Latin America’s uncoordinated response in tackling COVID-19

In mid-March 2020 all Latin American countries had registered cases of COVID-19, and many of them faced their first surges.

Summary:

  • The response of Latin American countries to the COVID-19 pandemic has been nationalistic, uncoordinated and varied in terms of effectiveness.
  • Bodies like the Pan-American Health Organization have not been able to develop common approaches and initiatives to deal with the pandemic.
  • The two largest economies, Brazil and Mexico, had some of the least effective policy responses to the virus and failed to either initiate or support the development of a common approach.
  • Evidence suggests that strategies adopted for the Zika virus in 2016 and lessons learned from this health crisis have not been reinstated for COVID-19, which has exposed and aggravated pre-existing fault lines in Latin American societies.
  • Excessive politicisation (as in the case of Brazil, Mexico and Nicaragua) and insufficient funds and resources for both healthcare and social support also hampered national responses.
  • Economic consequences have been widely felt across the region, and poverty, unemployment and inequality have increased sharply.
11 Dec 2020
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Research by
Series
SAIIA Policy Insights No 97, November 2020
Region
Americas
SAIIA Programme
African Governance and Diplomacy
Tags
COVID-19, coronavirus
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