region.

Meanwhile, the world's leading 20 economies and the world's top developers of anticovid vaccines Friday agreed in Rome to increase their efforts to bring the current pandemic to an end as soon as possible by supplying immunizers to the poorest regions of the world planet at a faster pace.

With some 1.53 billion doses administered worldwide, only about 1% of them were in Africa, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported.

“We should hang our heads in shame,” said South African President Cyril Ramaphosa at a special G-20 summit on the pandemic, organized by Italy and the European Commission. “We are in a global war against a pandemic. When you are in a war and everyone is an ally, you have to use all your weapons without hiding behind profit at the cost of your lives,” he added.

But despite all the rhetoric and the pressure from US President Joseph Biden, there was no consensus to renounce valuable patents on vaccines and Pfizer and BioNTech have pledged to make 1 billion doses available to poorer countries at a reduced price this year and another billion in 2022.

Johnson & Johnson pledged 200 million doses to COVAX, a vaccine delivery program co-led by WHO, while the EU pledged 1 billion euros (US $ 1.2 billion) to build vaccine manufacturing centres in Africa.

“As we prepare for the next pandemic, our priority must be to ensure that together we overcome the current one. We must vaccinate the world, and do it fast,” Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi said in his opening speech.

Meanwhile, Chinese President Xi Jinping Friday pledged $ 3 billion over the next three years to help developing countries recover from the pandemic and proposed the creation of an international forum on vaccine cooperation.

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