WASHINGTON, CMC – The director of the Pan American Well being Group (PAHO), Dr Carissa F. Etienne on Wednesday referred to as on the year-old COVID-19 Genomic Surveillance Regional Community to maintain “a detailed eye” on the emergence and unfold of the coronavirus (COVID-19) all through the area.
“The community has been instrumental in monitoring the virus’s unfold inside border areas and amongst travellers, who are sometimes the primary to introduce variants into a rustic,” Etienne advised reporters throughout her weekly media briefing.
Thus far, 47 nations and territories within the Americas, together with the Caribbean, have detected not less than one “variant of concern” and 11 have detected all 4 of them – alpha, beta, gamma, and delta.
Etienne advised reporters that the Community began as a handful of public well being labs in 2020, finishing up sequencing for nations with out native capability.
The Community has grown to incorporate 24 labs in complete, amongst them 4 extra reference laboratories together with the US-based Facilities for Illness Management (CDC) and the St. Augustine campus of the College of West Indies (UWI) in Trinidad and Tobago.
“Collectively, and utilizing science as a standard language, nations dedicated to bolster their laboratory capability, rent employees, and make surveillance a precedence, constructing on the legacy of our area’s longstanding dengue and influenza surveillance and laboratory networks,” Etienne stated.
PAHO helps the community by standardizing laboratory protocols, conducting trainings, and donating provides.
The COVID-19 Genomic Surveillance Regional Community is an instance of the ability of Pan-Americanism and the significance of working collectively to regulate this virus.
“We should deliver the identical spirit of collaboration and solidarity to different dimensions of our COVID-19 response, particularly vaccines,” Etienne stated, including that lack of vaccine entry is creating an epidemiological divide.
“Increasingly, illness tendencies are exhibiting a area divided by vaccine entry. In nations with sufficient vaccine provide, infections are lowering; in locations the place vaccine protection remains to be low, in these nations, infections stay excessive.”
She stated that COVID-19 circumstances are steadily declining in Costa Rica, the place almost one in three persons are vaccinated. South American nations with larger charges of vaccinations, together with Uruguay, Chile, and Argentina, are reporting sharp decreases in circumstances. Instances are lowering throughout Canada and a lot of the United States.
However she stated, in Latin America and the Caribbean total, solely 15 per cent of the inhabitants has been totally vaccinated, and a few nations, together with Honduras and Haiti, have but to achieve one per cent.
Within the Caribbean, each COVID-19 circumstances and deaths are spiking in Cuba, the place situations are particularly acute within the province of Matanzas, Etienne stated, including that different smaller islands are additionally reporting a rise in infections, amongst them Martinique, which is experiencing a tripling of circumstances.
“These tendencies illustrate how COVID-19 stays entrenched inside our area, significantly in nations with low vaccination protection,” Etienne stated.
She reiterated that public well being measures, similar to bodily distancing, sporting masks, and avoiding crowds – in addition to an infection management by way of testing, contact tracing, quarantining, and isolation – stay very important.
Previously week, the Americas reported greater than 967,000 new circumstances and 22,000 deaths, which displays a slight decline from the week earlier than, PAHo stated.
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